Spotify on the Apple Watch is a bit of a sore spot. The first Apple Watch launched back in in 2015, but it wasn’t until November 2018 that a Spotify app made its way to the popular smartwatch. And even then, it sucked. It was a glorified remote. But now, it appears that Spotify is rolling out actual streaming to some Apple Watch users.
Reports started trickling out back in September that some users were seeing blue “beta” banners in the Apple Watch Spotify app. And it appears that today, still more users are receiving prompts asking if they would like to stream on the Apple Watch itself, indicating the beta could be seeing a wider rollout.
The news was first spotted by German blog Macerkopf (via 9to5Mac). Reportedly, those who got access to the feature today can stream their own library of playlists, podcasts, artists, and albums over both mobile and Wi-Fi, Macerkopf reports. It seems like you can also cast the music over Bluetooth headphones and speakers, but unfortunately, there’s no in-app search function. For that, you have to resort to our good friend — and not at all craptastic assistant — Siri.
While I was not one of the chosen few to get the Spotify beta (sob), my fellow blogger Catie Keck did on her Apple Watch Series 6. It appears users will get a notification reading, “Want to stream on your Apple Watch? Select it here.” You then have the option of tapping the phone icon in the lower right to select the Apple Watch. Unfortunately, Catie doesn’t have a cellular Series 6, so we weren’t able to verify whether you can stream over a cellular network. She did, however, get it working over wifi and confirmed that the blue beta banner is still there when you go to select which device you want to stream to.
Being able to stream Spotify is a big deal on the Apple Watch, because it opens up the option for Spotify users to leave their phones at home when working out (or when just out and about). Most third-party music apps on the watch are essentially remote controls. If you wanted to go for a run with your tunes, but without your phone, you were pretty much limited to either Apple Music or Pandora, which both offer online playback. This meant many loyal Spotify users looking for that ability were limited to Garmins and Samsung Galaxy watches.
It’s nice to see more third-party music streaming options on Apple devices so you don’t feel shoehorned into Apple Music. Yesterday, Pandora became the first third-party music service on the HomePod, and based on last month’s Apple event, it’s likely other services will soon follow suit. Spotify was notably not one of the highlighted third parties, but with this beta, who knows? Maybe it’ll happen at long last.