Don't hit your cap: A few tweaks to cut down on Google Play Music data usage

'All Access' doesn't have to mean 'all of your data cap'

Google Play Music is a pretty great service, especially when you have chosen to give up $9.99 per month for the new "All Access" subscription service. Without any thought of what music I own, what device I'm on or what I've loaded on my device, I just opened up Google Play Music and listened to the new "Random Access Memories" album by Daft Punk. Within seconds it started streaming in continuous high quality and I got to enjoy the entire album without a second thought.

But there's one small issue -- streaming that album just cost me over 290MB towards my monthly data cap.

In its attempt to make a seamless streaming experience for users, Google has somewhat obscured and selected the settings that make the user experience in Google Play Music as great as possible by default. This is certainly the right choice on average -- users don't want to spend their time tweaking settings, they just want to listen to their music anywhere and any way. But for those who are going to utilize Play Music daily and for hours at a time, there are settings that can be tweaked to make sure you're not unnecessarily using mobile data.

So what can you do to limit the amount of data usage from Play Music? Stick with us after the break and learn a few tips to keep from using up your monthly data cap with just streaming music.

Don't force high quality streaming

Google has made the right choice here by not choosing to force high quality streaming by default in Play Music. The more questionable choice however is to subtly change what this setting does when selected. By default, Play Music will now select the quality of music that is appropriate for the speed of your connection in order to keep the music flowing even if your connection is slow. This also means that there's no way to force the app to keep a lower quality music stream to cut down on data usage. This is really unfortunate as other apps offer this option, but you can do yourself a data usage favor here by keeping the "Stream at highest quality only" setting un-checked and let the app dynamically choose a bit rate for you.

This won't save you data when you're on a fast connection (it will always bump up to the highest quality when possible), but it can shave a few megabytes when your connection gets slower and the quality drops to keep continuous playback.

To cache or not to cache?

One of the less-understood features of Google Play Music is its local caching of music for offline listening. Adding to the simplicity of a streaming service, Play Music will automatically cache music that you listen to often on your device to cut back on data usage when you go back to the same song again. By default, the app will cache as it streams, meaning that it is downloading the entire song for offline use as soon as you hit "play" on any song in the app. In nearly every case this is the best choice, as the data usage is no higher than streaming in high quality, but will cut down usage to zero when listening again. If you truly will never listen to the song again, or are simply browsing through songs and not listening to them in their entirety, uncheck the "Cache during playback" option in the settings.

If you leave the option checked to cache while streaming and browse a lot of new music, you can always clear the cached songs in the settings if you need to free up space on your device.

Take advantage of pinning

Similarly to caching, using Google Play Music's option to "pin" music to your device is a great way to save on data usage. Pinning is simply on-demand caching of specific albums for offline access. You can pin items that are part of your own uploaded collection, as well as anything you find in the store as part of your All Access subscription. Pinned items will download in the background as soon as you hit the pin icon found in the album view of the app, and will only download via Wifi by default. While Google's default caching does a good job of keeping your most listened-to music available for offline access, it's nice to know you can force a download at any time when you know you'll be without a consistent connection for streaming.

The only downside of this is that on-demand pinned music doesn't seem to download very quickly. We have to assume this is for battery life concerns because Play Music is meant to do this seamlessly in the background, but it gets downright annoying when you're trying to pin an album 15 minutes before your flight takes off. You'll also need to know that Play Music will not store pinned music onto an external SDcard, something to keep in mind if you're tight on internal storage.

Wait for Wifi to download

While it isn't exactly Google's intended purpose, you can use Play Music with streaming entirely disabled if you prefer. The synced playlists and All Access options are still great to have even when you don't stream over mobile data, and with a few settings you can make it work in this situation. The two easiest settings to accomplish this are "Download via Wi-Fi only" and "Stream via Wi-Fi only", which will pretty much lock down any Play Music data access unless the device is on Wifi. Additionally, using the drop-down menu from the top of the interface -- such as "Listen Now" or "My Library" -- you can manually select "On device" music, as to know for certain that what you're playing is already downloaded to the device.

