How to speed up Spotify on your Mac

Spotify is a hugely popular music streaming service, and while many people use it on a smartphone while they’re on the move, lots of us use it on our Macs to play music or podcasts at home or while we work. You may have noticed that after you have been using it for a while, Spotify can start to run slowly. Why does it do that, and what can you do about it? We’ll answer those questions in this article, as well as give you a tip on how you can keep your Mac running all the time smoothly.

Why is Spotify running so slow?

When you listen to Spotify, the music or podcasts you stream are cached on your boot drive. That way, if you listen to the same track again, it doesn’t have to stream it over the internet; it can only play it from the cache. The cache is supposed to be deleted each time you quit Spotify. But like all cache files, sometimes that doesn’t happen. And if you keep Spotify open all the time and don’t restart your Mac often, it won’t be deleted. That means it will keep growing and growing and eventually start to slow Spotify down.

How to speed up Spotify on your Mac

If the Spotify app is slow on your Mac, you could try reducing the size of the cache file so that it no longer slows it down.

Tip:

Spotify isn’t the only app that stores cache files on your Mac, many apps do it, especially web browsers. Most of the time, it’s not a problem. But if the cache isn’t deleted when the app is closed, it can build up and take up lots of space on your Mac and even cause it to run slowly. CleanMyMac X’s System Junk module identifies cache and other junk files taking up space on your Mac and helping you get rid of them. 

There are two ways you can speed up Spotify on your Mac: limit the amount of data Spotify streams so that the cache doesn’t grow as quickly, or manually reduce the size of the cache.

1. Limit the data Spotify streams

Spotify settings window
  1. Go to your Applications folder and launch Spotify on your Mac.
  2. Select the Spotify menu in the menu bar and choose Preferences.
  3. Look for the Music Quality section.
  4. Click the dropdown menu and select Low or Normal.

This will reduce the bit rate of the music that Spotify streams and reduce the size of the cache needed to store it on your Mac.

2. Clear Spotify’s cache

How to clear Spotify cache
  • Press Command-Q to quit Spotify, or choose Quit from the Spotify menu.
  • In the Finder, select Go from the menu bar and choose Go to Folder.
  • When the text input box appears, type or paste this: ~/Library/Application Support/Spotify/prefs
  • Right-click or Control-click on that prefs file and choose Open With, then Text Edit (or another text editor like BB Edit if you have one installed).
  • Scroll to the bottom of the text file and paste this in a new line: storage.size=1024 (1024 is the maximum size of the cache in MB. You can replace that number with whatever you choose and set your own maximum limit)
  • Save and close the file.
  • Drag the PersistentCache folder inside the Spotify folder to the Trash.
  • Launch Spotify.

Spotify’s cache will now have shrunk to the size you specified in the text file. The rest has been deleted. The cache shouldn’t ever grow larger than the size you selected in the text file.

3. Reset the Spotify app

If the previous methods didn’t help, you could try deleting and reinstalling the app. Although, if you want to save time, resetting Spotify might be the option. With CleanMyMac X, you can reset any app to its default state and fix possible issues. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Launch CleanMyMac X (download the app here).
  2. Go to Uninstaller.
  3. Choose Spotify from the list of apps.
  4. Click the options next to the app's name and choose Reset.
  5. Press the Reset button.

Spotify caches the music you stream on your Mac so that you can listen to the same track again and again without having to keep streaming the data over the internet. The cache should be deleted at the end of each session, but sometimes this doesn’t happen, and it causes Spotify to run slowly. If that has happened to you, follow the steps above to get Spotify running smoothly.