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YouTube Music now quietly downloads tracks you like for offline play

If you have a big data plan and/or are poor at forward planning, you’ve probably been in a position where your music has simply cut out as soon as your signal has. Personally, I’ve had many a tube journey suffer from this, where I end up frantically trying to download something to listen to between stops.

YouTube Music has come up with an answer to this problem: Smart Downloads. Rolling out now to YouTube Music Premium subscribers with Android devices, Smart Downloads will automatically download up to 500 songs it thinks you’ll like based on your past pressing the ‘like’ button and your general listening history, so you should never be caught without music again.

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Crucially, it’ll do so with minimal fuss. That means it will only stock up your offline listening library when it has a WiFi connection so as not to drain your data, and at night so as not to bother you when you’re likely to actually need your phone.

Smart Downloads expands on YouTube Music Premium’s Offline Mixtape feature, which uses your listening history to download a bunch of songs that you might enjoy. Music being such a personal thing, you’d imagine the YouTube algorithm would make plenty of mistakes here, but it’s easy enough to delete them should they prove to be disastrous. 

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YouTube isn’t the first company to try and predict what media you might want to consume when you no longer have an internet connection. The Netflix app does something similar, downloading the next episode of a show you’re watching in advance so it’s ready to go when you’re done, and then deleting episodes you’ve already watched. 

Are you a YouTube Music Premium subscriber? How good has Smart Downloads been for you? Let us know what you think on Twitter: @TrustedReviews.