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Local files won't sync to iPhone

Local files won't sync to iPhone

Plan: Premium

Country: Australia

Device: iPhone 7+

Operating System: iOS 12.1.4 


I have several local files in a Spotify playlist that I would like to be able to play on my iPhone, but they're not syncing. I've gone through all of the instructions/solutions I can find on the support page and nothing seems to work; with my phone and computer on the same Wifi network (and with the desktop app open), I've tried putting the local files in their own playlist and downloading it on my phone and computer apps, but while I can see the playlist, the songs are invisible so obviously I can't download/play them.


The mp3 files are already on my phone in iTunes, I've ticked "show unavailable songs in playlists" in my settings, Spotify is listed as an exception to my Firewall, UPnP is enabled on my router network, and I haven't exceeded the 3333 download limit. I've restarted both my computer and my phone. Nothing seems to work - the songs don't even show up greyed out on my phone. Any ideas? 

21 Replies

Okay, update: I was wrong, I hadn't enabled unavailable songs on my phone, that's my bad. I've done that now and I can see the local files greyed out, but they're still not downloading. When I download the big playlist, every song downloads instantly except for the local files, which stay greyed out. When I try to download them in their own playlist, I get the "Waiting to download" message for ages but nothing changes and I still can't play them. (They play fine on my computer.) So I could still use some help if anyone has any idea what I'm doing wrong! Thanks! 

Hello @RileyEB


There's probably some kind of issue with your router settings so your devices doesn't "see" each other.

I can only suggest creating a hotspot connection with your phone and connecting your computer to it and then try to sync.

I've got the same problem. Some songs that are local will sync, but a lot of them just won't. My iPhone and Mac see each other, because when I play a song on one device I can continue listening on the other. I've basically tried everything and it still won't work for some songs. Some local files have a grey download arrow and when I download the playlist the song is in, the grey arrow turns green and I can play the song on my phone. But some local files don't even have the grey arrow next to them and no matter what, won't download to my phone. The most irritating thing is: they were there. But every so often I have to tell the iOS spotify app to redownload my local files because for some reason it's reset itself. It worked all the time, but not this time. 

Well, I solved it. It concerned this album: Ours - Distorted Lullabies. I own the album and have it in iTunes. Spotify recognizes the album, but apparently it can't be played in the Netherlands? I have no idea. Anyway...Spotify somehow doesn't know how to handle this, and even though I own the album and have it in iTunes, as soon as I try to add the local files to my iPhone, it can't? Won't? Get's confused by itself? 

What I did, was add and underscore to every song title. This way, Spotify can't link the same songs to the official album et voila, now I can sync the local files. 


edit: this used to just work btw, I have no idea why it no longer does

So this issue is still happening to other local files. This used to work. Why won't local files that I can perfectly play on my Mac, not sync to my iPhone while other songs do? Do I really need to go through the hassle of renaming songs in order for them to show up?

So why in 2019 does this still happen and why isnt there a sync up button to make sure it happens.


I have local files on my pc and spotify that work but when i do everything the instructions from 2015 until now say to do it still doesnt sync.

no blocking firewalls here or anything

phone is good and enabled for local files download and still nothing...waited 10 mins waited 1 hour doesnt matter never syncs.

Why am I paying for a service that includes this feature but doesnt work after this many years.  


Getting really close to switching at this point

Switched from Deezer. There I could just upload songs on their server and everything worked perfectly. Here I have songs on the laptop but they won't sync on my PC and iPhone. 


I wouldn't need**bleep** if Spotify actually has this album. 

I have the exact same issue. Most sync, some don’t. They aren’t greyed out on my laptop. They do play on my laptop. They play on my iPhone XS if I change listening device. But if I try to play them straight from my phone as a source they won’t.


soooooo **bleep** frustrating, I’ve set Spotify up now as my main music source after issues with iTunes.



I downloaded the songs to phone but when I tapped on the song, it wouldn't play.


