An Apple Watch Podcasts app is finally here with watchOS 5. Best of all, you don’t need your iPhone app with you to use it. Here’s how to use the app on your wearable device.
Using Podcasts app on Apple Watch
With Apple Watch support, the Podcasts app (and its content) will automatically sync across your iPhone and wearable device. As such, shows and episodes you subscribe to on your iPhone will also be available on the Apple Watch Podcasts app. You can also customize the process by selecting which shows will appear on Apple Watch (and those that don’t).
One of the first things you’ll notice about the Apple Watch Podcasts app is that it requires no setup to get started. If you’re a casual listener, your only step is to make sure Bluetooth headphones or a speaker are paired to your wearable device. Otherwise, you can’t listen to the podcasts.
Beyond this, podcasts are downloaded when Apple Watch is connected to power and placed near your iPhone. You can also listen to podcasts through Wi-Fi and LTE, if applicable. Episodes downloaded to your Apple Watch are available even when out of range of iPhone. Played episodes are removed from the wearable device by default.
Set up on iPhone
To customize the Podcasts app on the Apple Watch follow these steps on your iPhone.
1) Go into the Watch app on your iPhone under My Watch and tap Podcasts.
2) On this screen, there are two settings: Add Episodes From and Notifications.
Under Add Episodes From, you can have all the shows under Listen Now on the Podcasts app for iPhone carried over the Apple Watch (the default), or choose Custom and select only the ones on want.
By default, podcast Notifications mirror those on your iPhone. Select Custom, to change this to Allow Notifications, Send to Notification Center, or Notifications Off.
Apple Watch Podcasts app
Apple has designed the Apple Watch Podcasts app to look similar to the Music app. Your list of currently available podcast episodes (using cover art) scroll vertically. At the top of the screen, you’ll see a link for Library and On iPhone.
Under Library, you’ll see a list of unplayed episode titles organized by release date. There’s also a list showing each Podcast title. Click on any of these to see a list of episodes available on Apple Watch.
The On iPhone link on the Apple Watch Podcasts app allows you to remotely control the Podcasts iPhone app from your wearable device. Select from Listen Now, Shows, Episodes, or Stations.
There’s also a link for Now Playing, when applicable. This link appears when you’ve recently been listening to a podcast and it’s now paused.
How About Siri?
You can use Siri to find, start, and pause podcasts on your Apple Watch. This works well, even as a version 1.0 release. Although Podcast stations (non-subscribed) don’t show up on the Apple Watch Podcasts app library right now, you can do a search through Siri to find them.
It took a long time, but an Apple Watch Podcast app has finally become a reality in watchOS 5. Use the app on a run, while doing yard work, or just to relax. You’ll be happy you did.