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Have you ever wished you could listen to music on your Apple Watch when you don’t have headphones? Well, so have many.

For those who want to enjoy their favorite music directly from their wrist, it’s not always straightforward. While headphones aren’t always necessary, you still need a proper speaker. Dive into this guide to discover how to play music on Apple Watch without headphones.

Does Apple Watch Have a Speaker?

Yes, but Apple Watch doesn’t have typical speakers you find on phones or laptops.

Instead, it uses a unique technology called the Taptic Engine to produce sound through vibrations. When you hold your wrist to your ear during a call or Siri interaction, these vibrations create audio feedback that you can hear. Such a technology allows for discreet audio communication and feedback without the need for traditional external speakers.

Can You Listen to Music on Apple Watch Without Headphones?

Yes and no. No, because you can’t listen to music directly on the watch speaker without external speakers. The speakers on the Apple Watch aren’t really made for music. They’re meant more for Siri and notifications. So, even if you were able to listen to music on them, it wouldn’t sound great — a bit tinny and without much bass.

And yes, you can listen to music without headphones by pairing your Apple Watch with another speaker or by playing music on your iPhone while controlling it from the watch.

There are various models of the Apple Watch available, but any Apple Watch running watchOS 4.1 or higher allows you to listen to albums and playlists through external speakers. So, the answer to how to play music from a speaker on the Apple Watch Series 4 or how to play music on the Apple Watch speaker on Series 7, 9, SE, or Ultra will be the same. For any model of the watch you own, follow the guides below.

Adding Music to Your Apple Watch

When you put music on your Apple Watch, you can listen to it anywhere, even without your iPhone. You can add music using the Watch app on your phone. If you’re subscribed to Apple Music, you can also add music directly from the Music app on your watch.

To add music from your watch, follow these steps:

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  1. Start the Music app on your watch.
  2. Browse through the available music on the Listen Now screen, or use the search function to find specific songs or albums.
  3. Once you’ve found the music you want, tap on it to open the options menu.
  4. Add to Library.
  5. You’ll receive a confirmation message once the music has been successfully added.

You can listen to the music you add when you’re connected to the internet. If you want to listen offline, make sure to download the music — tap on the options menu again and select Download. You should also consider that downloading music without being connected to a power source may drain your Apple Watch’s battery faster.

On another note, you don’t need to pick specific songs. Apple Music automatically adds music you’ve recently listened to. If you haven’t played any music yet, Apple Music suggests songs for you.

How to Connect Speakers to Your Apple Watch

To use most audio features on your Apple Watch (in this case, music), you’ll need Bluetooth speakers. Start by following the instructions that came with your speakers to activate their discovery mode. Once they’re ready, do this:

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  1. Open the watch’s Settings and choose Bluetooth.
  2. Tap on the device when it appears in the list.

Or you can get to the Bluetooth setting by tapping the AirPlay button found in such apps as Audiobooks, Music, Now Playing, or Podcasts.

You can also manage music on AirPlay-enabled devices like Apple TV or HomePod speakers. Tap the More Options button in the upper-right corner of the Now Playing screen, and then choose from the available options.

  • To link to an AirPlay device: AirPlay → Control Other Speakers & TVs → select a device → choose the music you want to play.
  • To link to a Bluetooth device: AirPlay → Choose a Device → select the Bluetooth device you want.

How to Play Music With Your Apple Watch on a Speaker

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Once your Apple Watch is linked to Bluetooth speakers, you can listen to music by turning the Digital Crown to browse Listen Now. Next, tap an album, category, or playlist and listen through the speaker.

Alternatively, raise your wrist and ask Siri on your watch to play music by song, album, artist, lyrics or genre.

To choose where the sound comes from on your Apple Watch:

  1. Open Control Center by pressing the side button
  2. Tap the Audio Output icon.
  3. Pick your device.

Does Spotify Work on Apple Watch?

Yes, as long as you have the app.

