You can finally stream YouTube Music to your Wear OS watch

YouTube Music on Wear OS now works as expected. Like The edge notes, Google’s music service now streams directly from its Wear OS app, whether you’re on LTE or WiFi. You’ll need to pair with an Android phone for full functionality (cellular streaming isn’t an option for iPhone users), and a Premium subscription is required regardless of platform. If you meet these criteria, you can leave your phone at home knowing you’ll always have access to all your tunes.

The upgrade also lets you add a YouTube Music thumbnail for quick access to the browse section or your most recent playlist. If you need offline listening, Smart Downloads will automatically refresh your watch library every time you’re connected to WiFi. The streaming update is expected to complete this week.

Streaming first-party music on Wear OS has been problematic, to put it mildly. Google Play Music was available on the platform, but the app was dropped when the company shut down the service in 2020 and switched to the YouTube offering. YouTube Music came to Wear OS (with offline playback only) in summer 2021, but it was initially limited to the Galaxy Watch 4 and didn’t come to Wear OS 2 devices until September of that year. You had to turn to Spotify and other third-party services for streaming, and in some cases that wasn’t an option at all.

There is, however, a lot of pressure to add streaming. Google is launching the Pixel Watch this fall with optional LTE, and it wouldn’t look good if you couldn’t stream the company’s music service to its official smartwatch. The improved YouTube Music app should ensure a consistent experience when the Pixel Wristband arrives, at least if you’re determined to go with an all-Google setup.

Victor L. Jones