Pandora releases an Apple Watch app with offline playback as a paid-for feature

Pandora yesterday released a brand-new Apple Watch app that beat Spotify to the punch by including offline playback capability. It offers other perks, too, such as the ability to access remote playback controls and favorite songs from the Now Playing screen, and more.

With offline playback, Apple Watch customers can listen to Pandora songs and playlists even when their device doesn’t have an internet connection. Offline playback, however, is a paid-for feature that requires a Pandora Plus or Premium subscription, a $4.99 per month value.

Spotify’s Apple Watch app doesn’t yet offer offline listening capabilities.

The Verge notes that direct music streaming through the cellular connection on LTE-enabled Apple Watch models is unfortunately not possible like with Apple Music. The publication underscored that Pandora’s watchOS app takes advantage of the entire display on the latest Apple Watch Series 4 models whereas Spotify’s app still doesn’t.

Here’s how the offline feature works:

When you first open the Apple Watch app, you’ll see text saying that Pandora will automatically sync music when in close proximity to your iPhone. After a few minutes, my Thumbprint Radio playlist made its way over, but it’s not entirely clear how to choose what music is stored on the Apple Watch.

Released as an update to Pandora’s iOS app, the new watchOS component requires any Apple Watch model as long as it’s powered by watchOS 5.0 or later.

You can download Pandora from App Store for free.