This week Google finally released its popular YouTube Music app for Wear OS smartwatches, but unfortunately, it only works with Samsung’s two latest Galaxy Watch 4 devices so far. Google’s music service only plays nice with watches running the new Wear OS 3.
Many expected YouTube Music to be available unofficially for older watches, as users often sideload apps using the ‘APK’ install file to different devices. However, in this case, that doesn’t appear to be an option. The process fails, according to 9to5Google, who ripped the YouTube Music APK from a Galaxy Watch 4 and tried to load it on an older Motorola watch.
To make matters worse, ADB throws out an error when a user tries to sideload YouTube Music to an older Wear OS watch. This is because the app only works with devices running Android 11 (API level 30) or higher. As things sit right now, all Wear OS watches are based on Android 9 except for Samsung’s two latest watches.
Furthermore, when users tried to modify the APK to work with older versions of Android, other aspects of the app broke, rendering it essentially useless.
At this point, it looks like the only way to get YouTube Music on your Android smartwatch is to have a device running the new Wear OS 3. Good thing we’re expecting Wear 3 on the upcoming Fossil Gen 6 line, Mobvoi TickWatch Pro 3, and other watches shortly.