How to watch videos on your Apple Watch by sending them through the Messages app

  • You can watch video on an Apple Watch, as long as it’s embedded in a text message.
  • You can’t watch YouTube or other streaming video on your Apple Watch. 
  • When you get a video via the Messages app, you can tap to play and pause, and control the volume with the Digital Crown. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Despite all the capabilities of an Apple Watch, it’s not very good at playing video. 

There’s no YouTube app for the watch, for example, and for the most part, you can’t watch videos on your wrist. 

But there is one significant exception — you can play videos embedded in SMS and iMessages.

Here’s how to do it.  

How to watch videos on an Apple Watch

1. To watch a video on your Apple Watch, it must be a video file that’s embedded in a text message (SMS or iMessage). It can’t be a link (like a YouTube URL), and it can only be sent via a message. You can receive a message from someone else or you can send a video in a text message to yourself from your iPhone. 

2. When you receive the message, tap the video thumbnail. The video should start to play.

video 1

If you get a video embedded in a text message, just tap it to play.
Dave Johnson/Business Insider

3. Tap the screen to pause the video. Tap again to resume playback. 

video 2

Tapping the screen toggles the video playback between play and pause.
Dave Johnson/Business Insider

4. You can adjust the volume with the Digital Crown.

5. When you’re finished, tap “Done.”

You can return to the message in your Messages app to watch the video again later. 

Unfortunately, you can’t play video from a link on your Apple Watch. If you try, you’ll generally get a message that says your browser does not currently recognize the video file. 

video 3

You can’t play YouTube or other streaming videos on the Apple Watch.
Dave Johnson/Business Insider

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