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Wear OS users can finally stream music on the YouTube Music app

Wear OS users can finally stream music on the YouTube Music app

After a long wait, Wear OS users can now use the YouTube Music app to stream their tunes over Wi-Fi and LTE. And, as a bonus, users can also add the app as a widget for quick access to a recently played playlist or YouTube Music's browse page.

In a user community post, Google says that you will be able to access 80 million songs through the app. On top of ad-free streaming, the app supports Google's Smart Downloads feature that automatically refreshes downloaded songs to your Wear OS watch when connected to Wi-Fi. There are some caveats. For example, you must be a member of YouTube Music Premium. Also, cellular streaming is not available for iOS Wear OS 2 users.

There were several twists and turns on the way to the Wear OS YouTube Music app. In 2020, Google announced that it would be shutting down Google Play Music - the only country music streaming app on Wear OS. And while users could migrate their playlists to YouTube Music, there wasn't a readily available YouTube Music app for Wear OS. This essentially leaves Wear OS users with few options if they want offline playback. (Spotify's Wear OS app at the time was little more than a glorified remote control.) To add insult to injury, Google preferred to make a YouTube Music app for the Apple Watch.

YouTube Music didn't launch on Wear OS until Samsung launched the Galaxy Watch 4 lineup last summer — and, first of all, it was Wear OS 3 exclusive. However, Google rolled out the app for Wear OS 2 watches powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 4100 chips almost a month later. That said, it was limited to offline playback only. This latest update basically closes the loop, making YouTube Music a full-fledged music streaming app for smartwatches.

The timing of this update is not surprising. Last week at its annual I/O event, Google confirmed that it would be launching the Pixel Watch in the fall. The company also highlighted more app options on Wear OS 3, which includes many of Google's own services, such as Google Wallet and Google Home. Google and Samsung also recently announced Google Assistant — yet another long-awaited Wear OS 3 feature — would finally arrive sometime this summer. All in all, you may see this update as part of Google's bigger preparations for the Pixel Watch.

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