How to Connect Bluetooth Headphones to an Apple Watch

Control your music from your wrist

What to Know

  • Put headphones in pairing mode; swipe up on watch face > audio output > Connect a Device > device name.
  • Then, open an audio program on your Apple Watch (for example, Music) and press Play.
  • Normalize volume: tap Settings > Sounds & Haptics > Headphone Safety > Reduce Loud Sounds; tap switch.

This article explains how to use Bluetooth headphones with an Apple Watch and what to do if you can't hear music from paired headphones. Instructions apply to devices running watchOS 4 and later.

How to Use Bluetooth Headphones With Apple Watch

If you already know how to connect Bluetooth devices to your iPhone, the process on Apple Watch is similar. You'll do the whole thing on the watch. Follow these steps to get your devices communicating.

  1. Put your Bluetooth headphones into pairing mode according to the user instructions.

  2. From your watch face, swipe up to enter the Apple Watch Control Center.

  3. Scroll down and tap the audio output icon, which looks like a triangle with three concentric rings at its peak.

  4. Select Connect a device.

    The Audio Output icon and "Connect a Device" button on an Apple Watch
  5. Tap the name of your headphones.

  6. The device will get a Connected message underneath it.

  7. Return to the audio output menu from Control Center and tap the headphones' name to make them active.

    Pairing a set of Bluetooth headphones and making them the active audio output on an Apple Watch
  8. Open an audio program on your Apple Watch. Press Play (or the equivalent, depending on the app) when you find something to listen to, and the sound will come through your headphones.

    Don't start the audio from your iPhone. If you do, and your headphones aren't paired to it, it will only play out of those speakers instead.

What if I Can't Hear Music Through My Headphones?

If you're not hearing music, you may need to take another step, even after you pair your Bluetooth headphones with your Apple Watch. Take the following steps if you can't hear anything.

  1. Swipe up from the watch face to open Control Center.

  2. Select the headphone icon. It looks like an ear.

  3. Another menu will open that lets you adjust the headphones' volume. Turn this setting up if the audio is faint.

    Adjusting headphone volume on an Apple Watch

    This screen also includes a live decibel meter. If it regularly gets too high for safety, your Apple Watch may automatically adjust the volume to protect your hearing.

How to Reduce Loud Sounds on Apple Watch

The Apple Watch has another setting that helps you listen more safely. If you plan to listen to audio from your Apple Watch often, you should probably turn this feature on to be safe.

  1. Open Settings on your Apple Watch.

  2. Select Sounds & Haptics.

  3. Go to Headphone Safety.

    Settings, Sounds & Haptics, and Headphone Safety on an Apple Watch
  4. Choose Reduce Loud Sounds.

  5. Set the switch next to Reduce Loud Sounds to on/green.

    The Reduce Loud Sounds menu and switch in Apple Watch settings
  6. Your headphones won't output anything louder than 85 decibels when this feature is on, which is about as loud as traffic.

Troubleshooting Bluetooth Headphones and Apple Watch

Here are some typical questions and issues regarding pairing Bluetooth headphones with an Apple Watch.

Can I Pair any Bluetooth Headphones With Apple Watch?

You should be able to use any Bluetooth device with your Apple Watch, including headphones, headsets, earbuds, speakers, and fitness devices. You might have some problems with ancient Bluetooth accessories, but Apple designed its smartwatch to work with almost everything.

Why Won't My Bluetooth Headphones Connect to My Apple Watch?

If your watch connects to your phone but not an audio device, the accessory you're using may be incompatible, defective, or otherwise malfunctioning, and you should check a few things.

First, ensure the headphones have enough power to turn on. Then, check to see if you've successfully put them into pairing mode according to their instructions. Another thing to check is your headphones aren't currently paired to another device (like your iPhone).

Why Won't My Apple Watch Find Bluetooth Devices?

If your Apple Watch isn't finding any Bluetooth devices at all, including your phone, you'll have some troubleshooting to do. Some possible solutions include checking for software updates, rebooting one or all of the devices you're trying to pair, and clearing network settings.

  • How do I connect AirPods to an Apple Watch?

    To connect AirPods to an Apple Watch, ensure your AirPods are paired with your iPhone. Then, open Control Center on your Apple Watch and tap the Audio Output icon. Finally, tap AirPods to set the Apple Watch's audio to output to the AirPods.

  • How do I connect an Apple Watch to a Peloton?

    On your iPhone, launch the Watch app, tap My Watch, scroll down and tap Workout, and then turn on Detect Gym Equipment. On the Peloton Bike+ app, select a ride and press Start. Next, hold your Apple Watch near the Peleton's screen; tap Connect on the Watch and tap Start on the Bike+ app.

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