YouTube Music is reportedly coming to Garmin watches with offline playback

If you’re a YouTube Music user who’s frustrated with not being able to use your account on your fitness watch, there’s potentially good news – an unconfirmed report says Google is developing YouTube Music apps for a glut of third-party devices, including the best Garmin watches.

The report, originally published by 9to5Google, stated that a YouTube Music app will be made available on Garmin’s ConnectIQ third-party app store, although the report doesn’t specify when the app will be launched. The app is expected to be able ot play music without connecting to your phone, either via downloadable playlists for offline playback, or over the watch’s LTE connection. 

This is good news for Apple users too. At the moment, YouTube Music’s legacy Apple Watch app doesn’t allow for offline music storage, but if a Garmin app with this functionality is in the pipeline it’s likely the Apple Watch app will get an update with similar features.

The Garmin app is reportedly part of a wider push to get YouTube Music apps onto a slate of third-party devices such as Sonos speakers and Apple TV. At WWDC 2023, YouTube Music was shown to be supported on Apple’s HomePod, so it seems Google is pushing the service hard as a potential competitor to the likes of Spotify and Tidal. Who knows? Perhaps it might soon find its way onto our list of the best music streaming services very soon. 

 Analysis: offline is key 

(Image credit: Google LLC)

Garmin watches, especially premium models such as the Garmin Fenix 7 and Garmin Forerunner 265, are designed to offer maximum functionality independent of a phone. With full-color GPS maps, music storage, and emergency contact notification tools such as LiveTrack, you’re able to head out the door without your phone in your pocket or strapped to your arm. 

Consequently, any YouTube Music app for Garmin must have offline or LTE-only play front and center in order to see any real use on the watch. After all, what would be the point of creating an app which relies on phone connectivity for Garmin users if they want the option to leave their phone at home?

That’s why it’s encouraging to hear, even unofficially, that this feature is being developed for YouTube Music. If that’s the case, it’s likely to also materialize as an update for the best Apple Watches too. 

Apple never releases stats about which apps are most and least used on its devices, but we can’t imagine YouTube Music gets much use on the watch except perhaps as a showy remote control. If the rumors are true, the app could turn out to be extremely popular, and YouTube Music users may want to invest in a really good set of the best running headphones. 

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