Having your Spotify playlists suddenly disappear can be incredibly frustrating. Your playlists are a reflection of your musical tastes and preferences, so losing them feels like losing a part of your identity. The good news is that with the right tools and techniques, it is often possible to recover deleted Spotify playlists on an iPhone.
Why Did My Spotify Playlists Disappear?
There are a few common reasons Spotify playlists may have gone missing from your iPhone:
- You accidentally deleted the playlist
- There was a syncing error between devices
- Your Spotify account was hacked
- A glitch in the Spotify app
Unless your account was hacked, the playlist data is likely still stored somewhere on your devices or in Spotify’s servers. The key is accessing that data so you can rebuild your playlists.
How Spotify Playlists Are Stored
To understand playlist recovery, it helps to know how Spotify stores playlists behind the scenes. There are a few key places your playlist data could be stored:
- Locally on your iPhone – The Spotify app saves a local cache of your recent playlists on your device’s storage.
- In iCloud – Your iCloud backups may contain backup data from the Spotify app, including your playlists.
- In Spotify’s servers – All saved Spotify playlists are synced to their servers, even if deleted locally.
The best-case recovery scenario is finding your playlists intact in one of these storage locations. However, you may have to piece together playlists from multiple sources.
Recover from Spotify’s Servers
Your deleted playlists may still be stored in Spotify’s servers, even if they no longer show up in your Spotify library. Here are some ways to potentially recover deleted playlists from Spotify’s servers:
Check Spotify’s Recently Deleted Playlists
Spotify stores recently deleted playlists in a temporary cache before permanently deleting them. To view recently deleted playlists:
- Open the Spotify app on your iPhone
- Tap on Your Library at the bottom
- Scroll down and tap on Playlists
- Look for a “Recently deleted playlists” section
- Tap on any recoverable playlists to restore them
Playlists can only be recovered from “Recently deleted” for up to 90 days.
Use Spotify’s Restore Feature
Spotify offers a “Restore” feature that lets you recover playlists from the past 3 months that were deleted. To use restore:
- Go to the Playlists section in Your Library
- Tap the three dots next to “Playlists”
- Choose “Restore”
- Select any deleted playlists to restore them
This allows you to recover playlists even if they no longer appear in “Recently deleted.”
Contact Spotify Support
For playlists deleted more than 3 months ago, your only option may be contacting Spotify customer support. Explain your situation and request they restore your deleted playlists from backup.
Keep in mind Spotify is under no obligation to restore playlists, but it’s worth contacting them to recover really important playlists.
Check iCloud Backups
Your deleted Spotify playlists may have been preserved in an iCloud backup of your iPhone. iCloud automatically backs up your iPhone periodically when connected to WiFi, unless you have disabled it.
To recover from iCloud Backup:
- Go to Settings > Your Name > iCloud > Manage Storage > Backups
- Tap on your iPhone backup
- Tap “Restore” to restore this backup to your device
Once finished, your iPhone should be in the state it was during the last iCloud backup, including any deleted Spotify playlists.
Beware of Overwriting
One thing to keep in mind is that restoring an iCloud backup will overwrite your current iPhone state. So only restore as a last resort if you can’t recover playlists through Spotify.
Make sure to back up your current iPhone state to iCloud before restoring an older backup.
Use iPhone Local Storage
The Spotify app saves a cached version of your recently used playlists on your iPhone’s local storage.
To access this cache and recover playlists:
- Plug your iPhone into your computer
- Open your iPhone’s folder on your computer
- Navigate to AppData > Documents > com.spotify.music > Databases
- Sort by Date Modified and look for “spotify.db” files
- Copy these files over to your computer
- Download an SQLite database viewer app to open the files
- Search the database tables for your deleted playlists
This method involves some technical work, but gives you direct access to cached Spotify data from your iPhone. Just be careful not to accidentally delete or overwrite any Spotify files.
Use a Playlist Tracking App
A number of third-party apps exist that keep track of your Spotify library and can help recover deleted playlists. Some options to consider:
|Syncs with Spotify and saves a backup of your library and playlists locally
|Backs up unlimited Spotify playlists online
|Web, iOS, Android
|Syncs between music services and saves playlist history
These apps work by continually syncing with your Spotify account and backing up your library online or locally. If a playlist gets deleted, you can just restore it from the app’s backup.
Recreate Playlists Manually
If all else fails, the nuclear option is to manually recreate your lost Spotify playlists. Here are some tips for manually rebuilding playlists:
Check Your Listening History
Open up the Spotify app and go to Your Library > Play History. This contains every song you’ve recently listened to. Scroll through for reminders of what was in your missing playlists.
Ask Friends If They Have the Playlist
If you shared the playlist with friends, see if anyone still has it in their Spotify library. They can share it back with you to restore it.
Use Apple Music or iTunes as Reference
If you built the playlist while also using Apple Music or iTunes, check those libraries. They may contain the original version of the playlist.
Search Your Email for Playlist Songs
Try searching your email inbox for mentions of the playlist name or specific songs from the playlist. Email receipts from Spotify may contain details that help you reconstruct it.
Build a New Playlist from Scratch
As a last resort, pour yourself a nice drink, open up Spotify, and manually search for all the tracks you can recall to add to a new replacement playlist. It won’t be quick, but taking the time to reconstruct it could even be nostalgic.
Protect Your Playlists in the Future
To avoid having to recover deleted Spotify playlists again, here are some proactive steps you can take:
- Enable playlist syncing in Spotify account settings – Automatically syncs playlists between devices.
- Back up your iPhone regularly – Ensures your phone data is saved in case playlists are deleted.
- Use a third-party syncing app – Continuously saves copies of your Spotify library and playlists.
- Export your playlists – Occasionally download playlists as local files in case of disaster.
- Be careful when deleting playlists – Double check before confirming a playlist deletion.
Recovering lost Spotify playlists takes some effort, but in most cases it is possible. First make sure the playlists can’t be easily recovered from Spotify’s servers. If that doesn’t work, dig into iPhone local storage, iCloud backups, playlist tracker apps, listening history, or friends who might have it. And as a last resort, slowly rebuild the playlist manually.
Following the tips in this guide, you should be able to resurrect those playlists full of musical memories. Just be sure to proactively back them up going forward, so you never have to go through this recovery process again!