With just a few quick tweaks, you'll be well on your way to cutting down on Google Play Music data usage while still enjoying the perks of a streaming music service with limitless listening possibilities. We all anxiously await the day where mobile broadband is ubiquitous and unlimited, but for now we have to realize the limitations and work around them. Keep these things in mind and you may just lessen your chance for a shocking data bill at the end of the month.

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

  • Heed these tips, guys. I used All Access to stream while driving from the Canadian border to Philadelphia this Monday, and it used almost 1.4GB of data.
  • What they really to add is the ability to change the quality of the stream like spotify. Despite these tips streaming from All Access is still more of a data hog than say spotify or even pandora. I had listened to about 5 songs and it used apporximatly 200+mb of data. I think 40mb per song is a bit high. I was not measuring the data exactly but as a rough estimate. I was hoping i'm wrong
  • If you hit 200mb for 5 songs, then you were streaming High Quality and need to uncheck that box.
  • or they just have a fast connection and that is the quality google chose to send him.
  • sadly i had already unchecked the high quality option
  • You can uncheck "high quality" from the settings, that should help. But I, for one am GLAD they are streaming at higher bitrates! It means that those of us who are smart enough to have service through a carrier who doesn't meter can enjoy higher quality audio!
  • Until those carriers start to throttle you just for streaming music.
  • It's not a matter of being smart enough, but choosing what's available.
  • 'Smart' enough, or rich enough ;) (or stupid enough?) Kidding. But in all seriousness, I'm on prepaid with 5 gigs of data which sounds like a lot until you start streaming google music nonstop. I used 138mb today alone and wasn't listening to an abnormally high amount of music.
  • You would have been better off just pinning those 5 songs! An MP3 is no more than 5MB a song!
  • I guess I will stick to Spotify then, I don't want to blow my 50MB day pass on one song through Google Play.
  • I used to listen to Tune in radio for 2 hours a day everyday for a month and it used 2 gb for the entire month, same with pandora, except free pandora stops itself every half hour to see if you're listening. Tune in is great because you can rewind and record live radio stations from everywhere in the world & podcast or anything that plays on it.
  • Just offline mode (pin/cache) the music.
  • I have Tmobile and I dont think about data caps..
  • @trees: You just have to worry about coverage. I have unlimited Verizon LTE. I don't have to worry about either.
  • Yeah, I'm so happy I switched to Verizon the last day they offered unlimited. I don't get the best choice of phones all the time, but I always have service, almost always with LTE, and I can check/uncheck all the boxes to allow streaming/downloading over the network and stream at the highest quality. I also don't store any of my music on my phone and I've not once had an issue streaming any of it for the past year or so since I got it.
  • I live in Denver, have a Nexus 4, pay $80 a month for truly unlimited 4g speeds, have no contact, no bloatware, no unsightly carrier branding on my hardware or software, and have NO PROBLEM with coverage unless I go up in the mountains - which I rarely do since I don't ski. T-mobile's unlimited data saves me over $2000 on just Internet access alone with my free wifi tether vs. Comcast with my Nexus. I'm not even talking about the direct plan cost savings of T-Mobile vs. Verizon/ATT. And I can use all the cloud services I want without worry. Unless I move to "The Hills Have Eyes" hillbilly land, I'd be a fool to go to Verizon or ATT.
  • $49 : Solavei, runs on tmobile, unlimited phone/text, 4gb of high speed.
  • Well duh. If you don't already have unlimited data on Verizon, T-Mobile is obviously the best choice for unlimited data. But I pay $70/month for unlimited everything with GV and I have LTE almost everywhere I go. I might need to go to Oklahoma next week, and if I do, I'll have LTE almost the entire way there. I'd be on EDGE almost the entire way there on T-Mobile. Not to mention their building penetration is awful. My point was that I'm personally not bending over for Verizon because I'd be paying the same amount on T-Mobile for far less coverage if I switched. If I didn't have unlimited on Verizon, I'd definitely choose T-Mobile over them.
  • You wouldn't be paying the same amount. You'd be paying a lot less. We've established that. You were comparing a truly unlimited T-Mobile plan to a 450-minute Verizon plan.
