Now that Samsung’s Galaxy 4 watches are here, you can bet we’ll start seeing some long-overdue updates to third-party Wear OS apps—and Spotify is kicking things off. The popular music streaming app has announced that it’s rolling out the ability to stream and download offline music and podcasts to Wear OS smartwatches.
“With this new feature, Premium users will be able to download their favorite albums, playlists, and podcasts to listen offline,” Spotify said in a blog. “Free users will be able to stream their tunes in Shuffle Mode using a wifi or cellular connection, as well as download any of their favorite podcasts directly to the watch.”
To access offline downloads, first, make sure you’re running the latest version on your watch and phone. When you find the content you want to download, you can tap “Download to watch.” You can check progress in the watch’s Downloads section and fully completed downloads will have a small green arrow next to them. You might have to wait a little bit before this becomes available, however, as the feature hasn’t fully rolled out yet.
It’s not a huge surprise that Spotify is revamping its Wear OS offerings. Earlier this year, Spotify also added offline playlists to the Apple Watch, which folks had been requesting for what seemed like a century. Also, Spotify previously worked with Samsung to offer offline downloads on its Tizen watches. Given Google’s renewed Wear OS push and the fact that third-party developers are getting more support on the platform, now is as good a time as any.
Previously, Spotify’s Wear OS app functioned more like a glorified remote control. It’s clear Spotify is doing this rollout now to coincide with the launch of the new unified Wear OS, but the good news is Wear OS 2 users will also get this update. Specifically, Spotify’s announcement specified that Fossil, Mobvoi, and Suunto watches would be getting the update in the coming weeks. This is incredibly clutch. With the removal of Google Play Music, Wear OS 2 users have been left without a music streaming option that allows for offline playlists for months. Also, Google announced five new experiences for Samsung’s Galaxy 4 watches, Wear OS 2 users will reportedly not be getting the YouTube Music app when it launches later this year. The company hasn’t said it will never come to Wear OS 2, but those plans have not yet been confirmed yet. Google said they will, however, get a revamped Google Pay, Messages by Google, and several other third-party apps and Tiles.
Honestly, the transition to Wear OS 3 will likely be a little messy—especially since eligible non-Samsung smartwatches won’t be getting the update until next year. However, after several years of stagnation, you love to see Wear OS get some love from third-party developers.
Update, 08/12/2021, 1:00pm: Added clarification from Google that while YouTube Music isn’t rolling out today to Wear OS 2, that doesn’t not necessarily mean it won’t in the future.