Adding and playing music directly from your Apple Watch to a pair of wireless headphones is one of the most opaque processes ever created, but it is possible. What’s more, with the launch of Apple Music, the Apple Watch is the only wearable that can benefit from streaming, offering an alternative to old-fashioned MP3s.
Do everything: The complete Apple Watch guide
We’ve created the ultimate guide to getting music on your Apple Watch for wireless workouts and beats on the bus. And trust us, you’ll need it.
Read below for how to get tracks on your Apple Watch.
Fire up Apple Music
To get started, fire up the Apple Music app on your iPhone. We won’t go through the ins and outs of the app here, but you can search the library of 30 million tracks and curated playlists. If you don’t have a subscription to Apple Music, you can still use good old MP3s, but make sure they appear in the Apple Music app through iTunes.
Create a playlist
Head to the My Music Playlists tab and create a new one. Music can only be added to the Apple Watch if it’s contained in a playlist, so you can make a singular generic one, or have a playlist per album. It’s totally up to you, but you can only sync one playlist at any given time. Create the playlist, then go add some music to it.
Head to the Apple Watch app
Head over to the Apple Watch app on your iPhone and then go to the Music tab. Tap Synced Playlist to see a list of addable music.
Sync it up
Choose your playlist from the list and it will start to sync. The music will only be transferred when the Apple Watch is on its charging cradle. Why? We have no idea. The playlist will be marked ‘sync pending’ until it’s completed, after which it will say ‘synced’.
Progress is stuck at 99% or ‘pending’
Transferring music takes an absolute age, so don’t do it in your running shorts before you’re set to hit the road. Our progress shot up to 99% within 5 minutes, and then got stuck for half an hour, which had us Googling for an answer. When we returned later, the music was synced, so our advice is to do it overnight. Yes, it is 2016.
Connect up your Bluetooth headset
You’ve transferred your playlist and you can see it on the watch but NOT SO FAST. There’s a couple of steps left to go. First, hook up a pair of wireless headphones. Head to the Settings app on your Watch, go to Bluetooth and pair it as normal.
Browse the Apple Watch Music app
Now you can go and play music on your Apple Watch. Tap the Music icon on the apps screen. You’ll see all your synced music, ready to play. We live in truly incredible times – but of course, there’s STILL one more important thing…
Change the source
If you try and play a track, it will come out of your iPhone speakers. So close yet so far! This took us AGES to fathom out, but you need to long press on the Music screen, tap Source and choose Watch.
Get on up to get down
Now my friend, you can play music on your Apple Watch, totally untethered from your iPhone. Go free.