watchOS 5 introduces a new Podcasts app for Apple Watch, which is designed to let you listen to your favorite podcasts on the watch without the need for the iPhone.

Streaming podcasts works over Wi-Fi or a cellular connection, and you can also use the Podcasts app to play podcasts from a connected iPhone if desired.

Using the Podcasts App on Apple Watch

As with Apple Music, when using Podcasts on the Apple Watch, you will need to have a pair of AirPods or other Bluetooth headphones paired to your Apple Watch.

Once Bluetooth headphones are paired, you will need to tap on the Podcasts icon, which looks like a radio antenna on a field of purple, much like the Podcasts app icon on the iPhone. You can also ask Siri to open it.

The Podcasts app will open up to the most recent podcast among the podcasts you're subscribed to, and you can play it by tapping on it.

applewatchpodcasts
Music controls are available by scrolling with the Digital Crown or swiping and tapping on "Now Playing."

Viewing Your Library

To view your library of subscribed podcasts, follow these steps:

podcastlibraryapplewatch

  1. Open the Podcasts app.
  2. Scroll down with the Digital Crown or Swipe to get to the list of app options.
  3. Choose "Library."

The Library section of the Podcasts app will let you see all of the different podcasts that you subscribe to in the "Shows" section, and individual episodes in the "Episodes" section.

Scroll through each section using a swipe on the Apple Watch's face or the Digital Crown.

Adding New Podcast Subscriptions

To add new podcast subscriptions on the Apple Watch, you'll need to know the name of the podcast you want to add. You can subscribe using Siri, with a command like "Hey Siri, subscribe to Reply All" or Hey Siri, subscribe to The Daily podcast."

If you would rather listen to a podcast or a specific podcast without subscribing to it, you can ask Siri to play it with commands like "Hey Siri, Play Reply All," or "Hey Siri, Play episode 21 of The Daily."

applewatchsiripodcasts
Outside of subscribing to new podcasts using Siri, there is no way to browse through podcast content on the Apple Watch. If you want to find new podcasts to listen to, you'll need to use the Podcasts app on iPhone.

Offline Usage

Podcasts that are listed in the episodes section of the Podcasts app are downloaded to the Apple Watch and can be listened to even without a cellular or WiFi connection. According to Apple, podcasts are downloaded when the Apple Watch is connected to power and placed near the iPhone.

After an episode has been played, it will be removed from the Apple Watch to make room for new episodes.

Controlling Podcasts on iPhone From Apple Watch

If your phone is connected to your Apple Watch and there's a podcast playing, you'll see an "On Phone" section in the Apple Watch Podcasts app and there will be a little red icon on the Apple Watch's face.

podcastsiphonecontrols
If you tap on the "On iPhone" section in the Podcasts app, you'll see options for "Now Playing" with controls for the current content, a "Listen Now" section that shows recent podcasts, a "Shows" section that displays all of the shows you subscribe to, an "Episodes" section that displays all of the available episodes, and a "Stations" section that displays Podcasts stations created on iPhone.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 7
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)
Related Forum: Apple Watch

Top Rated Comments

pjfanelli Avatar
45 months ago
Can you download podcasts to the watch to play without an iPhone or cellular connection? This post does not seem to say so.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
name99 Avatar
45 months ago
Am I reading this right? It’s only streaming? So if I don’t have a cellular Apple Watch I still need my bloody phone!
Apple appear to have in mind that they will "automatically" sync audio with the watch so it's cached on the watch; but they seem to make it impossible (or very clumsy) to force a sync of the phone to the watch.
(There is already something similar with Music where you can, in principle, sync a playlist from your Phone to be cached on your Watch; but everything about this feature is so moronically designed that it's practically unusable.)

The thinking behind it seems astonishingly stupid, like they simply cannot imagine that users might be pissed off if they cannot be SURE that their content is on the watch, and then run out of content while away from their phone.