So what I did to fix it was remove the download from all the playlists on my phone and then redownloaded them while my phone was plugged into my computer. After redownloading, the songs would play.


BTW When you remove the song from your phone it'll look as though it disappeared from the playlist even though it shows up on your computer. So you have to make sure your phone is plugged into your computer when redownloading the song.

Hey @Ddavies,


Thanks for reaching out about this! Let's see what we can do 🙂


Since the songs you mentioned are only failing to appear on one device, could you check out this support article (under the heading 'Mobile and tablet')?


Make sure to follow the steps in order and let us know if that works for you! If not, we'll be here to help you troubleshoot further.


Thanks! Keep us posted 🙂

Still does not work for me. I have iPhone hotspotting to the PC and I am able to see the iPhone on the PC's device menu. 

When I add a song from the PC's local file to a playlist and select to play it over the iPhone, on the latter I get the message 'song not downloaded'. The download option is selected on both the PC and iPhone's playlist and yet the songs are still grayed out on the phone. 

Help? Thanks. 

Try physically plugging your phone into your computer.

Tried, no luck. Thanks for suggesting.

Hey @Micheee,


Thanks for reaching out.


Could you try to delete the playlist with local files on both devices? You can then create a new one and start the process from scratch. Instructions on how to do this can be found here


Keep in mind that only local files from official sources are supported. 


Hope you find this useful. Let us know how you get on.

Mihail Moderator
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Some progress:
- the playlists now sychronises, my PC does not have a fully fledged installation (work PC, no password for installation), using a MAC with proper Spotify installation.

Current issues:
- the synchronised files will not play over 'spotify connect' to the wi-fi speakers error message: 'can't play this right now' on the 'select a divide' dialogue)
- iPhone airport is able to stream to the wifi speakers, hence to get Spotify to the speakers one has to use airport (inconvenient)
- iPhone with OSX 14 does not see the speakers at although the 'local network' toggle is on as suggested.

Please note that I am hotspotting from the phone with OSX 14 to PC, another iPhone (to control wifi speakers), 2x wifi speakers and PC.

Any suggestion welcome. Thanks in advance.

Hey @Micheee,


Thanks for getting back to us. We're happy that the playlist now synchronizes. 


Keep in mind that streaming local files via Connect is not officially supported, so this is expected behavior. Other user have went ahead however and created an idea that requests this feature here. You can add your support there by up-voting the idea. We'll inform on any developments there, as soon  as there are any. So make sure to subscribe, if you haven't already. 

The Idea Exchange is a great way for us to see what our users are interested in and how many people like a certain idea. You can read more about it here.


Hope this is helpful but don't hesitate to let us know if you have any further questions!

Mihail Moderator
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I have this issue too. Up until late July I had an iPhone X and at first it didn’t sync, but after awhile it just started working, and then it would sync within a few hours, usually when I wasn’t even using the phone. Sometimes it even downloaded them on my phone overnight while I was asleep haha. But in late June this year that phone broke, and I now have an iPhone 8 instead. Problem is the 8 won’t sync. It shows the files in the playlist because I have show unavailable songs enabled, but they’re greyed out and can’t be played. They work fine on my PC, and if I play one on there and then try to send it to my phone with the devices menu it just says “This song can not be played” or something and just puts the next song on that isn’t a local file. It never syncs either, I’ve had a playlist with a handful of them downloaded on my phone for almost a month now, and the local songs show a grey download arrow next to it like they want to download, but then never do. I’ve tried everything except hot spotting my phone to my PC because my area doesn’t have cell reception, so it wouldn’t do anything at all then. But I’ve tried everything I can think of and it doesn’t sync. Never had this problem until I got a new iPhone, and even the computer is still the same. 

Hey there @Superdragon50!


Thanks for reaching out to us.


We'd recommend following the steps here to see how you can turn on local file sync on your iPhone.


It's also a good to check out our support page if you haven't already for more info on this.


Keep us in the loop here! We'll be happy to help you further.

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Ohhhhh I did know there was a setting for file sync now haha. That’ll make a difference 😂

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