The eagerly awaited Now Playing complication will finally come to the Apple Watch in watchOS 4, due out this fall. The former Music complication worked only for Apple Music, but the new Now Playing complication will work for any music or entertainment app you like.
I don’t use Apple Music, but I do have other services on my iPhone. I tested it out with SoundCloud, but it should work equally well with Spotify, Amazon Music, podcasts, or anything else.
I placed the complication in two different spots in the Modular face as you can see in my photo. In the large Modular spot, you see four animated bars going up and down, plus the name of the current track, the source or album, and the app you’re playing from. In the small Modular spot, you see just the animated bars. In a face with a line complication, you’ll see the animated bars and the name of the song or track you’re hearing.
Tap the Now Playing complication to be taken to your control screen. Here you see the artist, album, and source running across the top of the screen. In the center of the screen, there’s a pause button and forward and back arrows to switch to a different track. At the bottom of the screen, there is a volume indicator; tap it to access a volume control slider. At the bottom right of the screen, there is an ellipsis; tap it and you’ll be taken to an AirPlay screen. Tap again to see a list of you devices that you can AirPlay to.
This is a welcome change to watchOS, and a huge improvement over the initial Music complication. Before WWDC, the Now Playing complication was one of the feature requests I saw the most throughout the internet. The ability to use it for any kind of music or entertainment source is amazing.
Edited to add: I got two excellent questions via Twitter, and in addition to responding to them directly I wanted to share them here in case other readers happened to be wondering the same thing. Reader @Timorteus wanted to know if you can still use the Digital Crown to change the volume on the initial Now Playing screen. The answer is yes, you sure can. Reader @gewappnet wanted to know if it works with Time Travel like the Music complication. The answer to this question is also yes. If you’re using one of the complications that shows the name of the song, such as the one line complication or the large center Modular spot, just turn the Digital Crown back and you’ll see your previously played songs.