Google Play Music

Cached music can now be handled on external storage

There's a new update for Google Play Music rolling out from today, and it brings a pretty big feature addition for anyone using Google's music app on a device with an SD card. The new Google Play Music version 5.3 introduces the ability to store cached or pinned music on external storage — i.e. a microSD card — as an alternative to internal storage. The app has always been able to play music from external storage, but until now cached music from online libraries was limited to internal storage.

It's a pretty big deal for the many users of Android phones with an SD card slot but limited built-in storage, for instance most Samsung phones and lower-end devices from other manufacturers. Cached music can quickly chew through precious internal storage, and so offloading it to an SD card wherever possible makes a lot of sense. It's a curious decision, however, given Google's stance on SD cards, and the lack of external storage on current Nexus devices.

As usual, the new version of Google Play Music is being pushed out to devices gradually as part of a staged rollout, so watch out for it in the days ahead. The new option to change your cache location can be found under Music settings > Download > Storage location.


Reader comments

Google Play Music updated with SD card cache support


See that is the kind of comments that cause nerd rage.

It wouldn't be my, or your, first choice of an upgrade, but it is an upgrade. The X is a fine device.

I was hoping you were talking about the Grammer Nazi, and then I saw the other comment, and realized I was stupid for trading my rezound in for a S4. That comment opened my eyes ;)


So true, just ordered the Moto X to replace my HD Maxx...I'm going to miss that extra 32GB

how come?

because either
1.) you were one of the first to receive an update that was flawed.
2.) you think everyone should receive flawed updates on day 1.

Honestly, I used to use Google Music a lot because it was easy to switch between playing cloud stored stuff and local stored music.

Then they overhauled it a while back to try and "encourage" people to pay for songs through google and I could never get it to reliably play just local content on the phone (usually futzing with it while driving across the interstate after the cell signal caused audio pauses) so I just stopped using it in favor of simpler audio playing apps.


There's an On-Device toggle. It's pretty simple to flip one to the other, not something anyone should have a problem with.

Winter is coming. She's quite the screamer.

I quickly found google play not up to the task for my music needs. It wouldnt sync and stream bluetooth properly with my 2012 tacoma. It would work very basicly but would run into problems when I had other apps going like youtube, Its like it was causing a traffic jam on the bluetooth hwy.

All was solved with poweramp, power amp also looks much nicer.

This option as existed since day one. Just download your music to a PC and transfer it to your phone.

Ummmmm,there should be a option on the phone and not everyone has the time to go through all of that.

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It didn't work, gmusic had to be pointed to the correct folder for downloaded cloud music. The exposed module did that, but root was needed.


Huh didn't know that

So where is the competition for the Note 3? Oh right there isn't any...

I just hope they fixed gapless playback again with this update. They break, they fix, they break, they fix...

Considering how Google feels about microsd's this is a pleasant surprise!

Posted via Android Central App Using my Samsung Galaxy S4 T-Mobile

About damn time. It was a fairly bizarre move to stop supporting it. Especially that weird thing where Google Play wouldn't stream a song from the cloud if it existed on the SD card.

BTW, this article referenced an old article "Google's stance on SD cards" really addressed a very different issue. This was more related to fixed internal partitions labeled as SD cards. Which I agree with. Google changed the internal media partition to be dynamic - which makes sense. That has nothing whatsoever to do with actual removable SD cards.

I almost couldn't believe it... I still don't forgive Google and Samsung for gimping this phone, but this will make a HUGE difference.

With any luck this is the thaw that "should" happen between Google and SD cards.

Yes I know that they are slower than normal memory, and that they can be unreliable (any part can fail though so lets not get on that bandwagon) but there has never been a reason to not include them. It was a decision and thats all.

With devices going to 32GB, there is less of a need now (from my point of view) but it is a welcome addition.

Winter is coming...

I didn't say a break, but a thaw and technically this is one. They are at least acknowledging them again instead of pretending that the largest Android manufacturer doesn't use them

So where is the competition for the Note 3? Oh right there isn't any...

pardon my French, but is Google bullsh*tting me?

Wasn't it Google who insisted that no Nexus phones/tablets should have SD card slots?

Now Google is letting people put Google Play Music on SD cards?

Can't they make up their minds?

Well... at least I'm glad I wasn't stupid enough to buy a Nexus phone. Only Samsung
Galaxy Note 2 & 3 for me. (and eventually Note 4, 5, 6....)

You still need to cater to the crowd that has it

So where is the competition for the Note 3? Oh right there isn't any...

Don't they have to pay Microsoft to include the software to format an sdcard? My guess is its a way to make the phone cheaper.


I don't know what Google has against SD cards, but it seems a lot of people like them. It makes sense to have them for people that have music and movies.

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Next Nexus to come with expandable storage.


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Just seems redundant. Most people who b**** about phones not having SD cards say it's because they store their music on it. Why would you upload your music to Google only to the move it back to SD?

Posted via Android Central App using an LG G2.

its about space...I have the HTC EVO LTE that has 16gb internal and microSD support..up till know my Google Play music has taken a large portion of that 16gb while my 16gb microSD just sits there with like 12gb left

I guess what I don't get is why wouldn't you just have the music on your sd card? Why bother with Google Play? If you have it on your sd card, you could turn off data.

Google Play Music is more than just uploading your own music. A large number of people, myself included, have something called Google Play Music All Access. This means I can store songs and albums I've never bought on my device, and listen to them anytime for the $7.99 monthly fee. Then, just as easily, I can remove them and choose other songs. With this feature, I don't have to remove hundreds of songs to make room for hundreds more songs.

