Spotify is in the process of rolling out a fix for a five-month-old bug that has the potential to do serious harm to its subscribers’ hard drives – especially those who use solid-state drives. Multiple reports on the music player’s forums and across the internet show that the apps for Windows, Mac and Linux spend their days writing hundreds of pointless gigabytes to users’ hard disks – even when the software is idle and the apps are specifically told not to store local data.
As reported by Ars Technica, the problem is at least five months old, and could go back even further than that. The issue isn’t just about the software being poorly optimised, though – the way it works could actively damage people’s hardware. Hard drives don’t last forever, and constantly writing and rewriting data isn’t good for them, potentially taking years off their natural lifespan. Solid-state drives are particularly weak to this kind of treatment, as they have a finite number of read/write cycles.
Currently, Spotify is wasting precious read/write cycles on pointless data writing. The app has been observed to write five to 10GB of data in less than an hour, and leaving the program running for longer than 24 hours has led to as much as 700GB of data being written.
It looks like the company is finally addressing the problem with version 1.0.42, which should be rolling out in the next few days. It should automatically download and patch when you open it after it becomes available, but make sure it does: your SSD will thank you in its twilight years.