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How to watch YouTube on your Apple Watch — if you really want to

Image of an Apple Watch on a man's wrist with many different app icons on the watch screen
(Image credit: DenPhotos/Shutterstock)

As the best smartwatch you can buy, the Apple Watch allows us to do quite a bit with a few swishes and taps right on our wrists. In addition to making calls, texting and listening to music or podcasts, you can now screen YouTube videos right there on the tiny display.

No, YouTube doesn’t have its own Apple Watch app yet. But there is a third-party app called WatchTube that opens up YouTube to Apple Watch owners.

WatchTube (opens in new tab) is completely free to download on the App Store — you'll need a watch that's on watchOS 6 or later — and it's pretty neat how the app was able to replicate so many of YouTube's interface features, including Search. The app will let you watch just about any video you like.

There are some quirks to WatchTube. You can't sync up your Google account — remember, this is a third-party app. Instead, the app shows a list of trending YouTube videos. You can jump between four sections on WatchTube — Home, Search, Library and Settings. In the Home section there are trending videos and you can select a specific category of videos for the Home page as well. 

The search on the app works well, especially with the Apple Watch Series 7 keyboard. You can also use dictation or the watch's message scribble feature to search for videos.

The videos do look small on the screen, particularly at the standard 16:9 aspect ratio. You can change the aspect ratio, but that sometimes can shrink them further.

After all, the screen on the Apple Watch is still pretty small for videos. The Apple Watch 7 pushed the boundaries with its screen, by offering 50% more display on the same 45mm size than the Apple Watch 3, but that's a long way from serving as an ideal screen for watching videos. There's likely a reason there's no official YouTube app for the Apple Watch after all this time.

Image of screenshots of WatchTube app on Apple Watch

(Image credit: Future)

WatchTube is a bit slow to load. I tried watching videos on my Apple Watch SE and found that the Home page took ages to fully load and then it took even longer to load a specific video. The audio works well though — you can listen through AirPods or even through the built in speakers on the Apple Watch. 

Will WatchTube make it to our guide on the best Apple Watch apps in 2022? Probably not, but that doesn't mean it isn't a a neat no-frills app that serves a specific purpose. And hey, it is 2022 so if you want your Apple Watch to really do it all, viewing videos can now be part of the mix.

Sanjana loves all things tech. From the latest phones, to quirky gadgets and the best deals, she's in sync with it all. Based in Atlanta, she is the news editor at Tom's Guide. Previously, she produced India's top technology show for NDTV and has been a tech news reporter on TV. Outside work, you can find her on a tennis court or sipping her favorite latte in instagrammable coffee shops in the city. Her work has appeared on NDTV Gadgets 360 and CNBC.