How to set up and change your Workout Playlist on Apple Watch

Now Playing screen on Workout app Apple Watch

Whether you’re working on your cardio or strength training, no workout is truly complete if you don’t have an awesome playlist to go along with it. 

Creating a music playlist for your gym activity is a fun way to make working out more enjoyable. And if you have an Apple Watch, you can set up a workout playlist on your smartwatch that automatically plays whenever you start a workout! Pretty cool, right? 

Not many people know about this awesome feature, so keep reading to learn how to set up and change a workout playlist on Apple Watch. 

Suggested reading:

How to set up an Apple Watch workout playlist for automatic playbackWorkout Playlist for Apple Watch Workout app

Apple Watch’s Workout app offers a cool feature that automatically starts playing one of your Music app’s playlists whenever you start a workout!

But it’s not a feature that’s on by default, so you need first to choose the playlist you want to play automatically when working out.

For whatever reason, you can only set a Workout app Playlist using the Watch app on your iPhone. It is not available on your watch’s Settings app > Workout app.

The first step is to make your playlist in the Apple Music app on your phone!

  1. In the Music app and in the Libray tab, tap Playlists. Playlists Apple Music
  2. Select New Playlist. Add a new playlist to Apple Music app
  3. Give it a name, add a picture for your playlist if you want, then scroll down and tap Add Music to add your favorite songs, artists or albums to listen to when you work out. Apple Music app add music to a new playlist
  4. When finished, press Done.
  5. Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone when your playlist is set up.
  6. Make sure you are in the My Watch tab, then scroll to Workoutworkout settings on iPhone watch app
  7. Scroll down until you see Workout Playlist and tap that. If you never set a playlist, it shows up as None. iPhone Watch app settings for Workout app and workout playlist
  8. After you click on that, all of your Apple Music playlists pop up. choose a workout playlist apple watch
  9. Choose which playlist you want to use for your workout playlist and tap it. Make sure there is a checkmark next to your playlist’s name. Then you’re set! 
  10. Now, that playlist starts automatically playing on your Apple Watch when you start a workout using the watch’s Workout app won’t get interrupted if won’t get interrupted if you start the Workout app and are already listening to music or another audio a. 
    1. Your selected playlist only plays if you aren’t actively listening to something else.

At this time, you can only choose one playlist as your workout playlist. However, you can change the selected playlist at any time by revisiting these settings.

Plus, you can temporarily change which playlist plays inside the Workout app–so you aren’t limited to just listening to that one selected playlist over and over again. 

When using the Workout app, just swipe left to the Now Playing screen and change what playlist is currently playing.

How to control music from your Apple Watch’s Workout app

now playing workout tab

Now that you have your playlist on your Apple Watch, how can you control it? Well, it’s simple with the Apple Watch’s Workout app!

During a workout, swipe left to the Now Playing screen to access the Now Playing controls, including play, pause, and menus to change the playlist.

From the Workout app’s Now Playing screen, you can pretty much do anything! You can pause, skip, change songs or playlists, adjust volume, shuffle/repeat songs, see what’s playing next, and more. Music controls in Now Playing in the Workout app

  • Press the middle list icon to choose shuffle and repeat or scroll down to see the list of songs in your playlist queue. Appel Watch Workout app Now Playing queue
  • Press the More button (three dots) for additional options, including changing the playlist. Apple Watch Workout app change Now Playing playlist
    1. To change the playlist, tap View Playlist. Then tap on the back arrow button next to the name of your current playlist. Apple Watch Workout app change playlist
    2. Choose Library. Music app Library on Apple Watch
    3. Select a different playlist and tap the Play button to start playback. Playlists in Apple Watch Music app

You can also tap the Now Playing app to access these same controls! The Now Playing app lets you control audio playback directly from your Apple Watch, so there’s no need to open your iPhone or other Apple device. 

Workout app playlist autoplay not working on your Apple Watch?

If you start a workout with the Watch’s Workout app and your playlist doesn’t start playing, check if you have an audio or music app already open.

When you have another music or other audio app open, the workout playlist often fails to autoplay.

And remember that by design, your workout playlist won’t ever play if you are already listening to music/audio.

So try closing all your music/audio apps on your watch, then restart it and initiate a workout. See if it works.

If not, we suggest your unpair and re-pair your watch, then restore it from that recent backup. Unpairing/re-pairing often helps with issues and bugs like this.

Things to keep in mind

It is important to remember that the Workout Playlist feature on Apple Watch only works with Apple Music. It does not apply to any other music or audio apps. 

Also, if you have a podcast or audiobook already playing before you start your workout, your Apple Watch will not automatically start your workout playlist. 

If you don’t like using Apple’s workout app, you can still listen to music while you work out with your Apple Watch.

You can directly go to the Music app on your watch and select something to listen to or ask Siri to play you something!

Pro tip! Make sure you have your favorite wireless headphones already connected to your Apple Watch. That way, you don’t need to have your iPhone on you while you exercise.

Final thoughts

For me, it’s not a good workout if I don’t have my Working On My Fitness playlist going! I love using my Apple Watch to listen to music while I exercise. It’s perfect when I take my outdoor walk or do some Pilates. 

The workout playlist feature on the Apple Watch makes things so much easier for me. I don’t have to worry about remembering to start both my workout and music. It all happens at the same time! Plus, it’s so easy to change if need be.

I only dislike that if you had another form of audio playing previously (for me, it’s a podcast), your music doesn’t automatically play, which is super frustrating. 

But other than that, it’s a great and helpful feature! 


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