How to Play Music on Your Apple Watch

Listen to some tunes whether or not you have your iPhone

After you purchase an Apple Watch, you'll naturally want to make sure you're getting the most out of your device. That means getting a handle on the smartwatch's top features — from fitness-tracking to your favorite podcasts to a wide selection of apps — and learning to customize the wearable to your liking so its functionality aligns with your needs.

If you like to listen to music on the go, whether you're simply commuting or you're out on a run around the neighborhood, you'll want to configure your Apple Watch to play music. Luckily, doing so isn't difficult. Here's a guide to get you up and running with music on your smartwatch, including a look at some of the apps you might want to consider downloading to enjoy the playback of your favorite tunes.

There are two ways to listen to music on your Apple Watch. You can play music from your iPhone when it's paired with your watch, or you can sync music to your watch and play it back right from your wrist.

How to Use Apple Watch to See What's Playing on an iPhone

Like most smartwatches, the Apple Watch offers significantly more functionality when paired with your iPhone via Bluetooth. Once you've paired the two gadgets, follow these steps to view what's currently playing from your iPhone and control things.

Playback will be happening on your phone rather than your watch, so you'll need headphones plugged into your phone rather than a Bluetooth set paired with your Apple Watch. However, you can control the music playback directly from the watch; no need to take out your phone.

  1. Open the Music app from your Apple Watch's home screen.

  2. Scroll up to choose your iPhone as the source to play music from, then tap Now Playing. This will let you view what's currently playing on your iPhone, and you can then choose to change things up if you like.

    Now Playing on Apple Watch
  3. At this point, you have a variety of options for controlling playback from your iPhone—the one you'll choose depends on the music service you prefer to use. Do you use Apple Music? You can tap Quick Play to pull up a random selection of songs from this service's recommendations for you. You could also listen to the Beats 1 radio station.

  4. If you're not a big Apple Music user, you can instead tap My Music to see your music library, then choose what you'd like to listen to by artist, song, or album. 

    You can also use Siri (provided voice commands are enabled on your watch) to quickly control music playback. Siri will search for music that fits your query on both your iPhone and Apple Watch.

How to Add Music to Apple Watch

If you're using your Apple Watch as a standalone device, you can use the wearable as a media player. Just keep in mind since there's no headphone jack on the Apple Watch you'll need a set of Bluetooth headphones to listen to music playing from the smartwatch.

To get a selection of your favorite music ready to go and synced to your Apple Watch for local playback, you'll need to make a playlist on your iPhone first.

Listening to Music From Your Apple Watch

Once you've created a playlist, you need to sync it to your Apple Watch so you can play it directly from your wrist. Here's how to do that:

  1. Make sure your Apple Watch is charging after you set it on its charger.

  2. Make sure Bluetooth is enabled on your iPhone.

  3. Go to the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, then tap My Watch > Music.

  4. Under Playlists & Albums, tap Add Music, then choose the albums or playlists you want to sync to your watch.

    Add Music to Apple Watch from iPhone
  5. Once the sync is completed, you can listen to the playlist directly from your Apple Watch. 

  6. You can tap Now Playing if you already have some music cued up to play or pause the track; you can tap My Music to browse your available tracks, or you can tap Playlists to bring up a playlist you've synced with the device.