Spotify's Apple Watch app lacks one big feature: you can't stream or download songs directly for later playback . The Watch app is just a remote control for Spotify on your phone, computer or smart speaker. The wind is blowing, but hopefully Spotify will add the functions soon, because with WatchOS 6 it is now theoretically possible.
But until Spotify upgrades its app, the only choice is to compromise. Here are your options:
Keep your iPhone nearby
The Spotify Watch app is really good – if your iPhone is nearby. You can use it to select tracks, control playback (even with Siri), and do anything else you want. Except of course playing music.
You have to use Bluetooth headphones with your Apple Watch anyway, so if you're going for a run, bike ride, hike, or workout at the gym, store your phone in a small bag or pocket. Of course it's not ideal, but at least it means you can still listen to all your favorite Spotify playlists.
If you really don't want to keep your iPhone handy, then you have to make some bigger compromises
Try Apple Music
It's not surprising that Apple Music is by far the best integrated streaming service with the Apple Watch. Both the music and radio apps are fully featured and work as you would expect. Download songs to your Apple Watch and they are available for offline playback whenever you want. Or, if you have an LTE watch, just play and stream music as normal.
The downside of this is that Apple Music is not Spotify. It doesn't have your existing library, listening history, saved songs, or user-generated playlists. It's a great music streaming service, but not the one you're currently using.
But that can change. Apple Music offers a three-month free trial to new subscribers and the occasional one-month free trial for people who have tried it before but have not signed up.
After the free trial, Apple Music costs $ 9.99 / month, the same as Spotify, so it's probably a bit crazy to keep paying for two services that do almost exactly the same thing. It's up to you to decide if streaming and offline playback on your watch is worth switching streaming service.
If you decide to move, go to Soundiiz. It's a free service that can transfer your Spotify playlists and songs to Apple Music, so you don't have to start all over again.
Go to the old school and buy MP3s or rip CDs
Like most people I know, I only switched to streaming music. I grew up just when the iPod got off the ground, so I never really had a huge CD collection, but I did have a large MP3 library. If you're in the same boat, it might be time to break it out again.
Spotify is very useful, but if you only want to listen to music while training, you don't need your full library. There's no reason you can't go to old school and put together a small exclusive collection of special training tracks on your watch. I really enjoyed revisiting my old MP3 collection and putting together a playlist of songs I used about 15 years ago. It is a serious legacy!
The easiest way to create playlists for your Apple Watch is with the Music app on a Mac or iPhone or iTunes on a PC. Then to sync the playlists to your Apple Watch, open the Watch app on your iPhone and go to Music, add music and select the playlists you want. Put your Apple Watch on the charger and let it do its thing. It may take a while for the songs to transfer, so it's best to leave it overnight.
The Apple Watch continues to grow as a platform, so there is some hope that Spotify will release a fully featured version app over the next two years. Until then, you have to decide which compromise works best for you.