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Key Points:

  • Since the Apple Watch comes with 16 GB of memory, you can download music onto your Apple Watch without an iPhone, but the speaker isn’t loud enough to enjoy it.
  • One can add music to the Apple Watch from Apple Music, Pandora, Spotify, and more, with a few simple steps.
  • The best way to hear music on your Apple Watch is to pair your watch with Air Pods or headphones using Bluetooth.

Since the day the Apple Watch was first released to the public on April 24, 2015, it has helped revolutionize not only the wearable industry but also how we listen to music. Whether it’s for fitness, fashion, or fun, the Apple Watch is more than just a device to quickly read important emails and messages or make quick payments to Starbucks. Not to mention the health benefits of the Apple Watch like heart rate monitoring, fall detection, or ECG.

There is also one more benefit many Apple users are likely unaware of and that’s being able to play music directly from the watch. It’s likely safe to say that many Apple Watch owners only consider playing music with their iPhones. However, did you know that you can in fact play music from your watch without your iPhone? Well, sort of, let’s take a deeper dive into what’s actually possible with the Apple Watch as far as streaming music.

Can You Play Music Directly from the Apple Watch?

Using Apple Watch Speakers

This is a question Apple Watch owners have been asking from the very moment the Apple Watch was released. The reality is that even if you could play downloaded or stream music directly from the Apple Watch, you wouldn’t want to. The built-in speaker on the Apple Watch is great for taking quick phone calls but it’s hardly loud enough to properly enjoy music. Apple takes music very seriously and they wouldn’t want their customers to have a sub-par experience with the Apple Watch.

apple watch se vs series 3
While you can download and play music directly from your Apple Watch, it isn’t loud enough to enjoy.

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Without an iPhone

So while the answer to the question of playing music directly from the Apple Watch is no, that’s not the whole story. What you can do is listen to music from your watch without the need for an iPhone. As all modern Apple Watch models include at least 16GB of internal storage, there is plenty of onboard memory to download a good-sized selection of songs. In fact, that’s more than enough storage to download a few hours’ worth of music directly to the watch memory. Doing this is actually quite easy and you can have music on your Apple Watch in just a few minutes.

How to Add Music to Your Apple Watch

Getting started with adding music to your Apple Watch is very simple. This whole process shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes regardless of whether you are using Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, etc.

Apple Music

1. Begin by opening the Apple Watch app on your iPhone and going to the “My Watch” tab. Tap on “Add Music” and you’ll jump over to Apple Music where you can add a playlist, album, compilation, etc.

The Music option is found in the Apple Watch App.

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2. Once you’ve chosen the playlist, etc., hit the plus symbol at the very top right of the screen to start adding music. Each playlist or compilation will show a status bar as its syncing to the Apple Watch. Quick note that in order to properly sync your music, your Apple Watch needs to be on a charger.

Find the plus sign at the top right of the screen.

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Spotify

Listening to music from Spotify on your Apple Watch is also possible, you just handle it a little differently than Apple Music. In this case, you’ll need the Spotify app installed on both the Apple Watch and your iPhone plus a Premium subscription.

1. To download tracks or playlists directly to your watch, swipe right while you are on the Apple Watch home screen, find the playlist you’d like to download, and hit the download arrow.

Find the playlist you want to download.

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2. Note that Spotify only allows up to 100 downloads per playlist and caps the total amount of downloads at up to ten hours depending on which Apple Watch you own.

Download music with Spotify.

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Other Music Apps

Rest assured that Apple Music and Spotify are not the only two music streaming services that let you listen to your music through the Apple Watch. Pandora, iHeartRadio, Radio.FM, TIDAL and so many more all allow both streaming and offline listening through the Apple Watch without the need for an iPhone. For streaming, the only requirement is that you have a cellular-compatible Apple Watch otherwise downloading songs is the way to listen.

Connect to Apple Watch Through Bluetooth

Pairing Bluetooth headphones to your Apple Watch is the easiest way you’ll be able to stream music or listen to downloaded songs offline.

1. Start by putting your Bluetooth headphones in their pairing mode. For AirPods, this might be just holding them near the Apple Watch or holding a button on non-AirPod models to start their pairing mode.

2. On the Apple Watch, go to Settings > Bluetooth and your Apple Watch will begin searching for any nearby Bluetooth headphones.

If you go to Bluetooth on the Apple watch, it will start searching for nearby Bluetooth headphones.

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3. Choose the Bluetooth headphones once you see them listed on the watch and if necessary, enter a pin if prompted.

Find your headphones on the list.

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4. You’ll use the same steps if you want to connect a Bluetooth-compatible portable speaker. Just choose the speaker instead of a headphone name in the list of available Bluetooth devices.

How Do I Stream Music Through the Apple Watch?

Using the steps above to connect a Bluetooth headphone or connecting to Bluetooth speakers, you can easily stream music through the Apple Watch. The only caveat is that you have a cellular model of the Apple Watch and are connected through a live cellular connection.

It’s worth noting that for Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, etc. none of the Apple Watch apps are as fully featured so you won’t have the entirety of the music catalog available. Instead, you’re going to have better luck with recent playlists, tracks, or albums.

Up Next…

Find information on your favorite Apple products and more!

Can the Apple Watch Stream Music? FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Do you need to update WatchOS prior to attempting to download music or connecting through Bluetooth?

No, you don’t have to worry about updating as this functionality is already enabled within your Apple Watch’s default operating system. However, it’s always good to have the latest updates!

Can I follow the same steps for listening to podcasts through streaming or offline?

Yes, absolutely. Streaming a podcast still follows the same requirement of having a cellular-enabled Apple Watch or downloading for offline listening on any Apple Watch model.

Can I listen to music directly from my Apple Watch?

Unfortunately, the Apple Watch speaker wasn’t designed with music listening in mind so it won’t provide a great experience. It’s good enough to work with Siri or take a quick phone call but anything beyond that wouldn’t be an ideal use case.

Are there any Apple Watch models these steps will not work with?

All of the above steps are going to work for any Apple Watch model as features like Bluetooth and internal storage were already enabled on the first Apple Watch. The biggest difference is simply going to be how much internal memory the Apple Watch has available for downloaded music.

Can I keep my AirPods connected to both my iPhone and Apple Watch at the same time?

Yes, that’s the beauty of using AirPods with Apple devices as they can be simultaneously connected to both your iPhone and watch at the same time.

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More from History-Computer

  • Apple Watch User Guide Available here: https://support.apple.com/guide/watch/play-music-apd70768b20b/watchos
  • PCMag Available here: https://www.pcmag.com/how-to/listen-to-music-on-your-apple-watch
  • Wareable Available here: https://www.wareable.com/apple/how-to-add-apple-music-tracks-to-the-apple-watch
  • Alphr Available here: https://www.alphr.com/play-music-apple-watch/
  • Spotify Available here: https://support.spotify.com/uk/article/spotify-on-apple-watch/