  • I said with GV. Again. Does your brain block that out while you're reading my comments? Other than MMS, there's no difference so what's your point?
  • The point is that you can use GV with T-Mobile as well and pay less.
  • Are you saying there's a hidden plan that offers unlimited, unthrottled data for less than $70? Because it's not on T-Mobile's website. If you go with any plan that's under $70, you only get a certain amount of unthrottled data. Since I use over 20GB regularly, the only viable option for me is the $70 plan, which is exactly the same amount I pay Verizon. Unlimited official talk and text doesn't matter to me because I get that for free over data.
  • but ur grandfathered in right so that means no upgrades or ull lose ur data a friend of mine is debating that right now, tmobile is killin tha game wit tha no contract plan, new phones anytime u want and unlimited data no throttle.
  • That's right. I've been with Verizon since Verizon existed as a mobile carrier and had unlimited data since my first smartphone. With my last upgrade, the plan I had been "grandfathered in" to was pulled right out from under me. I could have kept it by not renewing my contract and getting the phone at full price, but I've always gotten my phones at the subsidized price because I couldn't justify paying $600 more just to not have to be committed for the next two years to a carrier I'll probably keep for the next two years anyway. Though, ironically, in light of Verizon's shady policies on this matter and the dishonest nature of wireless carriers as a whole I am seriously thinking about purchasing my next phone off contract because at this point any carrier I choose may likely *not* be a carrier I want to keep for the next two years.
  • In Las Vegas where I live the tmobile reception is meh...which is why I switched to AT&T where even though I pay more I get amazing 4glte coverage
  • @tim242 you also don't have to worry about ever getting a subsidized price phone either...if you want to keep that unlimited LTE.
  • You have to pay full price for phones on T-Mobile, too. So...what's your point?
  • Verizon will eventually rid you of your unlimited plan, don't worry. Enjoy it while it lasts.
  • I will. And if and when that happens, then I'll switch to T-Mobile. :)
  • You can choose to pay for the phone in installments.
  • WOW can you not add. Tmob - AVG cost of phone $600 / 24 months comes out to $25 a month + $70 = $95 for 24 months for unlimited every thing. ATT AVG cost of phone = $200 (If you buy when it first comes out) / 24 = $8.
    $60 voice + $20 unlimited messages + $50 5 Gig data = $130 + 8 = $138 a month over 24 months (not unlimited). Tmob 24 month total = $2280
    AT&T 24 month total = $3312 Now go back to school.
  • Once you hit your full-speed cap and get throttled down, how well does streaming work? I'm considering switching to T-Mobile from AT&T.
  • Tmo has unlimited data, not the fake one. Only issue is you cant tether while on the plan.
  • You can tether with unlimited. You get 500MB of tether free a month but have to pay for additional tethering data. I think it's $10/2GB.
  • You can tether unlimited with the Nexus 4 on T-mobile. I've used 50gb of data this month alone (Netflix mostly, since I canceled my cable).
  • That's not T-Mobile's official policy. They may not be enforcing it, or have trouble detecting it in your case. I also have the Nexus 4 on T-Mobile but don't tether very often so I likely haven't exceeded the 500MB allotment. With my previous rooted CM10 SGS2 I tethered extensively a few times with no ill effects but that was before the current plans were put into effect.
  • T-mobile's official policy is unlimited 4g. That's exactly what I'm using. They enforce tethering fees on the phones that have THEIR branding. I'm using an unlocked phone.
  • You're signed up through a cellular contract with T-Mobile. Your contract is no different than with any other phone. What does the cellular contract you signed with them say about tethering? Whether or not they are enforcing it is another matter.
  • Exactly.
  • Exactly nothing. It's amazing to me how people talk about things they clearly don't understand. T-MOBILE DOESN'T HAVE CONTRACTS! You simply purchase a month's worth of service in advance and set up automatic payments if you want to continue buying their services. I'm not obligated to do anything. What I do with my data is my business. What part of that can't you understand? I'm sorry you can't do what I can. I'm sorry you're paying more for less on whatever carrier you're using. Oh and for the record, T-MOBILE is enforcing to the their limits. They send me a text about once a month asking me to sign up for their tethering plan. I kindly ignore the solicitation-just like I ignore Verizon and ATT ads, and the delusional excuses of their customers.
