Beginning with the Apple Watch Series 3 in 2017, the iPhone maker began offering GPS + Cellular versions of its popular wearable device. In doing so, users were finally able to listen to music without their smartphone nearby.
Unfortunately, listening to music from your wrist comes with some challenges, whether or not you’re using a cellular connection. In this article, we offer some troubleshooting techniques for when the audio has stopped playing from your Apple Watch.
- Not Just About Music
- There’s No Sound
- Songs, Albums, or Playlists Don’t Look Right
- Other Troubleshooting Tips
- Wrapping This Up
Not Just About Music
Before getting started, it’s important to note that listening to audio content is no longer limited to Apple’s Music app or the official Radio app. Spotify also now provides an official app for the wearable device. Additionally, thanks to the native Podcasts app, you can listen to this type of content too. In other words, these troubleshooting techniques aren’t necessarily exclusive to Apple’s Music app.
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There’s No Sound
The most likely problem you’re experiencing with your Apple Watch when it comes to audio to being unable to hear the content. You need to pair a Bluetooth-enabled device to listen to content. Currently, you can’t listen to content directly from the wearable device.
Check Your Bluetooth
Assuming you’ve already set up Bluetooth on your Apple Watch (see below), you should check your connection to see if there’s a problem.
On Apple Watch:
- Push the Digital Crown.
- Tap the Settings app.
- Select Bluetooth.
- On the next page, make sure the headphones you’d like to use are connected. If they aren’t, tap Not Connected.
- Once you restore the connection, check to see if audio is now working from your Apple Watch.
In this example, we’re connecting MW07 headphones:
Pair Your Audio Device
To pair Bluetooth headphones or speakers for the first time to your Apple Watch:
- Place your device is pairing mode using the instructions that were provided by the manufacturer.
- On your Apple Watch, push the Digital Crown.
- Tap Settings > Bluetooth.
- With your device in pairing mode, you should see the device listed under Bluetooth. Tap on it to add.
- Entry a passkey or PIN, where applicable.
You can now use your accessory to listen to audio from your Apple Watch.
In the following example, Audeara A-01 headphones are being paired for the first time:
Check the Volume
It happens. You’re so caught up on wanting to listen to your favorite album or podcast episode from your Apple Watch, and you forget to check the volume. We’ve already put together a long list of troubleshooting tips on this issue. For the sake of this discussion where the focus is being unable to hear audio from Apple Music or a similar app, follow these steps:
- In your audio app on Apple Watch, tap on the song that’s playing, but you can hear on your Bluetooth device.
- Tap the volume circle.
- Change the volume and see if that fixes the issue.
Songs, Albums, or Playlists Don’t Look Right
Perhaps the problem you’re experiencing doesn’t have to do with sound. Instead, it appears that songs, albums, or playlists are missing from your wearable device. It’s possible you’re experiencing a syncing issue.
Check Music Syncing
Unless you’re using an Apple Watch Series 3 or Apple Watch Series 4 with GPS + Cellular, your music or podcasts must be synced with your iPhone. In doing so, you can then listen to this content without being near your smartphone. Without syncing, your content might not even be available on your wearable device.
For both the native Music and Podcasts app, you can select specific content to sync for your Apple Watch. After you sync, this content is available without your phone.
- For Music, go into the Watch app on your iPhone.
- Tap Music on the My Watch tab.
- If you’re an Apple Music subscriber, you’ll see a listing of available personalized Mixes to sync with Apple Watch. Toggle the ones you’d like to add to Apple Watch for offline use.
- Tap Add Music under the Playlists & Albums section to add additional music to Apple Watch.
In this example, I’ve added two albums from Coldplay and a personalized playlist called Apple Commerical Songs:
Note: If you’re next to your iPhone, links to your albums and playlists will get added to your Apple Watch immediately. However, they won’t sync and get downloaded to your wearable device until your watch is connected to power and placed near your iPhone.
If you are an Apple Watch GPS + Cellular owner, you can listen to the music immediately even when you’re not near your iPhone. However, even in this scenario, the music itself isn’t stored on the Apple Watch until it’s connected to power and placed near your smartphone.
The syncing of podcasts is a similar process. In this case, you can sync episodes of your favorite subscribed podcasts.
- Under the My Watch tab on the iPhone Watch app, tap Podcasts.
- By default, your Apple Watch will feature one episode from every show in the Listen Now section of the Podcasts app on iPhone. Tap Custom to change this setting.
- With Custom selected, you can choose which podcasts to add to Apple Watch. Three episodes, not one, from every show you have picked are added.
In the following example, two shows have been selected for syncing. In this case, six episodes are synchronized to the Apple Watch:
Note: Like with music, podcasts are only synced and downloaded after your Apple Watch is added to a power source and is near your iPhone.
Apps such as Spotify and the podcast-focused Overcast handle listening to content from Apple Watch differently. Check inside those and other third-party apps to see how they handle audio listening from the wearable device.
Other Troubleshooting Tips
If you’re still running into audio problems on your Apple Watch, you can perform these steps to resolve your issues.
Restart the App
Perhaps the easiest solution is to restart the affected app.
- With the app open, press and hold the side button.
- Scroll from right to left on the app.
- Tap the red X to shut the app.
Reboot Apple Watch
You could also restart your Apple Watch.
- To do so, press, then hold the side button until you see the Power Off slider.
- Drag this slider.
- After your watch turns off, press, then hold the side button again until you see the Apple logo.
Another suggestion is to delete the app and begin again. Remove the pesky app from the iPhone Home screen and then reinstall it from the App Store.
Repair Apple Watch
As a last resort, you should consider repairing your Apple Watch to your iPhone. Doing so is a relatively simple process and won’t involve losing data when done correctly.
Wrapping This Up
Apple Watch and watchOS have been around for a few years now, and they are both becoming mature products. Because of this, audio problems on Apple Watch are becoming less prevalent, although issues still happen occasionally. If you’ve experienced audio problems with Apple Watch, we’d like to hear from you. Let us know below what steps you’ve taken to correct your problem.