5 Best Music Streaming Apps For Apple Watch

By | March 6, 2022

Controlling your music is one of the main features of Apple Watch. Since the release of the Apple Watch Series 3 in 2017, it lets you stream music directly from your watch without the need for an iPhone or iPod.

It’s a game-changer for runners and fitness enthusiasts, as well as casual music listeners who don’t want to carry two devices with them for their music. But to use this, you will need a music app.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the best music apps available for your Apple Watch.

Apple Music

The Apple Music app works well as a method for syncing your iPhone’s music library, and is likely the first app a new Apple Watch owner will change. You can control playback and access songs, albums, and playlists right from your wrist. If you have an Apple Watch model with cellular support and an Apple Music subscription ($10/month), you can stream directly from your watch.

Apple makes this very easy. By default, your iPhone will automatically sync Apple’s weekly playlists: New Music, Cool Mixes, and Favorite Mixes. It will also upload Heavy Rotation, which is a collection of albums and playlists that you play frequently. You can manually add playlists and albums using the Watch app on your iPhone.

The app offers basic music controls to pause and skip forward or rewind, and you can use the digital crown to control the volume. Siri voice control is also available, just lift your wrist and ask Siri to play, pause, skip, or play the previous song. But be careful if you ask Siri to play a certain song, album, or playlist, it will be done through your iPhone, not from your Apple Watch. This is the case unless you have an LTE model.

With your Apple mobile watch, you can ask Siri to play any of the 50 million songs in your Apple Music library. The app also has some great complications that will show you the currently playing song with a glance at your wrist.

If you’re an Apple Music subscriber, the app does pretty much anything you want it to. Siri integration makes it a great choice for hands-free music while you work out.

Download: Apple Music (Free, subscription available)

Spotify

If you’re a Spotify Premium ($10/month) subscriber wishing you could just leave your iPhone behind, you’re disappointed. Even with the LTE Apple Watch, you still can’t stream Spotify directly from the wearable.

However, that doesn’t take away from the positives of this service on your Apple Watch. With your iPhone nearby, the Spotify app is a handy way to control your music without having to take your phone out.

You’ll find recently played albums and playlists, as well as links to your library that include the Excellent Discover Weekly playlist. Furthermore, you can play, pause, skip forward, and jump back with the app’s playback controls. The app also has support for adding songs to your favorites, as well as changing the output device.

There’s also information about the currently playing playlist or album, but it only shows the first two or three songs, so it’s not very useful. Apple Watch complications are also disappointing; even the biggest ones don’t show your currently playing music.

If Spotify is your iPhone’s go-to music service, then the Spotify app for your Apple Watch should transfer some of the same useful features to your wrist. Not subscribed yet? See why we think Spotify Premium is worth the money.

Download: Spotify (Free, subscription available)

Pandora

Pandora is another music alternative for Apple Watch owners in the US. You can play music on the go, even without your iPhone. Unlike Spotify, Pandora includes offline playback as an option. The latest content automatically uploads to your watch when your iPhone is connected to the same network as well.

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To take advantage of offline playback, you must sign up for one of the paid subscriptions. The Premium subscription ($1o/month) provides offline access to your 10 most recent playlists, songs or albums. Alternatively, a Plus subscription ($5/month) will only let you listen to your three most recent stations while offline.

The app displays the currently playing song, with a prominent play/pause icon and adjustable ringer volume. Swiping right takes you to the selection screen, where you can select the music you want to play. How many options you have here will depend on your subscription level. If you’re a free user, you’ll only see the last song played on your iPhone.

If you already have a Pandora subscription then this is a useful app that gives you access to offline content. But it lacks the deeper integration of the Apple Music app, and there’s no option for streaming with a cellular Apple Watch. As such, you are limited to what you can listen to without your iPhone.

Download: Pandora (Free, subscription available)

Deezer

Deezer is another subscription-based service for Apple Watch users to try. For Deezer Premium subscribers ($10/month), there are no limits on how you can use the app. Free users have the same limitations as on the iPhone app you can only play in Shuffle Mode and skip up to six tracks per hour.

But be warned there is no option to download offline content with the Deezer app. There’s also no way to live stream to your watch. You must have an iPhone in hand if you want to listen to music.

There are currently no complications for the Deezer app either. The only way you can launch the app is through the many icons on the home screen. All of the other apps on this list can be launched directly from your watch face, so this is something to consider if Deezer is your service of choice.

You have four options for selecting music — Genres, My Music, Favorite Songs, and recently played songs. Flow is a personalized Deezer playlist based on your listening habits, which includes your favorites mixed with new music suggestions. My Music lets you choose from the latest songs and favorite tracks as well as playlists, albums, and podcasts. You also have the option to add to your favorites or remove songs from your Flow.

If you have a Deezer account then the app is a must have. But with no offline content and no options for live streaming, you should keep your iPhone close at hand.

Download: Deezer (Free, subscription available)

TuneIn

If you prefer music from radio stations to your own albums and playlists, TuneIn has you covered. You can listen to more than 100,000 radio stations from around the world, as well as podcasts. If you sign up for a Premium subscription ($10/month), you’ll also get access to live NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL games.

The TuneIn Pro Apple Watch app is actually just a controller for the iPhone app. You can choose from your selection of recent stations. From there, the app shows the controls for playing or stopping your current station, as well as skipping back or forward 30 seconds (which is great for podcasts). There is no way of searching for additional stations through the app.

There are a few complications available, but they’re not supported on every Apple Watch face. The largest complications will show the currently playing station, while the smallest provide shortcuts for applications.

Like some of the other apps on this list, TuneIn doesn’t work on your Apple Watch independently of your iPhone. If you want to stream music only through your Apple Watch, you’ll need to use the Apple Radio app.

Note that TuneIn Premium is an ongoing subscription to access premium content. TuneIn Pro is a one-time purchase that removes advertising banners and allows you to record content for offline listening.

Download: TuneIn (Free, subscription available) | TuneIn Pro ($10, subscription available)

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