The wait is finally over, support for standalone streaming has come to Pandora’s app for Apple Watch. The company announced today that the official launch of its new standalone app for Apple Watch lets you listen to music and podcasts on the go, even without iPhone. The launch makes Pandora the first major third-party app to offer a standalone app for Apple Watch.
To be clear, Pandora is not the first non-Apple music service to offer an Apple Watch app. Spotify launched its own Watch app in 2018. However, Spotify’s app still needs to be connected to the iPhone in order to work.
Pandora’s new app, on the other hand, lets iPhone users leave their phone behind as it supports both streaming and offline downloads.
Pandora’s app takes advantage of the new streaming APIs that Apple introduced last year at its annual developer conference that lets developers create independent audio consumption experiences that no longer need to depend on the iPhone.
This means users can directly go to the App Store on the Apple Watch to download the watch and start streaming. Even without an iPhone, users can play, pause and skip songs; pick up where they left off on podcasts; thumbs-up their favorite music; adjust the volume; and more.
Meanwhile, offline listening is available only to Pandora Plus or Premium paying subscribers, which lets you save tracks for offline play. This is helpful if you’re in an area where you have a poor connection or none at all, like on an airplane or underground train, for instance.
Because the app relies on Apple’s new streaming APIs to offer standalone streaming, it requires watchOS 6 to work. This version of Apple Watch software is available to Apple Watch Series 1 and higher users, but only those on Apple Watch Series 3 and higher will have access to standalone streaming, per Apple’s requirements..
As of today, the updated Apple Watch app should be available to all in the U.S.