  • Please talk about something you understand. T-MOBILE DOESN'T HAVE CONTRACTS.
  • There's still a ToS agreement.
  • T-Mobile is great if you can get a signal and a fast one. Too bad you can't most of the time especially if you travel.
  • Good thing I don't travel often outside of the Seatte metro area. My coverage and speeds with T-Mobile are stellar and I save a boatload of cash. It must suck to have to bend over for Verizon in order to get coverage where you need it.
  • It must suck to stay in the same area all the time. Actually, I only pay $70/month for unlimited everything on Verizon. The only thing I don't get is MMS, so I'm pretty much trading that for coverage. Officially I have 450 minutes, no texting, and unlimited data, but I can use data to make free calls and texts with Google Voice. Since Verizon's network is not only fast but very reliable, VoIP calls are just as good, sometimes even better, over LTE data than normal voice calls. I don't feel like I'm bending over for Verizon. I sometimes use dozens of GBs in a month and that's well worth $70, especially because that's the exact same price it would cost for unlimited, unthrottled data on T-Mobile.
  • Sounds like he prefers civilization to hillbilly land. You do realize that your Verizon experience is not the standard, don't you? The exception does not make the rule.
  • Well, since we are blessed here in Seattle I really don't need to leave. Within the metro area we have multiple lakes, mountains (real ones, not the ones they have back East), rivers, an urban center, salt water, ferries, islands, forests and farms. Unless I need to go another country, there's no real need to leave. If I do travel abroad, as I did last month to Mexico, I'm turning my phone off or getting a local SIM anyway. By the way, I see what you did with your rate plan sleight-of-hand. 450 minutes does not an unlimited plan make. If I dropped down to only 450 minutes a month and used VOIP I could get by even cheaper on T-Mobile than the $70/month you quoted.
  • No you can't. If you drop down to any other plan below $70/month, you lose unlimited, unthrottled data and that's key. Without it, you don't really have unlimited minutes because you can't make effective calls on throttled T-Mobile data. Not to mention T-Mobile's network isn't as reliable as Verizon's for making VoIP calls. I'm currently using both and there's usually a delay when talking because of higher pings and the other person almost always has an echo. Also, that isn't sleight of hand since I said officially I have 450 minutes and no texting. I made it clear that's exactly what I was doing.
  • "If you drop down to any other plan below $70/month, you lose unlimited, unthrottled data and that's key." This isn't true. "Without it, you don't really have unlimited minutes because you can't make effective calls on throttled T-Mobile data." That's completely and utterly false. "Not to mention T-Mobile's network isn't as reliable as Verizon's for making VoIP calls." That wasn't the point. You claimed Verizon was as cheap and of course we know this just isn't true. "Also, that isn't sleight of hand since I said officially I have 450 minutes and no texting." You're comparing apples to oranges. Sleight-of-hand in its purest form.
  • "This isn't true. This is false." Back up your claims then. Show me where I can get an unlimited plan on T-Mobile where data is never throttled for less than $70. And it's not false. I've used it. Throttled data is slower than EDGE speeds. You can't make an effective VoIP call on speeds that slow. Again, I've tried. How is it not as cheap? $70 = $70 You obviously don't know what sleight of hand means. I never tried to deceive anyone. I flat out told you what I meant. Unless you also think a magician showing you how he performs his trick as he's doing it is also sleight of hand...
  • Google Voice has nothing to do with any carrier's plans. You're comparing apples to oranges. If you want to compare cellular services, you have to compare equal carrier provided features, and yes, that includes MMS.
  • Okay, so even though it's free and does the exact same thing as official carrier services, I can't include it? Don't really care. I can still make unlimited calls and send unlimited texts from the same number so it makes no difference to me where that service comes from. I'd much rather use Google Voice for free unlimited texts and calls on the network with the best coverage in the US than lose coverage for unlimited calls and texts directly from my network. It's funny because I would need Google Voice on T-Mobile to be able to text and make calls on Wi-Fi, since I lose service with T-Mobile when I go in a lot of buildings. And before you ask, I have a Galaxy Nexus on Verizon, but I also have a Nexus 4 and I sometimes pay $30 to get T-Mobile service for a month on it.
