Apple Watch video app gives new meaning to 'small screen' viewing | Cult of Mac

Apple Watch video app gives new meaning to ‘small screen’ viewing

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That YouTube guy is showing me how to make Pad Thai.
That YouTube guy is showing me how to make Pad Thai.
Photo: David Snow/Cult of Mac

Thanks to a new app called WatchTube, you can now play YouTube videos directly on your Apple Watch. A 2-inch OLED screen may not be your idea of a night at the cinema, but it’s not impossible to imagine the app being useful.

Now showing on ‘the small screen’: New WatchTube app lets you play YouTube videos on your Apple Watch

You can download the new WatchTube app directly from the watchOS App Store. Once it’s on your watch, you can simply open and then watch most YouTube videos.

There’s no complicated setup process. But then again, there’s not necessarily much of a viewing experience, either. How good did you think a landscape-oriented video would look on an Apple Watch screen, anyway?

My first couple attempts to watch music videos that surfaced high in the list of videos didn’t pan out. Loading time stretched on an on and twice resulted in generic “error” messages.

But soon I found a cooking video, so I ended up watching a guy show how he makes Pad Thai.

And that suggests the app’s usefulness — for times when you want something on video, but you don’t or can’t have another device handy.

Maybe you’re hanging off a mountain by ropes and you need to know how to loosen a certain type of knot. And you can’t reach your iPhone — or you definitely need both hands for that knot. Boom. WatchTube to the rescue.

WatchTube app sections

You’ll find four different sections in the app: Home, Search, Library and Settings. Similar to the official YouTube app, Home shows videos trending on the platform.

Or, if you prefer, you can choose to show a specific category of videos on the Home section.

The built-in search works by dictation or, if you have decent keyboard like that of the Apple Watch 7,  you can type. As with YouTube, WatchTube’s search highlights the top results for videos as well as channels.

You can also subscribe to channels and save videos to find them later in the Library tab. But given that the WatchTube library is only local, you can’t link it to your YouTube account. However, the app provides a QR Code so you can access and share a video on another device, like your iPhone or iPad.

Other features

WatchTube also supports video captions and lets you change the text size.

The developer said a future update will add audio-only mode. That will allow you to listen to songs on YouTube without having to keep the Apple Watch display turned on.

If you want to give WatchTube a try, you can download it for free on the App Store. The app requires an Apple Watch running watchOS 6 or later.

Where to download: App Store