While no one really wants to watch YouTube videos on displays as small as the Apple Watch, it can come in handy if you want to watch something quickly on-the-go or refer to the next step in a tutorial for fixing a leaky faucet. In those cases, WatchTube is the Apple Watch app that will let you watch even if your iPhone isn’t nearby.
WatchTube is free and supports most kinds of YouTube videos. At least for now, you can’t watch YouTube Shorts or live videos, but most other videos should play. I found that the app opened fairly quickly on an Apple Watch SE, and it was able to load videos from its curated feed with a small delay — and since the Apple Watch has a nice display, videos don’t look too bad on it, either. However, most YouTube videos do not use a square aspect ratio, which means you’ll see black bars above and below the video to compensate.
Ideally, you should use a pair of Bluetooth headphones, such as the AirPods, while watching videos with WatchTube to avoid draining your battery too much. Otherwise, WatchTube plays the audio from your Apple Watch’s speaker, which can reduce your battery by a few percentage points after each video. Although videos play well enough, the Apple Watch’s speaker isn’t designed for this kind of audio playback. (You’ll definitely not want to lean on this too much for listening to music.)
WatchTube has four main screens: a curated feed, search, history, and settings. You can change the curated feed to make it show only certain types of videos, such as gaming or news. The app also supports closed captions, and you can adjust the text size, too. (While this is a nice option to have, you can imagine it’s not ideal to read captions on the screen of a watch.)
Once you select a video on WatchTube, you’ll be able to like the video before it starts playing. You can also hit the gear icon to reveal more options. This is where you can read the description, enable or disable captions, read the comments, and even generate a QR code to share the video. You can use another device to scan the QR code and play the video on the second device.
Keep in mind that the app doesn’t support logins at this time, so you’ll have to live without your subscriptions and videos curated to your taste if you want to watch a video on your Apple Watch.