  • I have Sprint, so no worries what so ever.
  • What is your average data speed?
  • What is your average data speed?
  • I'm on Sprint too and it's usually averaging 1800kbps with a max around 2500kbps. Sometimes it dips but not to the worse-than-dialup rates like it did last year.
  • I just ran a Sprint 3G Speedtest and the result was 2.71Mbps down, 0.82Mbps up. Uploads are still relatively slow but gone are the days of crappy downlink, at least for my area.
  • Horrible service, what good is unlimited when running on edge. Maybe works for u though
  • Pinning doesn't work for me. I pinned a playlist of about 300 songs. It gets about 11% of the way done, then it just fails and says "Can't download now. Will try again later" even though I have the phone plugged in and on Wi-Fi. I've rebooted, reinstalled, and unpinned / repinned the playlist, and it continues to get stuck. I have plenty of free space left. I have no idea what's causing this...maybe a particular song? But that wouldn't make much sense. I'm sticking to Spotify because I can cache big playlists like this (and not use over a gig of data in one day like Google Music did last weekend).
  • Yeah, I get that error a lot too on my Nexus 4. It doesn't affect me too much because I started out with a new playlist when I signed up for All Access, so I only add a new song every few minutes at most. I'm not sure if it's from losing signal for a moment, maybe it times out, or the app/service just being buggy.
  • How do you have a Nexus 4 when you said you're on Verizon?
  • I believe it's magic. Perhaps he's a Jedi and can simply wave his hand in front of is Nexus 4 and say in a droll voice "These ARE the wireless bands you are looking for."
  • Yep. That's exactly what I did. :)
  • Two phones perhaps? Actually, I have four. A Nexus One, a ThunderBolt, a Galaxy Nexus, and a Nexus 4. I don't use the first two anymore and my Nexus 4 is used mostly like an Android iPod touch, though I'll pay for a month of T-Mobile service every now and then.
  • I would welcome a stream of even lower quality to save bandwidth. I'm closing in on my cap with almost 2 weeks to go.
  • They just need to add a couple sliders to the settings called "Max Quality On Cellular" and "Max Quality on Wifi". And when you move the slider, a text tip would display average monthly data usage for 10 hours of listening. If they did that, it'd help a ton.
  • This is a really good idea.
  • Go work for Google, please. :)
  • The data usage confusion surrounding this app is my biggest problem with it. Of course, true to Google's standard practice, there's no way to select where you want the cached music to be saved (such as the external SD card). And you have no way of knowing what it is caching or when it is caching. Can't find an option to cache a "radio," for example. Albums you listen to, sometimes it grabs the whole album, and sometimes just a few songs. And pinning anything over wifi is dreadfully slow compared to the other services out there. When I go to "Explore," sometimes it just shows me what is on the device, rather than taking me to the "recommended, etc." screen. And speaking of recommendations, talk about random stuff that appears. Yikes. The app is just a mess. I'll happily pay the extra 2 bucks to go with one of the more mature apps. And since I mostly listen to genre stations, I'm going to stick with Slacker for $3.99, where I can absolutely control what is cached and when data is used or not without navigating the settings all the time.
  • Google did a very good thing here.
    This new service shows that data caps are wrong and stupid.
  • There are many ways to show that without incurring unexpected fees for their users. Many people are seeing 10x data usage compared to other streaming options!
  • I wish Google would add functionality to download an album onto your device from the web interface. Think about it, you could build a playlist on your PC using the web interface (much easier), then you click the menu button -> Send to -> . This would trigger the selected device to download that playlist for offline play. Basically, the same way that the Play Store works installing apps from the web interface.
  • ^ This. Google, please listen to this man.
  • That's a good idea and a constructive suggestion. It's much better than the typical, "Meh, {insert app/service} is better" opinions that people pass off as fact around here.
  • You can kind of already do this. Create a playlist and pin it on your device. Then add songs to it from the web interface. Songs will start downloading on your device immediately and automatically, even if you add more songs to the playlist weeks later.
