Since many folks live a fast-paced lifestyle, it can be tough to find time to sit down and read a book the old-fashioned way. That’s why audiobooks and podcasts have become so popular over the years.
- Here are the 4 major health and fitness improvements in watchOS 6
- How to use Automatic Sleep Tracking on Apple Watch
- How to use the Walkie-Talkie mode on your Apple Watch
- Apple Watch Alarms – How to Setup, Use, and Fix Common Issues
- Unable to install watchOS 6? Check these tips and tricks
Apple has been revamping the Books app on the iPhone and iPad for the last few releases, and now the Apple Watch gets its turn. With watchOS 6, you can now listen to your audiobooks from the Watch and can leave your phone behind.
What is the new Books app?
This new Books app is essentially an extension of the application of the same name found on your iPhone. In recent years, Apple added the ability to purchase, download, or add your favorite audiobooks so that you can listen to them from wherever.
Being able to have this ability has been expanded with watchOS 6 as there is an all-new dedicated Books app. Thankfully, there is nothing to set up out of the box other than finding your favorite Bluetooth headphones.
How to add audiobooks to the Apple Watch
The process for adding audiobooks is pretty simple, but does require you to have your iPhone around. Before getting started, you’ll need to open the Books app and ensure that the audiobook being added is under either Reading Now or Want to Read in the app.
If the audiobook is in either one of these categories, it will automatically be added to fill the available space on your Apple Watch. Luckily, there is a method to manually organize and add audiobooks to your Watch.
- Open the Watch application from your iPhone
- Under the My Watch tab, scroll down and select Audiobooks
- Under From Library, select Add Audiobook…
- Select the title that you wish to add and it will be added to the list
Whenever you manually add an audiobook to the Watch, you will need to connect it to your charger. This will ensure that the Watch won’t run out of battery while the audiobook downloads.
How to listen to audiobooks with the new Books app
Now that the first audiobook is available and downloaded to your watch, let’s get listening! The very first step that you need to take is to find your favorite pair of Bluetooth headphones. Once you’ve found them, pair them to the Apple Watch.
- Put the headphones into their pairing mode
- Press the Digital Crown on your Watch and tap on the Settings app
- Scroll down and select Bluetooth
- Find your headphones and tap on them
The Watch displays the pairing process and says “paired” once the process is complete.Now that your headphones are connected, let’s start listening to that book you have been putting off.
- Press the Digital Crown on your Watch to reveal the Home Screen
- Tap the Books app icon
After the Books application has been opened, you are provided with the following options:
- On iPhone – Audiobooks available on your iPhone but not necessarily your Watch.
- Now Playing – View the most recent audiobooks played or controlled from your Watch.
- Library – List of books downloaded to your Apple Watch and available to be accessed regardless of network connection.
Once you have found the audiobook that you want to listen to, simply tap on it and get started. The music controls that appear are the same as the Music app or the Podcast application.
What are the caveats?
While we love Apple for providing features that we have asked for, there seems to always be some type of limitation. The same can be said for the new Books app on the Apple Watch.
Users have reported the inability to download .m4b (audiobook file scheme) files to the Watch and have them appear in the Books app. Adding them to the iPhone will work just the same, but you will not able to download these to the Watch directly.
There is a chance that something could change in the future, but it’s a situation will be keeping our eyes on. As expected, this caveat is only for those audiobooks that were not purchased from Apple’s Books store. Any audiobook purchased or downloaded from Apple will load quickly and seamlessly.
The Apple Watch is arguably one of Apple’s best products in the past five years. The Watch paired with the AirPods is a fantastic one-two punch, especially for those who like to leave the iPhone behind.
We are hoping that Apple gets its act together and allows users to listen to their own .m4b files without any issues. But the truth is that it could be sometime before Apple changes its ways and opens things up even more for us.
If you happen to find a workaround, please let us know in the comments and we’ll be sure to do the same. In the meantime, let us know what Apple Watch you’re rocking and if a release of the Series 5 will mean its time for an update for you!
Andrew is a freelance writer based on the East Coast of the US.
He has written for a variety of sites over the years, including iMore, Android Central, Phandroid, and a few others. Now, he spends his days working for an HVAC company, while moonlighting as a freelance writer at night.