If you’ve been longing for a Dick Tracy-like setup for using Spotify on your Apple Watch, you won’t have to wait much longer. A new update to the app will now allow you to rock out with only your smartwatch — no nearby phone needed, assuming your smartwatch has a decent wifi or cellular connection.
The problem? That’s the only way you’ll be able to play music exclusively from your smartwatch. Spotify has yet to give its users the Holy Grail of smartphone streaming — a way to download your music to your Apple Watch and play it offline. There’s no indication that option will ever arrive, but I sure hope it does. After all, not everyone has an Apple Watch with a mobile data connection (nor a great Wi-Fi connection when you’re, say, out hiking).
Before we begin, I should note that this new Spotify feature is rolling out to its users. Update your app before you check to see if its there; it might be, or you might have to wait. I maintain that feature rollouts are one of the most annoying tech practices around, but that’s just the reality in which we live.
Also, if you’ve never installed Spotify on your Apple Watch, you’ll need to grab your iPhone, launch the Watch app, and scroll down until you see Spotify within your large list of apps. Tap on “Install” to begin the process.
Once you’re ready, pull up the Spotify app on your Apple Watch. You should immediately see a new prompt about streaming music via your Apple Watch:
Tap that icon, and you’ll now be able to select your Apple Watch as a streaming source. And you can use that same menu to resume blasting music to connected devices around your house, your iPhone, or whatever else is available.
The one quirk, however, is that music won’t just start playing from your Apple Watch itself — likely because your Apple Watch’s speaker isn’t very good. It’s useful in a pinch if you need to walkie-talkie someone, sure, but I wouldn’t rely on it for music. Instead, you’ll need to have Bluetooth headphones connected to your Apple Watch, and your Spotify streaming will play from there.
While there can be a bit of a lag when you’re playing/pausing music, or skipping to new tracks, I chalk that up to this still being a “beta” feature, technically. Otherwise, it’s a cinch to navigate through your music by swiping left and right on your watch, and tweaking your volume via the digital crown.