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.
Matt ElliottSenior Editor
Matt Elliott is a senior editor at CNET with a focus on laptops and streaming services. Matt has more than 20 years of experience testing and reviewing laptops. He has worked for CNET in New York and San Francisco and now lives in New Hampshire. When he's not writing about laptops, Matt likes to play and watch sports. He loves to play tennis and hates the number of streaming services he has to subscribe to in order to watch the various sports he wants to watch.
The next time you want to go for a run -- or just a walk -- you can leave your
behind and bust a move with your
. All that's required is a pair of Bluetooth
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.
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.
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.