Tips on how to play music in your smartwatch

For lots of people, music is an integral a part of figuring out. However not everybody desires to schlep their cellphone round whereas hitting the paths or working up a sweat. That’s the place smartwatches can are available fairly helpful. Whereas practically each smartwatch allows you to management music in your cellphone, a great quantity may also play music on-device.

Whether or not it’s an Apple Watch, Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, Garmin, Fitbit or Put on OS watch, you’ve bought a number of choices for listening to music. A lot of it’s going to depend upon which service is supported and what OS your watch runs on. Some can have choices for offline playback, both by way of downloadable playlists or onboard music storage. In case your smartwatch has LTE, you might also have the ability to stream music on to your wrist.

Understand that you’ll possible want a pair of Bluetooth headphones, as not each smartwatch has a speaker. Additionally, if you wish to obtain playlists for offline playback, you’ll virtually definitely want a subscription to the music service of your selection. That’s to not say you may’t take heed to music without cost. You possibly can, however your phone-free choices can be far more restricted. 

Right here’s a breakdown of the foremost gamers by platform, and tips on how to begin listening.

A new Apple Watch watch face

The Apple Watch has a number of third-party music app choices as nicely.
Picture by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

Apple Watch

First, you’ll wish to be sure you have an Apple Watch Collection 3 or later, operating the newest potential model of watchOS. Whilst you can take heed to music on the Collection 2, you may’t set up the newest OS variations on it; Apple stopped assist with watchOS 7. Additionally, the Collection 2 can also be 5 years outdated so that you’re not more likely to have a great expertise. You possibly can verify if you happen to’re updated on watchOS by heading to the Watch app in your iPhone, deciding on Common, after which Software program Replace. 

The best option to stream music on the Apple Watch is with, you guessed it, Apple Music. Not solely is it preinstalled onto the watch, however when you have an LTE watch with an Apple Music subscription you may stream straight to the wrist. All you need to do is ask Siri to play an artist or music title. It’s also possible to browse your library instantly from the Music app on the watch. When you don’t have an LTE watch, you might have the choice to obtain playlists for offline playback.

It’s also possible to hop into the Watch app in your cellphone, scroll right down to the Music app menu, and from there you may load your playlists and albums. This may be a neater possibility if you happen to like setting issues up on a bigger display screen.

As well as, Apple has a ton of third-party apps in case you already subscribe to a unique service. After years of buyer complaints, Spotify has now added assist for offline playlists and downloads on the Apple Watch. All you need to do is go to the watch’s on-wrist App Retailer, obtain the Spotify app, and log in. Spotify additionally works with Siri so long as you add “on Spotify” to the top of your request.

Whereas Apple Music and Spotify are the 2 commonest music apps for the Apple Watch, there are many different choices. Pandora and Deezer additionally assist offline playlists. There are additionally apps like TuneIn and iHeart Radio if you happen to desire radio. Overcast, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts are additionally good choices if you happen to’d moderately take heed to podcasts. 

Simply bear in mind that not all third-party Apple Watch apps are created equally. Whereas some work flawlessly, others haven’t been particularly optimized for a great watch expertise. Additionally, not each app will assist offline playback, and people who do usually require subscriptions.

Most of the pre-installed apps on the Galaxy Watch 4 come from Samsung.

The Galaxy Watch 4 Basic offers you entry to the Google Play Retailer.
Picture by Dieter Bohn / The Verge

Samsung Galaxy Watches

When you have Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 4 or Watch 4 Basic, you may simply skip right down to the Put on OS part under. The method is slightly totally different if you happen to’re nonetheless on a Tizen OS watch.

Spotify was one of many few associate apps out there on Tizen watches, however it’s been some time because it’s been up to date. (And it possible gained’t get up to date, provided that Samsung has gone all-in on Put on OS.) Customers have complained on boards a few degraded expertise, so we don’t suggest utilizing the app. 

Lots of Samsung’s older Tizen watches — the Galaxy Watch 3, Galaxy Watch Lively and Lively 2, and the Galaxy Watch, for instance — have onboard storage so you may instantly load music information onto them. 

