What you need to know

  • Smart downloads is an expansion of Offline Mixtape that will download up to 500 songs for offline playback.
  • It will download music overnight while your phone is charging and on Wi-Fi.
  • If you're worried about storage space you can adjust how many songs it will download.

The YouTube Music app will soon have a new and improved version of Offline Mixtape called "smart downloads", downloading up to 500 songs to your phone. That is a massive increase over the previous Offline Mixtape feature which only downloaded 100 songs based on your listening preferences for offline playback.

Offline Mixtape and smart downloads are all about using less data and providing you with some of your favorite music when your data signal is inconsistent. For that reason, when smart downloads is enabled, it will only download music overnight when your phone is charging and on Wi-Fi.

What if you think 500 songs is overkill and your phone is low on storage? No worries, because smart downloads provides you with a way to limit the amount of songs that are downloaded for this very reason.

When speaking to The Verge on the new feature, YouTube detailed how this might work for the average person. For example, smart downloads would download their "Offline Mixtape, Pop Hotlist, Summer 2019 playlist, [and] Kacey Musgraves album" overnight for offline playback.

This is a perfect solution for those of us who don't like to spend our time managing music and want to make sure we won't get stuck with no signal and no tunes. It could also be a lifesaver on long flights, similar to Netflix's smart downloads that automatically save the next episode of the series you're watching.

Currently, YouTube Music and Google Play Music make up a combined 15 million subscribers. In comparison, Spotify has 100 million paying subscribers and Apple Music has more than 50 million. While Google's music streaming efforts are far behind its main competition, it is nice to see it adding new features.

Now, if only we could get YouTube Music to hurry up and migrate over user uploads and playlists from Google Play Music.

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