Start by opening the Watch app on your phone. If your Apple Watch isn’t linked yet, just follow the prompts to link it. Then, go to the Available Apps section in the Watch app and install Spotify. You can also download apps from the App Store.

If you’d like to enjoy music from your watch without needing your phone nearby, you’ll need:

  • Apple Watch Series 3 or newer
  • watchOS 7.0 or later
  • Spotify Premium subscription
  • Bluetooth speaker
  • Internet connection

You can download up to 10 hours of music and podcasts to your watch:

  1. Swipe right to access the home screen.
  2. Find a playlist you want to download.
  3. Tap the arrow down symbol.

To find your downloads, swipe right to access the home screen and tap the Downloads folder.

Please know that if you’re using Spotify for free, you can’t play music from your watch or listen offline. You can only use it to control music on other devices like your phone. However, if you have Spotify Premium, you can stream audiobooks from your watch, but the offline listening feature is still unavailable.

Does Shazam Work on Apple Watch?

Yes, there is a standalone Shazam app available for Apple Watch.

For the best Shazam experience, make sure your devices are up-to-date and have the latest operating systems. If you use multiple Apple devices, sign in with the same Apple ID and turn on iCloud Sync and 2F authentication. Lastly, join Apple Music to listen to full songs in Shazam or Apple Music and add identified songs to playlists.

To discover music on your watch:

  1. Press the button on the side of your watch once to see all your apps.
  2. Find and tap the Shazam icon.
  3. In the Shazam app, tap the main button, and the app will automatically identify the song.

Recent Shazams will appear below the Shazam button on the app, and they will also be saved to My Music on the paired iPhone for easy access later. If you love classical music, consider getting the Apple Music Classical app for easy access to identified songs.

Besides that, users can use the Hey Siri voice command on their watch to ask Siri to identify a song.

How to Control Music Playback on iPhone Through Apple Watch

If you have your iPhone nearby, you don’t need Bluetooth devices or headphones to play music on your Apple Watch. Just use your phone to stream music from its music app directly to your watch.

You can access the playback controls on your Apple Watch in a few ways:

  • Find and open the Now Playing app on your watch.
  • If you’ve added the Now Playing complication to your watch face, tap it.
  • If you’re close to a HomePod playing music, Now Playing will open on your watch automatically.
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Open Now Playing on your watch to change playback: play, pause, and adjust volume with the Digital Crown. Or just open the Music, Podcasts, or Books app and start playing a song, podcast, or audiobook.

Here’s how to manage different devices with Now Playing:

  1. Launch Now Playing.
  2. If there are other devices nearby (like your iPhone or a HomePod) that can play music, you’ll see their icons.
  3. Tap to see the list of devices, pick the one you want, and control its music with your Apple Watch.

If you want to switch to another device or include additional ones, open Now Playing. Tap the More Options button, select AirPlay. From there, you can choose to switch to a different device or add new ones. You can stop music on any device by tapping it.

Will There Be a Regular Speaker for Music on an Apple Watch?

For now, the primary purpose of the speaker on Apple Watch is to make and receive calls, Siri interactions, and alerts.

It’s possible that there will be a normal, but nothing has been teased or announced. Stay updated with official announcements from Apple for any potential changes or updates to their products!

FAQ

Can I use my Apple Watch as a speaker for music?

No, the built-in speaker can’t play music or most other audio content. But you can use it for phone calls, recording voice  notes, or even for two-way communication like a walkie-talkie.

Can an Apple Watch work without an iPhone?

Yes, but its functionality is limited when not paired with an iPhone. You can play music from your watch on a speaker if you have music stored on it or use a streaming service with an active cellular connection. Other available functions are timekeeping, activity tracking, Wallet and Apple Pay, and emergency SOS.

Can I listen to YouTube on Apple Watch?

If you have a Series 3 or newer with watchOS 6 or later, you can use the official YouTube Music app to play music. You’ll need a YouTube Premium Music subscription for direct playback. If you don’t have one, you can use the WatchTube app as an alternative.

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