watchOS 5 had made using Podcasts on the Apple Watch a very delightful experience. On Apple Watch Series 3 and later with a wi-fi or cellular connection, you can now stream podcasts without your iPhone.In this short article, we will explore some of the basics around how to set up and play Podcasts on Apple Watch and highlight some common tips and tricks along the way.
The Podcasts feature on the Apple Watch makes it super convenient for pairing your Airpods with your Apple Watch and taking your Podcasts on the Go when you are out for a walk or run.
If you are a fan of the Audible app, watchOS 5 now opens up the possibility to stream Audible content directly on your Apple Watch. It allows you to sync the Audible content from your iPhone to Apple Watch
So let’s get started…
Pair Your Apple Watch With Airpods, Bluetooth Speakers or headphones
The current speaker on the Apple Watch only supports Siri, Voice Calling and Notifications.
Music / Audio playback is not currently supported sadly, So you will need to pair it with an external Bluetooth unit to listen to your podcasts or Apple Music.
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Start by opening the Settings app on your Apple Watch. Tap on Bluetooth and then under the Devices, tap on the Bluetooth device that you want to connect your Apple Watch to and start.
If you recently updated to watchOS 5 and the devices section just keeps showing ‘ Searching…” without being able to locate the device, Perform a forced restart on your Apple Watch and try again.
Once you connect your Apple Watch to an external Bluetooth headphone or speaker, you are ready to start the next setup process.
Setup Podcast Selection using your iPhone
On your iPhone, Open the Watch app. Tap on My Watch tab at the bottom of the screen. Scroll down and tap on Podcasts.
Here you will find two options.
- Listen Now (Switched on by default)
We suggest that you start with Custom. This setting allows you to choose the shows that you want to listen using your Apple Watch. Using the Choose Shows section, toggle ON the particular shows that you want to listen to. These shows are piped in from your iPhone.
Podcasts are downloaded when your Apple Watch is connected to power and placed near your iPhone. Once you have played an episode of the show using your Apple Watch, your iOS removes it from your Apple Watch.
Now that you have completed the basic settings on your iPhone, its time to explore the Podcasts using your Apple Watch.
By default, Apple Watch syncs recent episodes from all the podcasts you subscribe to. To sync specific podcasts, follow these steps:
- Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
- Tap My Watch, then tap Podcasts.
- Turn off Listen Now, then turn on the switches for those podcasts you want to sync to your Apple Watch.
While exploring the settings, make sure to check your mirroring options. If you have your iPhone Podcasts set up, are you downloading all episodes of a show? Are you only downloading the latest and keeping one episode. It will be helpful if you check out the settings on your iPhone by Tapping on Settings > Podcasts > Episode Downloads.
We have this set up to download only new episodes and delete played episodes. Check out your Preferences.
The other Setting that you should check is the Background App Refresh settings on the My Watch App on your iPhone. We have it set to ON for Podcasts to avoid any syncing issues between the iPhone and Apple Watch.
Podcasts App Missing on Apple Watch After WatchOS 5 Update
Several users have reported that after updating their Apple Watch to watchOS 5 and their iPhone to iOS 12, they cannot seem to find the Podcast App on their Apple Watch.
If you are facing this issue, we suggest the following steps. Try each one of these till it works.
- Restart your iPhone and Apple Watch and check for the Podcasts app on your watch
- If you have had the Podcasts app uninstalled on your iPhone, you will need to install it again and then restart your Apple Watch and see if the app shows up
- You may need to reset and erase your Apple Watch and start over. This last option seems to be working for many readers who are experiencing this persistent issue. Using your iPhone Watch App, Tap on My Watch > General > Reset > Erase Apple Watch Content and Settings
How To Play Podcasts on Your Apple Watch
Tap on the Podcasts App on your Apple Watch to get started. Once the app opens up on your watch, you can select from :
- Listen Now
To get started, you can tap on the Episodes. Use the crown to scroll through the listings or simply scroll to locate the Episode that you want to play. This section should show you all the un-played episodes of the shows that you selected using the ‘Custom’ selection on your iPhone Watch app as shown in the previous section.
Tap on any of the shows, and it will start playing. Use the Volume icon on the Watch to adjust the speaker sound. Choose the various podcast controls to customize your listening experience.
You can play your podcasts while using the workout app. No issues! If you are looking for third-party apps, The new Overcast app is worth checking out.
No Time? Check Out Our Video!
Wrapping It Up!
We hope you found this short article informative.
Please let us know if you have any questions in the comments below.
Obsessed with tech since the early arrival of A/UX on Apple, Sudz (SK) is responsible for the original editorial direction of AppleToolBox. He is based out of Los Angeles, CA.
Sudz specializes in covering all things macOS, having reviewed dozens of OS X and macOS developments over the years.
In a former life, Sudz worked helping Fortune 100 companies with their technology and business transformation aspirations.