Apple Watch Adventures

Music Play on the go

I am a very normal runner (10 km just for fun), so half of the pleasure of running is to listen music, podcasts, audiobooks, and other audio things. Apple did a great job in integrating its Music app between iPhone, computer and Watch, but in order to use their system you need to subscribe the Apple Music. I already have a Spotify subscription (for the family) so I do not want to have Apple Music and this motivates my research about a possible solution for the streaming problem on the Watch.


Screenshot Overcast

Overcast Website.

Overcast is a podcast player with a rich library of podcast stations, but this feature is available in many other applications (even the Apple Podcast, see below). The reason why Overcast is, in my opinion, the best solution for music is that it has the two characteristics that I was looking for:

In the iPhone application there is the setting Sync to Watch that allows the user to have up to 50 episodes transferred to the watch, that is more than enough for a normal outdoor activity.

Screenshot Overcast Sync to Watch

But the real good feature of Overcast is the possibility to add your own podcast. This means that the user can specify the URL of any site and the application will load the XML file. This opens the possibility to create a customized site with the songs that the user wants. In practice the idea is to make your own podcast with your own music, audiobooks etc. and stream it on the go with Overcast.

The structure of the XML file is quite simple:

<?xml version='1.0' encoding='UTF-8'?>
<rss xmlns:atom="" xmlns:content="" xmlns:dc="" xmlns:itunes="" version="2.0">
    <title>My Cool Music Library</title>
    <description>Fake podcast with my music</description>
    <lastBuildDate>Fri, 09 Oct 2020 13:01:40 +0000</lastBuildDate>
    <pubDate>Tue, 01 Sep 2020 10:58:07 +0100</pubDate>
    <itunes:image href=""/>
      <guid isPermaLink="false"></guid>
      <enclosure url="" length="20856581" type="audio/mpeg"/>
      <pubDate>Tue, 01 Sep 2020 10:58:07 +0100</pubDate>
      <guid isPermaLink="false"></guid>
      <enclosure url="" length="0" type="audio/mpeg"/>
      <pubDate>Tue, 01 Sep 2020 10:58:07 +0100</pubDate>

This file has to be hosted on some website together with the mp3 tracks, then in the Overcast application is enough to click on Add URL button in order to add the customized podcast. The tracks will be immediately available on the application and on the Apple Watch.


Streamlets Website

Screenshot Apple Podcast

This App allows to stream any sound stream that you want directly from the web without the use of the iPhone. This is similar to what the Apple Radio app does, but the main difference is that Streamlets uses the Radio Browser as source for its streams, this means that if your favorite stream is not available in the app you can add it through the API of Radio Browser. Together with Overcast, Streamlets is the perfect music companion for any outdoor activity.

Apple Podcast

Apple Podcast Website

Screenshot Apple Podcast

The Podcast application from Apple is the only music component of the Cupertino’s company that does not require a subscription to Apple Music in order to synch iPhone with Apple Watch. The application allows to play the episodes without the iPhone and the library is very rich in contents (they claim 1 million shows). Unfortunately you cannot add your custom website, so you cannot have your own music on it, and this is basically the reason why I discarded it in favour of Overcast. But if you are fine with the selection of Apple in terms of podcasts (and you are not interested in listening your own music) this is a good alternative.


Spotify Website

Screenshot Apple Podcast

Update 8th November 2020

Spotify enabled the beta testing of its new feature for the streaming directly from the watch. This is a game changer, now the App can work alone without the need of the phone and stream all your favourite music directly from your wrist. So everything said in this article is no longer valid and Spotify enters in my list of must have application for the music with the Apple Watch. Well done Spotify!

Old post

When the Nobel Prize for disappointment will be created, I will candidate for sure the Spotify application for the Apple Watch. Seriously, what was in the head of the author? Basically it is a remote control for another device. If you have your Spotify running on your Mac you can adjust the volume from the Watch. Great, isn’t it?

The application is mostly useless and from a company that managed to transform piracy in a business model I expected a completely different mindset for a device like the Apple Watch. So with this in mind I was considering to contact them and ask if they had better plans for the future of this application, but then I found this article: Spotify finally testing Apple Watch streaming support with some users.

So maybe the Swedish company will release soon a new application; in that case I will update this post.