  • You can already do this. Make a playlist called "On Device" (or whatever you want) and pin that playlist on your phone (Keep on device). Whenever you add anything to that playlist from the web interface, it'll automatically download it to your phone. It's like magic, only it's not magic, it's real.
  • I had the same "data shock" moment it seems lots of other folks have had. I'm on the TMO $30 plan, which is unlimited, but throttled down after 5Gb/mo. With my listening habits, I could easily see myself hitting that by mid-month if I weren't careful. And I don't wanna be careful! (/tantrum) So, yeah, I agree that a lower-quality option would have a huge benefit. Is anyone else having issues with the stream dropping mid-song? Seems I can barely go ten minutes of listening without frustrating issues. Is that just a "we're still figuring this out" issue on Google's end? I'd blame TMO, but Pandora behaves this way literally ~1% as often as Google Play streaming. Possibly this is related to Google streaming at such a high quality/bit rate that they have more trouble maintaining it? I love the _idea_ of this service. At it's current usability, I'll likely drop it and just stick with Pandora.
  • Between this and their limited storage Nexus devices, Google seems to be under the impression that we all have fiber directly to our phones.
  • The Nexus is on T-MOBILE, which has unlimited 4g. Your point doesn't make sense.
  • The Nexus 4 is an unlocked GSM phone which works on both T-Mobile and AT&T.
  • Ah. So your issue is not with Google; it is with AT&T.
  • Lol no. The issue is that Google keeps putting out services and devices which assume people have unlimited uberfast bandwidth. Except for limited cases that's just not true.
  • No, they assumed that buyers would use the phone on T-MOBILE, as that is the only carrier relationship they have for the Nexus 4, the only one that has HSPA+42, and the only one with unlimited GSM 4g.They made it GSM quad-band to give users more options, but Google has always had a T-MOBILE first strategy, dating all the way back to the G1. ATT is an afterthought.
  • If they assumed everyone would put a T-Mobile SIM in it, they'd have locked it to T-Mobile and gotten some kickbacks while they were at it.
  • What? That doesn't make any sense whatsoever. Google doesn't care about product profits. The Nexus 4 is sold at wholesale prices. Google wants to disrupt carrier lock in. The whole point of the Nexus series was and is to free phone users from carrier contracts and control of hardware and software. Look it up. It just happens to be that T-MOBILE is cool with that philosophy, and has structured their services the way Google wants (like international wireless).
  • Thank you for reinforcing my point. Google cares so little for lock-in and such that they weren't thinking of T-Mobile any more than any other carrier. They made a phone and said."enjoy, folks."
  • My issue is not with data caps, I'm one of the lucky ones who is on a grandfathered unlimited vzw plan. My complaint is how often it needs to buffer. Even if I have a fantastic connection and Im getting speeds of like 20 mbs down, it buffers like every 10 seconds sometimes. Thats super annoying. I'm an audiophile so listening to low quality stuff is flat out not enjoyable to me. They need to do something about this.
  • It's just amazing that in the 21st century, we're worrying about data caps. I sure hope I don't crashmy horse riding to work.
  • Your horse has a data cap and is being throttled.
  • As mentioned several times before, you don't worry about days caps with T-mobile or Sprint.
  • Has anyone run into a problem with albums or tracks appearing multiple times in the download queue? I have spotty coverage in my office so I'm wondering if failed downloads is causing that.
  • In response to the editorial statement above;"This also means that there's no way to force the app to keep a lower quality music stream to cut down on data usage. This is really unfortunate as other apps offer this option, but you can do yourself a data usage favor here by keeping the "Stream at highest quality only" setting un-checked and let the app dynamically choose a bit rate for you." A solution to this problem can be accomplished by changing the device settings. My Verizon Galaxy Nexus allows the option to go through "Device Settings", under "Wireless & Networks / Data Usage / More..." tab, select "Mobile Networks". From there select "Network Mode" which enables the ability to toggle between "LTE/CDMA" or "CDMA". By selecting CDMA mode, this will disable faster more data intensive LTE/4G and force the slower 3G service which in return will force Google Play to use the slower bit rate, hence less data usage. Sorry for the lengthy comment but I hope this helps people better budget their data. Me, I'm on Verizon's Unlimited, but I know my days are limited. I figure it would behoove me to better educate myself with smart data usage etiquette to lessen the shock of transitioning!
