In 2019, Spotify began testing a hardware device for automobile owners. It was lovingly dubbed “Car Thing,” which allowed Spotify Premium users to play music and podcasts using voice commands that began with “Hey, Spotify.” Last year, Spotify started to develop a similar voice integration into its mobile app. Now, access to the “Hey Spotify” voice feature is rolling out more broadly.
Spotify chose not to officially announce the new addition, despite numerous reports indicating the voice option was showing up for many people in their Spotify app, leading to some user confusion about availability.
One early report by GSM Arena, for example, indicated Android users had been sent a push notification that alerted them to the feature. The notice advised users to “Just enable your mic and say, ‘Hey Spotify, Play my Favorite Songs.” When tapped, the notification launched Spotify’s new voice interface where users are pushed to first give the app permission to use the microphone to verbally request the music they want to hear. Several outlets soon reported the feature had launched to Android users, which is only partially true.
As it turns out, the feature is making its way to iOS devices, as well. When we launched the Spotify app here on an iPhone running iOS 14.5, for instance, we found the same feature had indeed gone live. You just tap on the microphone button by the search box to get to the voice experience. We asked around and found that other iPhone users on various versions of the iOS operating system also had the feature, including free users, Premium subscribers, and Premium Family Plan subscribers.
The screen that appears suggests in big, bold text that you could be saying “Hey Spotify, play…” followed by a random artist’s name. It also presents a big green button at the bottom to turn on “Hey Spotify.”
Once enabled, you can ask for artists, albums, songs, and playlists by name, as well as control playback with commands like stop, pause, skip this song, go back, and others. Spotify confirms the knowledge with a robotic-sounding male voice by default. (You can swap to a female voice in Settings if you prefer.)