AirPlay on Apple devices lets you stream songs and videos to other AirPlay-compatible speakers and TV. But here’s the less-known fact – you can also use AirPlay on your Apple Watch. It has an AirPlay audio icon in its Control Center (accessed by swiping up from the watch screen’s bottom). This makes it possible to choose which device you are playing the song on. Let me help you understand how to use AirPlay on your Apple Watch.
- Understand what AirPlay on Apple Watch is and its limitations
- How to AirPlay on Apple Watch
- How to use the AirPlay icon to choose devices connected to iPhone
- Control HomePod using Apple Watch
Background: The tiny speaker on your Apple Watch gives Siri answers, system feedbacks, etc. But it cannot use this speaker to play music. Thus, you always need to connect your Apple Watch to a compatible device like AirPods, other W1-chip Bluetooth headphones like AirPods Max, Beats headphones, third-party Bluetooth headphones or speakers, or Apple TV.
This may also make you think that you can AirPlay directly from your watch to other AirPlay devices. But you must understand that it is just a button to choose audio output to the limited devices mentioned above. You may not use this to connect to AirPlay Speakers, etc. You are only limited to Bluetooth devices. This fact can be confirmed when you tap the watch’s AirPlay icon from the Control Center → tap Connect a Device → it opens the Bluetooth pairing screen of the watch Settings app.
Apple Insider says that AirPlay is limited on the watch to preserve the tiny battery. I couldn’t agree more.
One more thing: You cannot stream (AirPlay) songs directly from your Apple Watch to HomePod. But if the HomePod is playing songs via, say, iPhone, you can control it using your Apple Watch.
Conclusion: AirPlay on Apple Watch is limited in functionality. It is a ‘select Bluetooth output device‘ button.
Now that you understand the crux, here is how to use that Apple Watch AirPlay icon to select or change the audio output from your wrist.
- Press the Digital Crown and tap the Music app icon.
- Tap Library.
- Tap Playlists, Artists, Albums, Songs, or Downloaded to play a song.
- Scenario 1: If no Bluetooth devices are connected, you will see a screen that says ‘Choose where to play audio.’ Tap on a device name. (left image below)
- Scenario 2: If a Bluetooth device is connected, music will play through it.
- To change the sound output from your wrist, tap the AirPlay icon from the bottom left.
- Choose a different audio device.
- You can do the same from the watch Control Center.
- If music is playing from your Apple Watch, you may not see HomePod as one of the options in AirPlay. But if music is playing on the iPhone, and you are controlling it with your Apple Watch, you may see the option for HomePod. (see the steps and image below)
- Open the Music app on your watch.
- Tap On iPhone.
- Use Now Playing, Playlist, Artists, etc., to play a song on the iPhone.
- Tap the AirPlay icon to choose another audio device (paired/available on iPhone) like HomePod, AirPods, etc.
- Open the Now Playing app on your Apple Watch.
- If you see Watch or iPhone at the top left, tap < to go back.
- Scroll to choose HomePod from the Now Playing screen.
- From here, you can change HomePod’s volume, skip tracks, see upcoming songs, etc., all from the Apple Watch!
Note: Make sure HomePod, iPhone, and Apple Watch are connected to the same Wi-Fi.