How to Download Music to Your Android Phone

Listen to music offline on your Android

Since your smartphone is probably also your music player, the internet is your music library. There are times, though, when you may not have access to an internet connection, and still want to listen to music. For those situations, you can download songs to your phone for offline listening. There are several ways to do that, so let’s see how to download music to your phone from Google Play Music, from your computer, and from other music sources.

How to Upload Your Music to Google Play

Google Play Music can be a bit confusing, because it isn’t always clear what Google Play Music does and where it’s storing music files. In part, this is because Google Play Music is doing a lot of different things. First of all, it’s a streaming music service. You can use it for free, or pay a monthly subscription fee to listen ad-free. If you subscribe, you can also download playlists and albums from Google Play Music for offline listening.

In addition, you can store your personal music collection in Google Play Music and access it from any device (including your phone, tablet, and computer) via the Google Play Music service. When you store your music in Google Play, you are not literally downloading the tracks to your phone; instead, you are uploading them to the cloud. As long as you have an internet connection, you can play those songs on your phone, which is functionally the same as downloading the music to your phone (as long as you have an internet connection). Here’s how to upload music to Google Play.

  1. Start the Chrome web browser on your computer and search for the Google Play Music Chrome web store. Install this browser extension by clicking Add to Chrome.

    Installing the Google Play Music Chrome plug-in
  2. After it’s installed, go to play.google.com/music/listen.

  3. Click the three horizontal lines (what’s commonly referred to as the hamburger menu) to the left of Google Play Music and click Upload music.

    The Upload Music menu in Google Play Music
  4. Following the directions on-screen, you can drag song files into the web browser window or select the songs.

    Dragging a file from Explorer to Google Play website

How to Download Music From Google Play Music

You can download albums or playlists from Google Play Music’s streaming music service or, once you’ve uploaded music from your personal music library to Google Play Music, you can then download tracks to your phone for offline listening.

  1. Start the Google Play Music app.

  2. Tap an album or playlist that you want to download.

  3. Tap the Download button.

  4. When the download is complete, the download button will change from a down-arrow to a check mark.

    Download icon changed to a checkmark icon

How to Download Music From Your Computer to Your Phone

Using a USB cable, you can copy any music you personally own from your computer to your phone.

  1. Connect your phone to your computer using a USB connection cable.

    A smartphone connected via USB
  2. If you see a dialog asking permission for you to allow the computer to have access to phone data, tap Allow.

  3. If you have a PC, open a folder on your desktop and locate the music files you want to download to the phone. Open a second folder and navigate to the Music folder on your phone. If you have a Mac, download and install Android File Transfer on your computer. After installing it, open Android File Transfer and open the music folder.

  4. Drag the albums or individual tracks you want to download from the computer folder to the phone's music folder.

    Phil Collins folder drag and drop to Galaxy music folder

How to See Your Downloaded Music in Google Play Music

Once you’ve downloaded songs to your phone, either within Google Play Music or by copying them with a USB cable, you can set Google Play Music to show only the downloaded tracks, which can make it easier to find them for offline listening.

  1. Start the Google Play Music app.

  2. Tap the three horizontal lines (the hamburger menu) to the left of Music Library at the top of the screen and tap Downloaded only.

  3. Now the only music that appears will be tracks that are downloaded to your phone, as indicated by the banner at the top of the screen.

    Hamburger menu, Downloaded only toggle in Google Music on mobile

How to Download Songs From Other Apps

There are many apps in the Google Play store that offer free downloads. To find them, you can search Google Play for terms like free music or download music. Some apps you might want to explore include YMusic, AudioMack, and SoundCloud, though there are many to choose from.

The method for downloading music varies from app to app, but in general, if an app allows you to download tracks for offline listening, you can tap the download button next to the track, playlist, or album. It usually looks like a downward arrow.  

Download button in third-party music app on Android