Users of iPhone and android smartphones can enjoy this amazing free Spotify update

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According to Chris Messina(opens in new tab) posting on Twitter, “Spotify has a new Community Hub to see what your friends are listening to live and what playlists they’ve recently updated.” It isn’t the Friend Activity sidebar in full – there isn’t room for that – but it has much of the same functionality.

On your iPhone or Android phone, the Spotify app is now much more social. One of Spotify’s biggest features, the Friend Activity sidebar, which lets you see what your Facebook friends and Spotify friends are listening to, has only ever been available on the desktop version of the service. I used it to harshly criticise my pals, but I’ve heard it’s also a terrific method to find new music. You can now access it on your smartphone, whether you’re using an iPhone or one of the top Android devices.

Highlights

  • It’s not enough to tempt me back, though. I’ve gone all-in on Apple: as someone whose entire family is on various Apple devices it makes much more sense to have an Apple One bundle that includes the Apple Music family plan than pay a separate subscription to Spotify. And because I reckon the best headphones for me are AirPods Max, I appreciate the Spatial Audio stuff that Apple Music offers – most recently in the new Harry Styles album. If you have or can borrow a set of AirPods it’s well worth a listen, and the spatial stuff is lots of fun.

  • The new feature hasn’t been released yet but it’s hiding in plain sight: if you type “spotify:community” into the address bar of Safari on iPhone or iPad you can check out the test area for yourself. This imminent new feature is a reminder of a very different Spotify, a music service that was built primarily on sharing your enthusiasm for music rather than paying terrible old men huge sums to rant about marginalised people in their podcasts. One of the reasons I was on Spotify rather than its rivals for so long (I’m no longer a subscriber, largely because of the aforementioned terrible old men) was the ability to subscribe to friends’ and interesting strangers’ feeds, and the mobile app feels a lot less social than the desktop app. So it’s good to see Spotify bringing some old-school shareability to its mobile app too.

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written thirteen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote another seven books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com(opens in new tab)).

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