I like to extract playlist information (i.e. path and filenames) I've created on Android's builtin MP3-player, to copy it with the MP3 files to a bigger SDHC card. Playlist information is lost when doing this:

  • Removing the SDHC memory card (after turning off the device), and re-insert it later, causes the MP3-player to forget all files in the playlists which I have created. This is especially annoying if you want to replace the SDHC card by a bigger one and want to backup all files including playlists from the old one

Hence I am looking for a way to backup the playlists or at least their content (i.e. path filename etc).

More information:

The phone has a playlist folder, containing the Playlists, when I use a USB cable to connect it to the PC, I can see them (*.pla files) but they have 0 bytes and cannot be copied. Also, if I connect the SDHC card via cardreader, the files aren't useful.

Samsung Kies also did not work for me, it does not seem to support the playlists created on the phone.

I found this interesting question, which explains that Android stores playlists in SqlLite databases, but unfortunately, on my Samsung phone I could not find the database file (although there is a folder Computer\GT-I8190\Phone\Android\data\com.google.android.music which should contain it, but no databases subdirectory and no database files).

N.B.: The smarthphone is able to read and import *.m3u playlists (via the player's "Music Square" menu - context menu "Library update"), but cannot modify them (if you add titles, they will only be available in the smartphone, the *.m3u file isn't changed).

To summarize my question (one of the options below would help me):

  • Do you know how I can backup the playlists on the phone and then extract the file/path info contained in them in Windows?
    Phone Playlist -> Windows PC -> Extract Path/Filename to text file

  • Or do you know if there is a tool available (for Android, or for Windows reading it from the mobile phone) converting the playlists into a compatible text format (like .m3u playlists)?
    Phone Playlist -> M3U file

    (Note: The other way round it is possible, as this forum post explains). Here's an example of a M3U file, note that relative paths are allowed as well:

    #EXTINF:123, Sample artist - Sample title

Your help is much appreciated!

  • Andrew's answer of Dec 14 works very well for list that use the standard Android db. I had to recreate my Amazon and Google music list using Music Player. Then used PlaylistSync to backup the list to my Google drive. Now for the first time I feel like I have recreated my playlist for the last time. – BroPage Oct 28 '18 at 16:10

It seems that Android built-in music player cannot export playlist. One of the solution I could think of is to use 3rd-party app to export it, such as Playlist Backup (free)


This application allows you to export your audio playlists (both System, Poweramp and Google Play Music playlists) to sdcard or Dropbox. You can keep as many backups as you want for each playlist. [...]

Export your Audio Playlists as M3U files on your SDCARD and keep them safe. [...]

Main Features:

  • Export system playlists to sdcard
  • Export Poweramp playlists to sdcard
  • Import M3U files to your system playlists
  • Delete duplicate entries from your playlists
  • Keep your Android Playlists in sync with Poweramp Playlists

The procedure is straightforward:

  1. Open the app
  2. Select the playlist type (System playlist, Poweramp playlist, or Play Music playlist)
  3. Tick the playlist you want to backup
  4. Tap Backup Selected to backup to SD card
  5. A dialog will appear to tell the status of the backup, and where they are stored
  • App no longer available. I found an apk mirror with the last version, it recognizes the playlists but can't export them. For now, I can't find any alternative nor I'm able to find the .db file that contains the playlists... :( – brasofilo Sep 2 '18 at 13:53
  • @brasofilo - For an unknown reason it disappeared from Google Playstore. But I found PlaylistSync instead, havent tested it yet but you may try that. – Matt Sep 5 '18 at 6:51

Playlists are stored in a SQLite database in /data/data/com.android.providers.media/databases/external.db.

I've made a Python script to convert the audio playlist from this database to M3U, it's called m3truid. You need a PC and ADB enabled.

Not as nice as an Android app but especially useful when your screen is dead.

  • Are you still able to access this .db file? – brasofilo Sep 2 '18 at 16:14

There was no answer provided yet, so here's what I found out by myself so far. It is rather an idea how it could be solved.

The solution is to write an Android player app, which has access to the playlist database through the Android API. This app can read the properties of the playlist and save path, filename, title artist etc into a text file, preferrably M3U format.

At AndroidHive.info I found the source code for an android MP3 player, not including the feature mentioned above. But I am sure it can be implemented with some effort.

Update: Andrew has kindly provided an answer, which directly solves the issue. However, I keep this answer in case someone likes to develop a player on his/her own which will include a playlist import/export. Just use the link above which will take you to the source code.

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