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Spotify drops Safari browser in stealth system update

The Spotify app icon on a smartphone.
The popular music streaming service Spotify has quietly discontinued support for Apple’s Safari browser. As of September 8, the System Requirements page was updated to reflect support for Chrome 45+, Firefox 47+, Edge 14+, and Opera 32+. Notably absent was any mention of Safari.

Several users on the Apple community forum flagged the omission, noting that when they attempt to access the Spotify Player on Safari they receive an error message: “This browser doesn’t support Spotify Web Player. Switch browsers or download Spotify for your desktop.” After contacting customer support, one user received a confirmation that Safari was no longer compatible with the Spotify service. “After taking a look backstage, we can confirm that after recent updates Safari is no longer a supported browser for Web Player.”

The change might be the latest salvo in the war between Spotify and Apple Music. There are many streaming services out there, but these two are the gorillas in the room. As of June 2017, Spotify had 60 million paid subscribers to Apple Music’s 27 million. The song libraries are roughly comparable, with each service boasting “over 40 million songs,” but there are occasional windowed exclusives for one service or the other. We’ve got a complete rundown of both services to help you decide which one is right for you.

One forum poster suggested that the discontinuation of Safari support may be related to the Google Widevine media optimizer, a plug-in that Spotify requires but Apple opposes, citing potential security flaws.

Spotify suggests that users download the compatible Mac app instead, or switch to a compatible browser such as Chrome or Firefox. The reply from customer service seems to indicate that this is a permanent rather than temporary situation, noting “We can’t say if or when any specific features will be back. But as soon as we’ve got anything to announce, we’ll let everyone know.”

You know it’s serious when you’re asked to basically give up trying and make a switch. But nothing is definite, and Safari aficionados may yet have hope. We’ll keep you updated if we hear anything new. You never know — someone out there might already be devising a workaround.

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Mark Austin
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