  • You don't actually need a wiz-bang LTE connection for the highest quality setting to stream. I force CDMA all the time and leave it ticked and it doesn't stutter or buffer. The reason being, it streams 320kbps which is well below the typical 3G threshold of 900-2500kbps.
  • What we really need is a slider or menu to choose our own fixed bit rate. Even the common ones would be adequate...128, 192, 256, 320. Choosing 256 or 192 wouldn't reduce the noticeable quality for a lot of people but would cut the data usage down significantly. 128 could be for times of desperation.
  • Used 5GB in May with this app alone. I'm on Sprint and loving their new LTE and improved 3G in NC. Could barely stream pandora 6 months ago, now it seems like I have a rock solid connection anywhere I go, all unlimited!
  • Better advice? Ditch the carrier that caps your data! You have two (evil) carriers, AT&T and Verizon, who want to cap your data, charge you for overages, and become your "gatekeeper" by offering a paid internet "fast lane" to content providers (breaking network neutrality in the process), and you have two carriers that give you truly unlimited data. I have zero sympathy for those of you hitting your arbitrarily imposed caps and those who get huge data bills for overages. You have a choice in which company you support. Vote with your wallet and take your business to a carrier that understands that data is not like electricity. It is NOT a scarce commodity, and they have no reason other than pure GREED to meter it as such!
  • Some people really don't have the option to ditch those carriers. That's how they got away with the caps in the first place.
  • That's not true.
    Between Sprint and T-Mobile, 95% of the US is covered. People are just loyal to the evil larger Bells, and allow them to get away with what they charge.
  • But covered is not the same as covered well. Sprint and T-Mobile have service in NYC but they're no where near as good as AT&T and Verizon. When I had T-Mobile, I regularly lost coverage in buildings and I couldn't use my cell phone when I visited my parents.
  • Indeed. All four carriers are in my location but of the two unlimited, T-Mobile is 2G. Sprint is basically it. Other areas have neither Sprint nor T-Mobile in any kind of "hey let's stream high quality audio" form. They may have the signal but they have 2G at best and possibly even just enough for voice and text. People fail to realize the United States is bigger than the metros they live in and the 95% coverage means population NOT geography. There are still a lot of people in that 5% uncovered population as well as a lot of land mass to not get a signal in if you venture there.
  • Do you not know the definition of "some"?
  • Your "some" is strategically and statistically irrelevant. Sorry to sound like a big city snob, but there is a reason why the vast majority of American people live in cities. Look, I'm not saying that people shouldn't travel or live out in the country. If you live in hillbilly county USA, then you SHOULD be on Verizon/ATT for all the reasons stated. But it's outrageous that city people pay twice what I pay, and can't even use their smartphone to the fullest of its ability including services like Google Music. 2GB per month and throttling is absurd.
  • Get over yourself. Sheesh.
  • a) Data is not a scarce commodity? It just grows on trees? (And, like, real common trees, not like Sitka spruces or something?) 2) Yes, they're acting like gatekeepers. That's how it works. They build and operate the gates! c) Yes, we have choices. And each choice brings a different set of consequences and limitations. Each of us weigh those various c&l differently. For some people the "best" choice is going to be unlimited. For others, not so much. Getting all Robespierreian about it isn't helpful.
  • I've been on Verizon Unlimited Data for years and have never been throttle. As mentioned above, I tether my service to ALL my devices and have used close to 100 GB in a month and service is as fast and trouble free as ever. Verizon has been awesome and good thing because none of the other carrier's service even come close...and that's giving credit where it's truly deserved!
  • Lol data caps.
  • I easily hit my data cap when streaming the same amount on all access as I do on spotify, where I've never had a problem. I shouldn't have to make tweaks to something that has not been an issue previously in a comparable program.
  • Good to know. I am loving this app. I have the old AT&T unlimited plan. The HTC One is my first LTE phone. I am at 5gig this month and still getting full LTE speeds. Not sure what they throttle it to. Our of running a custom Rom Throttling does not work.
