Apple Watch: How to Control Music on iPhone

You can perfectly control the Music app on iPhone or iTunes on a computer, using Apple Watch. Apple Watch enables you to control playback in iTunes on a PC or Mac. This functionality is very useful when you connect your iPhone to your stereo system, either via a cable or via AirPlay. You can also use it when you are playing music on iPhone through earphones or headphones, and you don’t want to take the iPhone out of your pocket or purse to control the music.

How to Control Music on Your Apple Watch [Video]

Video uploaded by PCMag on April 24, 2015.

How to Control Music on iPhone

How to Control Music On iPhone Using Apple Watch

  • Lift your wrist to wake Apple Watch, and the watch face will appear.
  • Click the Digital Crown the Home screen will appear.
  • Tap Music, and the Music app will open. If the Music app displays a screen other than the Music screen, tap the button in the upper-left corner one or more times to display the music screen.
  • Force-touch the screen, and the Options screen will appear.
  • Tap Source to open the Source screen.
  • Tap iPhone, and the Music screen appears again.
  • Tap the view you’d like to use: Artists, Albums, Songs, Playlists.
  • When the screen appears, tap the artist, the album, the song or the playlist you want to hear. If you tap the album, for example, the songs in the album will appear.
  • You can turn the Digital Crown to scroll up or down the list. Note that the Music app shows only the songs in the album that are on your iPhone. The list you’ll see on Apple Watch may not thus be complete.
  • Tap the song you want to play first, and the song starts playing. (You can tap Previous to go back to the beginning of the current song or tap Previous again to go back to the beginning of the previous song.
  • Tap Pause to pause playback.
  • Tap Play to restart playback.
  • Tap Next to skip the next song.
  • To change the volume tap Quieter or Louder. You can also turn the Digital Crown.
  • When the music is playing, click the Digital Crown.
  • When the watch face appears, swipe up, and the Glances screen will appear.
  • Swipe left or right until the Now Playing Glance appears. By using the Now Playing Glance you can control playback.

A Few Words about Listening to Music with Apple Watch

Of course users can use their Apple Watch to listen to music on their iPhones, but they also can sync a playlist to enjoy music on their Apple Watch without using their iPhone. Users can play music on their Apple Watchs without their iPhone if they can pair with Bluetooth headphones. To do this:

  • Open the Music app on Apple Watch.
  • Scroll up and tap your Apple Watch to choose it as the source.
  • Then scroll back down and tap any of these options:
    Now Playing: With this option you can play or pause what’s currently playing on your Apple Watch. – My Music: Selecting this option after you sync a playlist to your Apple Watch, you can browse your music by Albums, Artists, and Songs. Playlists: Use the steps described below to sync a playlist to your Apple Watch.

Make a Music Playlist

Note that you can keep one music playlist on your Apple Watch at a time. Note also that audiobooks and podcasts aren’t compatible:

  • Go to the Music app on your iPhone.
  • Tap the Library tab.
  • Tap Playlists > New Playlist.
  • Choose a name for your playlist.
  • Now search or tap to find songs, artists, or albums to add.
  • When you find a song or another item that you want to add, tap.
  • After you add the item, tap Done (you can continue searching for more music to add).
  • When you’re done adding music, tap Done to save the playlist you have created.

To edit an existing playlist:

  • Open the Music app on your iPhone.
  • Tap the Library tab.
  • Tap Playlists, then tap a playlist.
  • On playlist tap edit.
  • To add songs, tap Add Songs, then search or tap to find songs, artists, or albums.
  • Tap the Plus sign to add to the playlist songs, artists or albums you want. To delete songs, tap the Minus sign, and then tap Delete.
  • When you’re done editing the playlist, tap Done, and the changes you have included will be saved.

How to Sync Playlist

Before you proceed, set the Apple Watch on its charger and make sure the watch is charging.

  • Go to Settings > Bluetooth on your iPhone and make sure Bluetooth is turned on.
  • From the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, tap the My Watch tab.
  • Tap Music > Synced Music.
  • Now tap the playlist you want to sync to your Apple Watch. When a message next to your playlist says Sync Pending, your playlist will begin syncing from your iPhone to your Apple Watch. Please wait until the sync is finished before using the watch. You can open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone and tap Music, if you want to see the sync progress.

Note that you might need to download any music stored in the cloud, such as music from Apple Music or iTunes Match, to your iPhone before you can sync it with your Apple Watch.

How to listen to Playlist on Apple Watch

Note that it is impossible to listen to your playlist on the Apple Watch until you pair your smartwatch with Bluetooth headphones. After pairing, proceed as follows:

  • On your Apple Watch tap the Music app from the Home screen.
  • Firmly press the screen and tap Source > Apple Watch.
  • Next tap Playlists.

How to Remove Playlist from Apple Watch

  • On the iPhone, open the Apple Watch app.
  • Tap the My Watch tab.
  • Tap Music > Synced Music > None.

To remove the playlist, don’t forget to set your Apple Watch on its charger and make sure it’s charging.


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This post currently has 3 responses

  • Thank you. Not specifically for this text (I can easily control music on iPhone and even on Macbook), but for all the guidelines about Apple Watch. But frankly speaking, I think cheaper versions of digital or electronics watches will dominate the world in the nearest future. All we need, is fitness, time (surprise!) and notifications about what happens on our phone features. Nothing else, and all of this can be achieved with a cheap watch.

  • Thanks for this helpful how-to article. There are two issues not addressed here, about which I would sure like some expert input:

    1) Scrolling through Library: In Artists, Albums or Songs, it is very tedious to scroll down the alphabetical list to the item I want, either by swiping (swipe, swipe, swipe, swipe…) of turning the digital crown (turn, turn, turn, turn…). I see a tiny scroll bar but it doesn’t appear to be useable to scroll. Is there some way to jump more quickly down the list?

    2) Bluetooth Device: Seldom clearly pointed out anywhere (that I’ve seen)—If the headphones are currently connected to the iPhone, music playing on the watch itself cannot be heard, and vice versa. Changing the music source requires an inconvenient change of the Bluetooth headphones’ connection. Left and right Bluetooth earbuds use their “second device” capability to connect *to each other*; if two source devices (watch and iPhone) connect to them simultaneously, they can’t connect to each other and you lose L or R channel. PITA often requiring complete restart of the ear buds.

  • This used to work for me, but now when I bring up the music app on my watch, select a song and hit play it wants to play on my Airpods – doesn’t give me a choice of playing on my iPhone. What am I doing wrong?

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