You can also play your uploaded music from anywhere. I can listen to my entire music collection anywhere on any device with a data connection. My phone, tablet, laptop, chromecast, at a friend's house, etc.

Winter is coming. She's quite the screamer.

With a data connection is the key. Sometimes you don't have that be it because of network or other restrictions. I carry quite a few gigs of music around, even though I mostly stream. I can never see myself ever going to the cloud exclusively

Better to have it and never need it than to need it an never have it.

So where is the competition for the Note 3? Oh right there isn't any...

So does this mean I can pin music to the SD card, take it out and play it in another device like a mp3 player that takes SD cards? I know similar music services have allowed this as long as you refresh the music DRM monthly

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I seriously doubt this, as I'm sure the files require authentication to play. But if you find out otherwise, definitely let us know.

Once I get the update on my tablet I'll pin some songs to it and try it out in my old sansa. It would really be nice because I hate working out with my phone. Too paranoid something will happen.

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I suspect you could pin "your" music that you uploaded. I'm sure that if you pin a song that was part of "All Access", that it will be encrypted - and not playable anywhere else.

This just shows you that Google doesn't have an iron fist like Apple. Even though their own devices don't support SD cards, they acknowledge their existence in other devices. This is a good move.

Neat. I sure wish I could give Google my money. Unfortunately, Rhapsody is going to keep getting my money until Google has standalone mp3 players that work with the Google Music Unlimited service. Rhapsody has been letting me do it for at least 6 years. Plug my mp3 player into my computer at least once a month and I can send anything I want to it. Clip that 0.8 ounce player to my helmet, hop on my bike, and go. No need for some freaky way to protect/carry my phone while burning its battery all day.

Get a Sansa Clip. They're less than an ounce and you can get a new one for under $40 or find factory refurbs for $20 to $25. At that price, it's really easy to just stop worrying about sweat getting on it or letting it sit in direct sunlight on the boat. If it dies after 18 months I'll just replace it for cheap and my phone can stay safely tucked away somewhere.

cool. I wonder if my Yamaha Network Receiver will see the music and allow me to airplay it. I doubt it...but one can only hope.

Best news I've heard all day :) especially as Santa is bringing me a 32gb card for Xmas!

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Big FAIL!!! Just got the update. Went to go turn this option on, not available. Went back to "What's New" section on Google Play and this is what it says...

"SD card support for offline music on KitKat (Experimental support on some older devices)"

I have the HTC EVO 4G LTE. There is NO, NONE, Nada, Zero, Zilch reason why this is not available for my phone.

You beat me to it. I always read the what's new before posting coments hoping AC got the news right. It does say some older devices but not older os versions. So don't know what to think.

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Edit: Nope does not work on EVO LTE stock, for the moment, as expected.

Thanks for the info regarding your EVO LTE experience after update CountryDevil. I also updated Google Play Music and looked for the unavailable option on my EVO LTE.

I don't regard this as a Big FAIL. This is a good start because, as described, Google is also experimenting with older devices. Moreover, HTC EVO LTE owners will likely be receiving Kitkat OTA this month as pre announced.


My understanding on the EVO is two things.

First it would get Jellybean, not Kit Kat, in December.
Next, that has been delayed. They are going back to the drawing board so think February at the earliest.

Yes NoNexus... I stand corrected. 4.3 with Sense 5.
Hadn't read about the delay though. Hope that means Sense 5.5 instead.

It works with my AT&T Galaxy Note 3, but not with my AT&T Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 which is what I usually use to stream music to my car radio, guess it'll catch up eventually till then the note will be my "I'm feeling lucky" jukebox.

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I recently bought a Galaxy Tab 3 7.0. Still on Android 4.1 Did you ever receive the update and are able to pin from Google Music?

I reckon the update to use the full sharing options rather than just g+ is a big deal too.

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I'm with you on this. Huge improvement being and to share to numerous places at last!

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I assume the app doesn't automatically transfer downloaded content to the SD card. I think the easiest solution is to clear all the stored music and then re-download it with the new setting on. I'm using a GS3 and it seems to work fine, in case anyone was wondering.

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I've been systematically unpinning then re-pinning to move it. Not sure if it was necessary.

Note - the feature is supported on a standard GS4 running 4.2.2.

Another feature they added is the about to share on more social media other than Google Plus. Very nice!

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They need to fix the horrible bug on HTC One when using with Chromecast. Once again, clicking the volume buttons to control chromecast volume while outside the app causes the whole phone to instantly crash and restart! Hope they get to that soon.

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Can anyone verify that the bug isn't only on my HTC One, based on my settings and custom environment?

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Shit. It's only available on KitKat, bad news for me using 4.1. First I was happy, because I can use it with my sdcard, because my RAZR has only 8 GB internal memory.

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This, to me, is a very minor improvement and it does nothing to alter my distaste for Google Music's heavy-handed relationship with its music purchasers. I will continue to buy & download music from Amazon (or anyone else but Google) who allow YOUR MUSIC to be stored anywhere that you choose and it's never erased as Google still does unless you move or copy the files from /Android/data/ into another folder on your SD card. A caveat to this file management is that you lose Google Music's tags: music & album titles, composer/artist, and the album art, though you could recreate some or all of the tags manually and place jpegs of album covers into your music folders that are easily downloaded from Google Image Search or directly from Google Play Music Search. As a player, GPM isn't even close to the superior quality & user options of Poweramp.

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Poweramp is an amazing player. And I agree about Amazon music. Google has a great environment with android but they are trailing with the music/app storage front. People want more storage. 8, 16, and even 32 gig may not be enough for some. Plus its so much easier to pop in a SD card when you upgrade. And music is a big deal, cloud based services are good for the most part, but what about days you are unable to get a web connection?

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