  • Keep in mind when you have caching turned on and select play radio from the artist, it caches several songs ahead in the playlist. Even though you only listened to a few songs, it downloaded 15 or 20 in the background.
  • I've got another two weeks to see if Google addresses any of these concerns, particularly where pinning fails most of the time or the app simply refuses to let me play anything. If not, I'm kicking it to the curb.
  • What cap I have tmobile :-)
  • I think this is funny. People usually brag about LTE here and LTE there and how awesome it is to have LTE in general and how it is a dealbreaker if it is missing from a device etc - and the result is articles like this. How to consume data because of data caps. To me, it doesn't matter what latency LTE offers etc since quicker browsing can be achieved with proxy browsers like Opera Mini (if HSPA+ speeds aren't enough) when there is caps that makes data conservation necessary. I am not streaming Google Music but my Spotify playlists is around 2.5-3 GB. I don't dare to think about the result if I would download them on a regular US data connection and then add some Netflix HD streaming etc. It is time for unlimited data, especially for LTE. For a good price.
  • Yes, the answer is Sprint. I live in Chicago and snack and as much data as I want with no worry on the LTE network.
  • It's not latency but bandwidth. HSPA+ actually has extremely low latency. I get sub 50ms latency consistently with HSPA+ on T-Mobile.
  • Get Sprint and you wont have a problem...... Bandwidth caps are so 2008, lol, Wifi is everywhere I only use to 3G/4G for Google Music now that I think about it
  • If Sprint would operate with a standard, unlocked device I would consider them. But I am not going to get a branded CDMA/LTE device just for their service. The drawbacks of branding is a dealbreaker and unlimited data can't compensate enough, especially when I would be forced to just buy what the carrier provides me. I buy what I want, from wherever I want it - i.e. from other countries if there are interesting devices there.
  • Bandwidth caps are 2011 I believe. Mobile data wasn't such a big thing in 2008.
  • Or just load the music on the phone (what a concept). Mine has 5,000 songs. I can play music in super-high quality, instantly, anywhere, anytime, with no data usage, and no skips, and no pauses, and no accounts, and less battery usage. AND I can still stream other music IF I WANT to. One of many reasons why devices should have a reasonable about of local storage.
  • I used to do that. Then I ran out of room. I decided it wasn't worth the nuisance of connecting to the computer and then manually unloading, loading, unloading, loading songs as my tastes change. A lot of people don't even have a computer to do that with these days. They literally do EVERYTHING with their phone.
  • I had high hopes for this app, but the inability to "pin" to the SD card is a deal breaker for me. My 16G Galaxy S3 is near the maximum storage with just apps. I've actually had to delete some to install others. I have 25+ gig of spotify songs on my SD Card and would probably have more if I had a larger card. Also, even though I have LTE with ATT, there are times and locations where the service is spotty. I want to have as much music as possible on my phone so I don't have to worry about data caps or service.
  • I don't have a cap
  • So nobody pins or streams playlists and albums on WiFi only? This issue is easily avoidable
  • I'm sure some do, but the point is it doesn't take a lot of mobile data listening to chew through that data.
  • favorite tip, don't(for now) get rid of your unlimited data plan on vzw
  • Everybody has turned this into a carrier flame war. It's not about that. Why does Google not include a basic feature which all of its competitors provide? I like the price of All Access, and I love the fact that I can integrate my personal library with millions of other songs. However, like one poster pointed out above, the recommendations are hot garbage and the inability to limit bandwidth use makes it a non-starter for me. For now, I will stick to Mog, which in my opinion, is the most underrated streaming service out there. Now, if I can only get them to give me the ability to add a song to a playlist through the android mobile app (something you can do with the IOS app....WTF?) then we will be in business.
  • Not very happy with this I have spent alot of money downloading muisc and until now it has been using alot of my gb I have at&t so we do get charged for data ! And as I have been spending more time at the gym I can nolonger listen tobmy music I had to use another source and this is totally not cool !!
  • Tmobile now doesn't count this streaming all access data against the users data plan anymore. Stream away!