Music service Spotify is rolling out a fix to stop its desktop application repeatedly writing huge amounts of junk data to computer users’ hard drives. Reporters from new site Ars Technica found Spotify was writing up to 10GB of data an hour to their computers.
Unnecessarily writing and rewriting data to some types of computer hard drive can shorten their life. Spotify said it was aware of the issue and was taking steps to address it in its latest version.
The issue was more likely to be problematic for people using a solid-state hard drive (SSD) in their device. Data on SSDs can be read and rewritten a limited number of times before the drive begins to fail.
A large volume of unnecessary activity by the Spotify player could therefore bring about a drive’s failure earlier than expected. ‘Lazy coding’ Ars Technica found that Spotify wrote and rewrote up to 700GB of data – the equivalent of more than 100 movies – over a 24 hour period.
Many people shared their concerns on social news site Reddit, highlighting that the app even rewrote the data while it was idle and no music was being streamed.
Ken Munro, from cybersecurity firm Pen Test Partners, said the problem was “either an error or lazy coding”, but said more modern SSDs could tolerate more data-writing cycles. “SSD ‘wear’ used to be a very significant issue when they first emerged,” he told the BBC.
“Since then, manufacturers have made significant advances in reducing this and extending lifespans. “It would take a long while to wear out an SSD nowadays, but that doesn’t really excuse the Spotify bug!” The problem affected people using the app on Windows, Linux and Mac OS.
Spotify said: “We’ve seen some questions in our community around the amount of written data using the Spotify client on desktop. “These have been reviewed and any potential concerns have now been addressed in version 1.0.42, currently rolling out to all users.”