To me it looks like one of these crazy Apple ideas where some idiot designer loses all contact with reality. Usually they fix them (eventually) but we may have a year or two of this idiocy before sanity prevails.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jclo Avatar
45 months ago
Can you download podcasts to the watch to play without an iPhone or cellular connection? This post does not seem to say so.
Sorry, I'll add a section. It does appear to download podcasts onto the Apple Watch so that they can be listened to without a connection. I was able to listen to saved podcasts in my episodes list with airplane mode turned on. I don't see a way to force a download, but it downloads new episodes when connected to power.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
northernbaldy Avatar
45 months ago
It seems Apple balanced what is easy in a tiny screen versus battery life. So many false things in the comments... I don’t even want to start. Yes, you can create your own audio files and sync them. Yes, you can save podcasts to the watch without “streaming”. You all need help
You need help!
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

Upcoming Products 2022 Feature

Gurman: Apple Preparing 'Widest Array of New Hardware Products in Its History' for Fall

Sunday January 23, 2022 10:32 am PST by
Apple is working on a number of new products that are set to launch this fall, and Bloomberg's Mark Gurman says that it will be "the widest array" of new devices that Apple has introduced in its history. In his latest "Power On" newsletter, Gurman explains that Apple is working on four new flagship iPhones (iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Max, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max), an updated low-end Ma...
Questionable Design Decisions

Apple's Most Questionable Design Decisions in Recent Memory

Sunday January 23, 2022 2:59 am PST by
Apple has always emphasized the depth of thought that goes into the design of its products. In the foreword to Designed by Apple in California, a photo book released by the company in 2016, Jony Ive explains how Apple strives "to define objects that appear effortless" and "so simple, coherent and inevitable that there could be no rational alternative." But every once in a while even Apple...
macbook pro 14 16 2021

Three Months After Launch, Apple Still Struggling to Meet Demand for Redesigned 14-Inch and 16-Inch MacBook Pro

Monday January 24, 2022 7:12 am PST by
Three months after their launch, the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros continue to experience high demand and seemingly short supply, with shipping dates for both models stretching into multiple weeks in several of Apple's key markets. In the United States, the baseline 14-inch MacBook Pro with the M1 Pro chip is estimated to ship in three to four weeks, promising an arrival by at least...
att gigabit internet

AT&T Bringing $180/Month 5-Gigabit Internet to 70 Cities

Monday January 24, 2022 9:20 am PST by
AT&T today announced the launch of upgraded AT&T Fiber plans, which support speeds of up to 5 Gigabits for some customers. There are two separate plans, one "2 GIG" plan and one "5 GIG" plan, available to new and existing AT&T Fiber subscribers. According to AT&T, the new plans are available to nearly 5.2 million customers across 70 metro areas including Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, San...
airpodsinear 1

AirPods Save Woman's Life With Feature Everyone Should Know

Friday January 21, 2022 2:13 am PST by
Apple's AirPods have been credited with saving a woman's life after a potentially fatal fall, People reports. When a 60-year-old florist in New Jersey tripped and hit her head in her studio, she lost consciousness and awoke heavily bleeding. With nobody around to call for help, she realized she had her AirPods in, and used a "Hey Siri" command to call 911. An operator was able to stay on the ...
AirPods Pro Gen 3 Mock Feature ugly yellow

AirPods Pro 2 Could Beat AirPods Max Sound Quality

Monday January 24, 2022 2:15 am PST by
Apple's second-generation AirPods Pro could deliver higher fidelity audio than the AirPods Max over-ear headphones, despite being comparatively small in-ear buds, recent reports have suggested. In a recent note to investors, seen by MacRumors, TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed that the second-generation AirPods Pro will offer improved audio quality thanks to support...
iCloud General Feature

Developers Unhappy With Bug Causing iCloud Unreliability

Monday January 24, 2022 10:15 am PST by
A number of developers are upset with an increasingly problematic iCloud server issue that is causing some apps that have implemented iCloud support to fail to sync properly. As outlined on the Developer Forums and on Twitter, there are CloudKit connectivity issues that have been occurring since November. Some users of apps that have iCloud support built in are seeing the following message:...
top stories 2022jan22

Top Stories: Spring Apple Event Rumors, Apple Opposes Sideloading, and More

Saturday January 22, 2022 6:00 am PST by
As we roll into the latter half of January, we're starting to hear more about a potential spring Apple event, which is likely to take place in March or April. There are a number of potential announcements on deck, so an event would be a good opportunity for Apple to get them all out there. We've also been going back and forth on some iPhone 14 rumors, and we've taken a look at a number of...