How to play music from your Apple Watch – without your iPhone

As successful as the Apple Watch has been, one of the biggest complaints with Apple's first wearable has been its reliance on the iPhone. With limited storage and processing power onboard, the Apple Watch often serves as more of a controller and secondary display for its wearer's smartphone than a standalone device. 

What many Apple Watch owners may not realize, however, is that the wearable is capable of performing certain tasks completely independent of an iPhone. One of the most useful? Playing music. 

The Apple Watch is the perfect fitness device. With onboard biometric tracking, it can keep tabs on your workout while allowing you to leave your bulky iPhone at home. But, if you're the type of person who uses a fine-tuned playlist to get an extra boost during a workout, you may have been bringing your smartphone to the gym anyway to access Apple Music. Little did you know that hidden in your Apple Watch is the option to store playlists directly on the 2GB of storage available on your wrist.

Here's how to sync your favorite playlists to your Apple Watch for iPhone-free listening:

  • Create a playlist in the Apple Music app on your iPhone.
  • Set your Apple Watch on the charging dock.
  • Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone and navigate to My Watch > Music > Synced Playlist.
  • Select the playlists you want to add to your Apple Watch. 
  • Wait for the sync to complete (it can take a little while).
  • Change the music source from "iPhone" to "Apple Watch" using Force Touch in the Apple Music app.

Remember, the Apple Watch does not have its own headphone jack, so to listen to music without your iPhone you'll need a pair of Bluetooth headphones.