How Android customers can add music through the Galaxy Wearable app:

  • Load the songs you need onto your cellphone
  • Hit Watch settings after which Handle content material or Add content material to your watch
  • Faucet Add tracks
  • Choose the information you need, or hit All within the higher left nook.
  • When you hit Carried out you may play music in your watch through the Music app.

iOS customers must have an iPhone 6 or later operating a minimum of iOS 12: 

  • Load the songs you need onto your cellphone
  • Open the Galaxy Watch app 
  • Navigate to the House tab within the backside left
  • Choose Add content material to your watch

Samsung helps MP3, M4A, AAC, OGG, and WMA information. Nevertheless, you may’t export music from streaming companies like Spotify or Google Play, which use encrypted information.

The Fossil Gen 6 is a large watch, but looks good on my wrist

Fossil’s Gen 6 smartwatch runs Put on OS 2, which has barely extra restricted music choices.
Picture by Dieter Bohn / The Verge

Put on OS watches

When you’ve bought a Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 or Watch 4 Basic, this can be simple. These watches are the primary (and for now, solely) watches to run Put on OS 3. Which means they’ve bought the Google Play Retailer proper out the field. 

Proper now your finest app decisions are Spotify and YouTube Music, each of which assist offline playback. (Although you do have to be a paying subscriber.) Android customers may also observe the steps outlined within the earlier part to bodily load music onto the watch. The Galaxy Watch 4 and Watch 4 Basic don’t, nonetheless, assist iOS.

Proper now, non-Samsung Put on OS watches run Put on OS 2. It’ll keep that method till we get a brand new batch of Put on OS watches or Google lastly releases the replace someday later this yr.

For some time, Put on OS 2 customers didn’t actually have any good choices for listening to music after Google shuttered Google Play Music. That’s now not the case. The Spotify app now helps streaming and offline playlists for Put on OS 2 watches as nicely. Google’s additionally lastly introduced YouTube Music to Put on OS 2. Understand that you’ll want a subscription and you’ll solely have offline downloads — no streaming. 

  • Navigate to the Google Play Retailer
  • Obtain YouTube Music onto your watch
  • Sign up to your YouTube Music account
  • Faucet the music or playlist you wish to obtain
  • Hit the obtain icon
Spotify, Deezer, and Pandora are some of the major music services on Fitbit smartwatches.

Spotify, Deezer, and Pandora are a few of the main music companies on Fitbit smartwatches.
Picture by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge


By far the simplest option to take heed to music on a Fitbit smartwatch is to make use of Spotify, Deezer, or Pandora. 

The Spotify app is extra of a music management app. It doesn’t assist offline playback, so your cellphone must be close by with the Fitbit app operating within the background and related to the web. You additionally want a Spotify Premium account.

Pandora and Deezer come preloaded on the Fitbit Ionic (which was just lately recalled), Sense, and Versa sequence (excluding the Versa Lite). You might want to have a paid subscription to both service, in addition to a Wi-Fi connection. Deezer customers can obtain their playlists, whereas Pandora customers can obtain their most-played stations or widespread curated Exercise stations.

It’s also possible to use the Fitbit Join app to switch your personal information onto your machine (the one exceptions are the Fitbit Sense, Versa Lite Version, and Versa 3). The app is free to obtain right here — simply scroll all the way in which right down to the underside of the web page. 

Truthful warning: this can be a tedious course of that Fitbit outlined right here beneath the “How do I obtain playlists to my Fitbit watch?” part. When you develop that part, scroll right down to the Mac or Home windows drop-down menus to see step-by-step directions.

The Garmin Fenix 7S on top of a book and next to coffee.

You possibly can load music from the Join IQ retailer, or through the Garmin Categorical app.
Picture by Victoria Track / The Verge


Proper now, Garmin helps 4 main music streaming companies: Spotify, Amazon Music, Deezer, and iHeartRadio. You possibly can obtain all of the apps through the Join IQ retailer. (Once more, you’ll must have a subscription.) However when you’ve downloaded the app in query, navigate to your watch’s music/media widget. From there you may choose your service of selection and also you’ll be prompted to log in to your account. As soon as that’s carried out, you may start syncing your music and playlists. 

Nearly all of Garmin watches include music storage; you may take a look at the record right here. However as with Fitbits, loading your private libraries onto the watch generally is a tedious course of. You’ll should obtain the Garmin Categorical app onto your laptop and from there, observe Garmin’s detailed step-by-step directions for each Mac and Home windows customers on tips on how to handle your music and audio information. 

Correction, March 9, 2022, 9:30AM ET: A earlier model of this text incorrectly acknowledged Spotify offline playlists and streaming wasn’t out there for Put on OS 2. We remorse the error.

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