Sunday, January 25, 2015

How to get music on your Android Wear smartwatch

Enjoy listening to music straight from your device

Android Wear devices can now store your music, so you can still get access to your favourite tunes when you go for a jog around the park. But how do you get your music on your smartwatch, and how do you link up your headphones to listen to them?
Essential readingTop smartwatches for 2015
We've got down and dirty with our Android Wear smartwatch to show you how. Whether you're using an LG G Watch, Moto 360 or Sony SmartWatch 3, here's our guide to getting music on your device.

1. Update the apps


The only app you're going to be able to do this with (for the time being at least) is Google's own Play Music. Make sure you're running the latest version of it on your Android device (the Play Store app will tell you), as well as the most recent version of Android Wear – go to Settings then About on your smartwatch to check.

2. Activate offline listening


'Offline listening' means the music is cached on your smartwatch to listen to even when your phone isn't around. To enable this feature, you need to flick a switch inside the Play Music app on your smartphone or tablet: tap Settings from the app menu then tick the box marked Download to Android Wear to activate it.

3. Choose your songs


Unfortunately there's no way to download songs just to your phone or just to your smartwatch – anything you select is downloaded to both devices, so bear this in mind (4GB of storage is the usual amount for Android Wear watches). Use the orange pin buttons in Play Music to store selected tracks and albums on your watch.

4. Sync the music


The syncing should happen automatically once you've activated the right setting in Play Music and picked some songs to download – if not, make sure that your smartwatch is properly connected to your smartphone. A notification on the watch itself will keep you up to date with the progress of the music transfer.

5. Find some headphones


All the Android Wear devices on the market today use Bluetooth to connect up a pair of headphones, so you're going to need to get yourself a set. The supplied instructions will tell you how to get the headphones in pairing mode, at which point you're ready to redirect your attention back to your watch.

6. Make the connection


Head into the Android Wear Settings screen on your smartwatch then choose Bluetooth devices. At this stage the watch will automatically scan for nearby Bluetooth kit, and it should pick up the headphones while they're in pairing mode – select the headphones when they appear to complete the connection.

7. Play some music


You can access Play Music from the main Android Wear menu (tap the screen then tap the red Google logo) or by saying "play music" when your smartwatch is listening. There are two options – playing music on your phone or playing it on your watch – and the most recent one will be selected by default.

8. Change modes


If you don't want to use Play Music in its current mode, tap the large cross icon before the app launches and you'll be given the chance to change it. If the music is being played on your phone then you still have the opportunity to control it from your wrist, so you'll probably want to switch modes regularly.

9. Control playback


Once playback starts you'll see a small widget appear on the Android Wear watch face that lets you pause and resume playback. Swipe this up to see the current track then swipe left to access volume and track skipping controls. Swipe left again and choose More music to access the full track listing and the shuffle option.

10. Troubleshoot problems


Bluetooth isn't the most reliable of technologies, so if you run into problems then resetting your devices or starting again from scratch will usually be enough to clear them up. Testing your headphones with another device (like your laptop) can help you determine whether problems are caused by the headphones or your smartwatch.

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