Spotify is at long last bringing offline playback to the Apple Watch, allowing wearers to download playlists, albums, and podcasts to their wrist and then listen later without either a data connection or their iPhone nearby. Apple Watch owners could until now access their music from the smartwatch, but offline support was limited to the paired smartphone.
Controlling which content is synchronized to the Apple Watch is done through Spotify’s iPhone app. Hitting the three dots icon (…) next to a playlist, album, or podcast will bring up a new “Download to Apple Watch option”: tapping that will select if for offline playback.
There’s a Downloads section in the Apple Watch app, in which the current progress of each offline sync is shown. As in the iPhone app, the Spotify Apple Watch app will show a small green arrow icon next to content that supports offline playback. After that it’s a matter of pairing your Bluetooth headphones or earbuds to the smartwatch, and hitting play.
There are a few provisos, as you might expect. The most significant is that you’ll need to be a Spotify Premium subscriber, since only that tier gets offline playback in the first place.
All Spotify users can control music playback from the Apple Watch controls. If you’re playing music via Spotify Connect on a TV, smart speaker, or another device, you’ll be able to control that too. Assuming you do have a data connection, you can ask Siri to play songs, artists, playlists, albums, or podcasts; it’s also possible to use Apple’s assistant on the Apple Watch to “like” music, adjust volume, and skip through tracks.
Spotify isn’t the first to support offline playback on the wearable, of course. Apple Music has had that functionality for some time now, as has Pandora. Spotify has long promised its introduction, but the streaming service certainly took its time to actually deliver.
Still, now Spotify says the download support will be added for Apple Watch users globally, and will be rolling out over the coming weeks.