How to Listen to Apple Watch Podcasts Without an iPhone

Away from your phone? Catch a podcast anyway

Between Apple Podcasts and third-party developers, there are several Apple Watch podcast apps. Here's how to download and listen to podcasts on an Apple Watch without your iPhone nearby.

To listen to podcasts on Apple Watch without an iPhone, you need an Apple Watch Series 3 or newer running watchOS 5 (or later).

How to Use Apple Podcasts on the Apple Watch

The Apple Podcast app is capable of playing and downloading episodes directly to the watch app.

  1. On your iPhone, navigate to Settings > Podcasts and turn on Sync Podcasts

  2. Open the Apple Watch app. Go to the My Watch tab and select Podcasts.

  3. Select Custom under Add Episodes From.

  4. Tap the toggle switch for the show(s) that you want to sync with your watch.

    If you can't find a show, open the Podcasts app, search for it, and select Subscribe.

  5. Open the Podcasts app on your Apple Watch, turn the Digital Crown to scroll through options, then tap a podcast to start playing it.

    Apple automatically removes episodes from the Apple Watch after you listen to them.

Downloading New Apple Watch Podcast Episodes

When you charge your Apple Watch, podcasts that you subscribe to will sync to your smartwatch automatically. You can also sync podcasts manually. As long as your watch is connected to a Wi-Fi network, it can stream and download episodes without your iPhone.

Downloading podcasts over Bluetooth to the Apple Watch consumes a lot of battery power, so make sure to keep it charged.

How to Use MiniCast for Apple Podcasts

MiniCast is an app designed to get podcasts directly onto the Apple Watch. Once you've purchased the MiniCast app, you’ll want to make sure it shows up on your Apple Watch. If it doesn't, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.

  2. Scroll down to MiniCast and select MiniCast.

  3. Swipe the Display on Apple Watch toggle to enable it.

  4. Open the MiniCast watch app again. Select the episode to download it to the watch’s internal storage.

    This part can take a while, but it will allow you to pair Bluetooth headphones directly to your watch and leave your phone behind.

How to Use Workouts++ for Apple Podcasts

If you don’t see the Workouts++ app appear on your Apple Watch after downloading it on your iPhone, you can add it using the Apple Watch app for iPhone. 

  1. In the Workouts++ app on your iPhone, select Podcasts in the lower menu, then select the Plus (+) in the top-left corner.

  2. Search for the desired podcast. Once you add one or more podcast subscriptions, you’ll be able to stream them directly from the watch app.

  3. To download episodes to the watch app, select an episode to begin the download and transfer process.

  4. Open the Workouts++ watch app to see your podcast episodes. Slide the screen to the left to see available episodes, then select an episode to listen to it.