In short, yes! You can play music on an Apple Watch. The Apple Watch is great for listening to music; it’s a convenient and simple device that is always in reach, right on your wrist.

Having an Apple Watch will enable you to listen to both your own collection of music, as well as music provided by streaming services such as Spotify, Pandora, or Apple’s own music and radio apps.

You can even choose from the many podcasts and other news and information services to provide audio for your Apple Watch.

When it comes to playing music, there are two important factors:

  1. Whether you have a GPS model or a Cellular model
  2. Whether you have your phone with you or not

In our recent article; Apple Watch Cellular vs. GPS: What’s The Difference we established a general rule: cellular Apple Watches can be used for calls, messages and data without having your iPhone nearby, the GPS model has all the same functionality as the cellular model but must have the iPhone nearby and connected.

When it comes to playing music, this is still a big factor. If you have a GPS model you’ll have to have your phone nearby or be connected to wifi in order to stream music. If you have a cellular model, you won’t need this type of connection because your watch can connect to the internet as standard without the need of a wifi network or your phone. There is one exception which we discuss later on – storing music on your phone.

Playing Music: Your Own Playlist

You have the ability to sync your own playlist directly to the Apple Watch, so you can listen to music without the need to carry your iPhone wherever you go. All series of the Apple Watch are able to be used to playback playlists created on an iPhone. The only proviso for this is that the Apple Watch be running watchOS4.1 or later releases of watchOS.

It does this by using in-built memory to store your playlists so therefore doesn’t require an internet connection in order to stream the music which is why this method works perfectly fine on both GPS and Cellular Models.

In addition to those features, any Apple Watch Series 3 onwards can also sync any music you have stored on iCloud, and indeed directly stream music from your cloud if you’re connected to the internet. Newer Apple Watches are also able to use the Apple Radio service.

Storing Music on Your Apple Watch

You are able to store 2GB of music directly on the Apple Watch; this is useful if you wish to listen to music away from your iPhone. To enable this you will need to sync a suitably small playlist to your Apple Watch. The 2GB of storage still enables around 500 songs to be kept on the device. You will need to choose the source of music played within the Music app. This lets you select from either the iPhone or the Apple Watch as the chosen source.

There are many apps that can be used to listen to music on your Apple Watch – both official and 3rd party. Some 3rd party apps that were originally released on the iPhone have not had Apple Watch updates and their success may be limited. But from mainstream sources, there are a good range of apps, paid and unpaid that give excellent access to music on your Apple Watch.

Playing Music: Using The Apple Music Service on your Apple Watch

If you have a subscription to the Apple Music service you will be able to ask Siri to play tracks from Apple’s extensive music collection. You can control everything, like play, pause and volume from the music player on your Apple Watch, but remember you’ll have to have an active connection to the internet, so you’ll have to have your iPhone nearby for GPS watches or have a cellular model.

Siri is able to play albums, or tracks by one artist only, or even by music type. Like “Hi Siri, play soul music” If you wish to stop playing music, or pause the track Siri will help you.

To actually listen to any music from your Apple Watch, you will need to pair it with a set of Bluetooth compliant ear-buds or headphones. To accomplish this set your Bluetooth headphones to pairing mode first. Then on your Apple Watch, select settings and then select Bluetooth. Your headphones should be listed there now. Select your headphones and leave settings.