Google Play Music lets you upload your music collection to the cloud and stream songs over the internet for free. Or you can pay $10 per month for Google Play Music All Access and stream millions of songs.

Google lets you stream to any device with a supported web browser and you can link up to 10 Android, iOS or other devices to your account. If you hit the limit you can always add a new device by deauthorizing an old one you don’t use anymore.

You just can’t deauthorize more than 4 devices per year anymore. That might not sound like a problem… but it depends on how you use your devices.


Odds are that you probably don’t buy new smartphones per year, so you don’t need to deauthorize old ones. But what if there are more than four people in your household using the same Google Play Music account?

Or what if you’re a frequent ROM flasher? Every time you install a custom ROM on your Android phone or tablet you’re installing a new operating system… and if you want to use the Google Play Music app you’ve got to authorize it all over again. So if you’ve already hit the 10 device limit and you flash completely different custom ROMs on your device more than 4 times per year, you could find yourself unable to deauthorize your old “devices” which means no more Google Play Music streaming for you.

Update: There are some reports suggesting that you can flash ROMs and use Play Music without authorizing a new device… which means you shouldn’t have to deauthorize as frequently. If this is true, the limits won’t affect ROM flashers as much as it does people who have already authorized 10 devices and go through more than 4 new devices in a year. 

The new limits are also retroactive… so if you’ve already deauthorized 4 devices this year you’re pretty much out of luck.

Android Police reports that if you run into trouble you might be able to contact Google and request a reset for all your authorized devices, at which point you’ll need to log back in on any devices you’re currently using. But if Google’s able to do this, it kind of makes me wonder why the company is imposing the restriction in the first place.

This isn’t the first time Google tried to restrict the number of deauthorizations — the company briefly rolled out a similar limitation in 2012 before delaying implementation.

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19 replies on “Google Play Music users can only deauthorize 4 devices per year”

  1. Well, if this was from Samsung, i wouldnt be surpriseded but from Google, this is the dumbest thing ever I say.

  2. I’m just not getting this. I’ve been using Play music for years and 10 devices sounded reasonable, but several phones, laptops, and computers later this is now a problem. I was deauthorize g because I didn’t really think I needed to. Now I’m out of devices and can’t get rid of more than four a year? This socks and I am going to have to stay with Spotify.

  3. I just decided to switch back to buying music outright. It’s easier and there are less issues with this DRM and licensing. Every subscription music has a problem like this, but this 4 device limit for deauthorization is made even worse when playing music in the web browser counts as a device. If you have 2 browsers in your computer, that counts as 2 devices. The music uploader counts as a device, the plugin for chrome counts as a device. If you reinstall Windows on your PC that counts as a device….. this is as bad for me as that idiotic KitKat SD card restriction was.

  4. If I ever hit this limit, my email to google is going to start with “So, I’m switching back to Spotify” and end with “you morons.”

  5. You get 10 authorized devices BEFORE you have to start deauthorizing them. So even parents with multiple kids aren’t affected unless they are buying them multiple phones every year.

    If you don’t buy that often and proactively deauth devices, most won’t hit that cap.

    1. Sure…… uploaders in your web browser count. If you listen on the web, that counts as a device. If you switch to IE and play music, that counts as a device and so on. I have 6 web browsers in there that I can’t get rid of now. Now that I had to reinstall Windows 8 on my laptop, I can’t deauthorize any devices anymore, so my $10/mo is now wasted because I can’t use the damn thing anymore.

  6. “But what if there are more than four people in your household using the same Google Play Music account?”
    Gee, I wonder why Google might be putting a limitation on this….

    1. You can only have one active stream per account at a time, so it’s not too useful having multiple people trying to share the same account.

  7. This is a silly limitation. One more reason why I’m sticking with Prime Music over Play Music.

  8. Hmm… seems unnecessarily arbitrary, but then again we should all be getting used to that a degree at a time like the frogs in the ever hotter water that we are.

  9. “But what if there are more than four people in your household using the same Google Play Music account?” …. surely that isn’t a serious statement? How many users is ONE account supposed to support? 50? 100?

    1. Two parents and three kids doesn’t seem unreasonable. You don’t sign up for a separate cable account for your kids… you don’t even need a separate Netflix account. So why an extra Play Music/Spotify/Rdio account?

      1. each “account” requires a separate server stream, and I would assume that the provider (Google) has to pay the rights holder per stream/play, rather than per account. That’s economic suicide. What if it’s two parents, and 6 kids? Where do you draw the line? Not defending it, just highlighting why they might have done this.

    2. What exactly is Google’s terms on sharing with members of your household? I don’t currently use Google Play Music.

      1. No idea. But why is the “household” a distinction? There are just users and more users. No?

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