One of the most underused features of the Apple Watch is its ability to let you listen to your favorite music or podcasts while on the go. And no, we aren’t talking about using its tiny speaker to jam out to your Spotify Wrapped playlist. We mean connecting your Apple Watch to a pair of wireless headphones or earbuds like AirPods.
Regardless of the type of device you want to use, the pairing process only takes a few seconds. Below you’ll find instructions for pairing your Apple Watch to Apple’s AirPods and more generalized instructions for pairing it with standard Bluetooth headphones.
How to pair AirPods to the Apple Watch
Regardless of whether you have AirPods, AirPods Pro or AirPods Max, connecting your earbuds or headphones to the Apple Watch follows the same process. And here’s the best part: If you’ve already paired your AirPods with another Apple device — like your iPhone, iPad or Mac — then they’re already set up and ready to be used with your Apple Watch.
You just need to put the AirPods on, then press play in an app on your Apple Watch and, magically, the music will begin streaming to your ears.
In fact, the same can be said for any Beats products that use the same H1 or W1 chip that AirPods use — you’ll be able to use them in the same way. And yes, that includes Beats Fit Pro, our pick of an earbud for Apple users.
Moral of the story? Pair your AirPods to your iPhone first, then they’ll magically work with your watch. To do that, you’ll need to open the AirPods charging case next to your unlocked iPhone and follow the prompts. The entire process takes just a few seconds.
How to pair Bluetooth earbuds to the Apple Watch
If you have a pair of Bluetooth earbuds or headphones like the EarFun Air or Anker SoundCore Q35, then the process of connecting them to your watch will be a little different. The first thing you’ll want to do is put your earbuds or headphones into pairing mode. Each device maker has a different process or steps, but generally, if you hold the power button for a few seconds while powering them up, they’ll enter pairing mode.
Alternatively, for wireless earbuds that lack a power button but have a charging case, you can usually long-press a button located somewhere on the charging case to enter this mode. It’s always a good idea to check your user manual for the most accurate directions.
Once your earbuds are in pairing mode, open the Settings app on your Apple Watch and then select Bluetooth from the list of options. You’ll see a list of currently paired Bluetooth devices and their respective connection status, along with a list of available devices that you can pair with the Apple Watch. Scroll down and find your earbuds or headphones on the list and then tap on them. A few seconds later, the two devices should be paired and you’re ready to stream.
How to use your AirPods, earbuds or headphones with the Apple Watch
With your earbuds or headphones connected to your watch, you’re able to start listening to your favorite music or podcasts using an app on your watch.
Some apps, like Apple Music, allow you to store music files directly on the watch, while other apps like Spotify and Apple Podcasts allow Apple Watch with cellular to stream music or shows directly on the watch without an iPhone anywhere nearby.
Open the app, be it Spotify or Apple Music, and select what you want to listen to. If your earbuds are already connected, it should start playing without any issues. However, you may see a prompt asking which device you want to listen on; select your paired headphones.
If for some reason you don’t see a prompt to connect to your device, tap on the AirPlay icon and then select your earbuds.