How to Sync Music from iTunes to an Apple Watch

Although most functions on the Apple Watch require the watch to be in close proximity to the iPhone that it’s paired with, you can copy a single playlist to an Apple Watch from the iPhone and then listen to it using Bluetooth headphones with the watch, even if the iPhone is out of range.

Sync music apple watchAlthough you don’t sync music directly from iTunes to the Apple Watch, it’s useful to prepare for this transfer in iTunes.

I recommend that you create a special playlist for the Apple Watch in your iTunes library. I’ve done so, naming it, appropriately, Apple Watch. When I want to change the music on my wrist computer, I alter the content of that playlist. You could use any playlist, but you may not have enough music in many of your playlists to satisfy your iPhone-less listening needs.

You sync the playlist from your computer to your iPhone’s Music app–or it will sync automatically if you use iCloud Music Library. You can then copy it from your iPhone to the watch with the Apple Watch app on the iPhone. Open that app and tap Music.

The Music screen has two playlist-related options, which you can change at any time:

Synced Playlist: Tap here to pick a playlist from the Music app, such as the one you’ve set up especially for the Apple Watch in iTunes.

Playlist Limit: Tap this option to set how much of the Apple Watch’s 8 GB is used for music:

  • Tap Storage to select whether you want your Apple Watch to hold 100 MB, 500 MB, 1 GB, or 2 GB of music. This is an upper limit; if the playlist doesn’t reach that amount, the iPhone won’t add music to fill up the rest of that space.
  • Tap Songs to select 15, 50, 125, or 250 songs. Frankly, 15 songs isn’t much; it’s a bit more than the average album. 250 songs gives you plenty of leeway. Since you can alter the contents of your selected playlist in iTunes, I suggest that you pick 250 for now. In the future, if your watch fills with apps competing for space, you can lower the limit.

Note: Copying music to an Apple Watch is slow, since it’s done over Bluetooth, so don’t transfer a new playlist with a lot of music before running, if you’re in a hurry to get moving.