Galaxy S23 Ultra First Look After Layoffs, Meta Focuses on 'Efficiency' Everything Samsung Revealed at Unpacked 'Angel Wings' for Satellites 'Shot on a Galaxy S23' GABA and Great Sleep Netflix's Password-Sharing Crackdown 12 Best Cardio Workouts
Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?
No, thank you

How to play music on your Apple Watch without your iPhone

With a pair of Bluetooth headphones, you can rock out and leave your iPhone at home.


The next time you want to go for a run -- or just a walk -- you can leave your iPhone behind and bust a move with your Apple Watch. All that's required is a pair of Bluetooth headphones and a little upfront work.

Step 1: Sync a playlist

Unlike your iPhone, your Apple Watch can't stream music from the internet, so you'll need to download music to the watch. To do so, grab your iPhone and open the Watch app. Next, tap Music from the list of apps and then tap Synced Music. From this screen, you can pick a single playlist to sync to your Apple Watch.

Screenshots by Matt Elliott/CNET

Two things need to be in place for the sync to happen -- Bluetooth needs to be turned on on your iPhone, and your Apple Watch needs to be on its charger. Also, you'll need to exercise patience; even short playlists took a while to sync to my Apple Watch.

Side note: You can set a limit for music storage on your Apple Watch using the Watch app on your iPhone. Under the Synced Music option in the Music section, you can choose between 100MB and 2GB (about 15 to 250 songs).

Step 2: Pair headphones to your Apple Watch

To pair your Bluetooth headphones, put them into pairing mode and then grab your Watch and go to Settings > Bluetooth. It should see your headphones and show them under Devices. When it does, tap on your headphones to pair the two. (Apple's AirPods or another set of headphones with Apple's W1 chip, such as BeatsX, will pair automatically with the Apple Watch if the headphones are already paired with your iPhone.)

Step 3: Let the music play

With your playlist synced and your headphones paired, tap to open the Music app on your Apple Watch. Swipe down to reveal the menu that lets you choose a music source and tap the icon for the Apple Watch. Next, scroll down and tap Playlists and you'll see one playlist listed under the header, On My Apple Watch. Tap to let the music play.

Screenshots by Matt Elliott/CNET

Now, you can head out for a run or a leisurely stroll with some tunes and without your iPhone stuck in your pocket or strapped to your arm.

10 tips every iPhone 7 owner should know: Get up and running with your new iPhone 7 or 7 Plus with this collection of tips and tricks.

Best iPhone 7 cases: Protect your precious phone with a spangly new case.