What is Smart Downloads?
Smart Downloads (SDL) is a feature that automatically downloads your favorite music to your phone, so it’s ready on your device for offline listening whenever you want it.
SDL takes into account your listening habits, history, favorites, and recent activity to determine the music you like the most. The more you listen, add, and favorite, the better your Smart Downloads will be.
Who is it for?
ARC users who:
Have local files
Want to let ARC handle your download logistics
Go offline often
Want to save data by listening to downloaded files
Want to easily download their entire library
Smart Downloads is only available for ARC users who have local files on their Roon Server. Due to licensing restrictions ARC does not allow for downloading music from streaming partners.
Enabling Smart Downloads
In order to enable Smart Downloads, ensure that you:
Have more than 20% charge on your phone
Are on WiFi
Have ARC open and your phone unlocked
To enable Smart Downloads, go to the downloads browser and navigate to the SDL page.
From there, you can enable SDL by selecting the chunky enable button in the top box.
Once it’s on, you can toggle it on or off via the switch in the top right.
Smart Downloads Page
The Smart Downloads page is broken up into three sections.
Here's what they mean:
This section tells you the status of your Smart Downloads. Once enabled, there are four statuses:
All Set - SDL is enabled and activated
Downloading - SDL are actively downloading
Paused - SDL is paused. Normal downloads can still continue
Disabled - SDL is not on
This section shows you how much storage you’ve allotted to smart downloads. You can move the slider to set the amount of storage space you’ll give smart downloads.
So you gave SDL some space. Now, in order to know how much music this is, you must take into account the quality setting below. 5GB at CD quality is much less than 5GB at bandwidth optimized. The blurbs in this section use help put these values into more relatable terms, we think!
SDL supports multiple download quality settings, ranging from quality-hungry original format to economical bandwidth-optimized. The settings are identical to those in the “streaming quality” section.
This slider affects the quality of all downloads in ARC, smart or manual. In other words, if you adjust this setting to “bandwidth optimized” and download your whole library elsewhere, it will be downloaded in bandwidth optimized. Conversely, if you go to settings and adjust your download quality setting to “CD Quality” your new Smart Downloads will now be in CD Quality. Both points of access control the same underlying setting.
On the downloads browser, you will see Smart Downloads items demarcated by the SDL icon (magenta lightning bolt). Be on the lookout for this, whenever you see it, this item is a smart download. Manual downloads will still have the normal purple checkmark. When Smart Downloads are active, the SDL icon will light up and pulse 👀
On the downloads browser, you will see a filter section in the top left, you can use this to filter by:
Your downloads (manual downloads)
Do Smart Downloads work in the background?
Android: On Android devices, SDL operates seamlessly in the background, allowing you to use your device without interrupting the download process.
iOS: Due to iOS's unique handling of background tasks, SDL operates at a reduced speed when ARC is not in the foreground.
Are my Smart Downloads static? Does it swap things out?
Smart Downloads are ephemeral. SDLs takes the space you give it and fills it in with your favorite music, so it’s there when you need it. As your listening patterns change, SDL may remove or add content to ensure it’s constantly fresh and interesting to you. As you add, favorite, listen or remove music from your library—SDL’s concept of “your favorite music” is constantly evolving.
SDL downloaded some good stuff. How can I keep it? Actually… how can I remove it?
If you want save a smart downloaded item, you can “keep” it. This essentially elevates the downloaded thing to a “normal” download, which won’t get deleted willy-nilly. To “keep” an item, just click on the download icon to open the download-specific menu. From there you can select “keep in downloads.”
Conversely, removing things you don’t like will only help SDL to get better at knowing your taste. Within that same menu you can also select “remove smart download.”
If downloads have been globally paused, SDL are paused as well. However, if you have paused SDL, that only affects SDL. Manual downloads can still come through.
When does SDL rotate content?
Smart Downloads checks for new content from your Roon Server frequently. If there are enough valuable things on the Server side, Smart Downloads will rotate your downloads. Depending on storage availability, this may mean removing things you might not like (e.g. things you didn’t listen to) and adding things you might like (e.g. a recently added album).
The best way to ensure you have everything you like is to favorite, play, or “keep” downloads you want to save.
Please note that if you’ve already downloaded all of your available content via SDL, there will be no rotation as there’s nothing to rotate in.
What happens when I disable Smart Downloads?
Disabling Smart Downloads both turns off the feature and deletes any existing SDL content. If you have SDL content you’d like to keep, be sure to “keep” your downloads before you disable the feature.
Why isn’t Smart Downloads starting?
As a first port of call, ensure that you:
Are on WiFi
Have SDL enabled
Have local files eligible for download
Have more than 20% battery
If it is not starting, ask these additional questions:
If you determine that SDL, despite having the right conditions, is not fetching your music, try these fixes:
Even when it’s enabled, SDL shouldn’t be running all the time. Sometimes it may determine there’s nothing valuable enough to download or it may be between checks with the Roon Server.
I want downloads… but less smart
ARC also offers plain old regular downloads. You can download things one at a time via the context menu on an album or a playlist, or you can download a big list of things all at once via the “download all” function in the context menu.
Having trouble with SDL? Get in touch with our Technical Support over on the Roon Community
The team at Roon Labs