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How to stop Apple Watch from launching Now Playing

Apple Music playing on Apple Watch
Apple Music playing on Apple Watch (Image credit: iMore)

The Now Playing app on the Apple Watch offers quick access to controls for your music and other audio on your Apple devices, particularly your iPhone. But by default, Now Playing pops up automatically, and that can get really annoying, especially if you're trying to keep an eye on a timer and your Apple Watch keeps switching over to Now Playing. I mean, would it kill you to prioritize, Apple Watch? But I digress.

If you're similarly annoyed by the incessancy with which the Now Playing app behaves, there are solutions for keeping it from launching automatically.

How to stop Now Playing from launching on your Apple Watch

  1. Press the Digital Crown on your Apple Watch.
  2. Tap Settings on the list of apps or in the grid view.
  3. Tap General.

  1. Tap Wake Screen.
  2. Tap the switch next to Auto-Launch Audio Apps so it's in the gray "off" position.

How to stop Now Playing from launching on your Apple Watch using your iPhone

Of course, you can also turn off auto-launching audio apps using the Watch app on the iPhone paired with your Apple Watch.

  1. Open the Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap General.

  1. Tap Wake Screen.
  2. Tap the switch next to Auto-Launch Audio Apps so it's in the black "off" position.

Great accessories for your Apple Watch

Here are some accessories that will go great with your Apple Watch.

Apple AirPods

Apple AirPods (Image credit: Apple)
(opens in new tab)

Apple AirPods (opens in new tab) ($160 at Apple)

AirPods quickly connect to your devices, and with the latest generation earphones, switching them over to your Apple Watch is faster than ever.

Marge Plus leather band

MARGE PLUS Genuine Leather Watch Strap (Image credit: Marge Plus)
(opens in new tab)

Marge Plus leather band (opens in new tab) ($11 at Amazon)

This leather band is soft and features beautiful white stitching for a great accent. Comes in a nice variety of colors.

Updated May 2019: Updated through watchOS 5.2.

Joseph Keller is the former Editor in Chief of iMore. An Apple user for almost 20 years, he spends his time learning the ins and outs of iOS and macOS, always finding ways of getting the most out of his iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac.

1 Comment
  • Thanks for this article. Not so much because I couldn't figure out that this was possible and change it...but because I didn't realize how much it annoyed me until I read it here! Keep up the good work.