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

Business Insider logo Business Insider 10/28/2020 insider@insider.com (Dave Johnson)
a close up of a cell phone: You can only watch video on your Apple Watch when it's sent through Messages, not on video platforms like YouTube. Hollis Johnson © Hollis Johnson You can only watch video on your Apple Watch when it's sent through Messages, not on video platforms like YouTube. Hollis Johnson
  • 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.

graphical user interface, application: If you get a video embedded in a text message, just tap it to play. Dave Johnson/Business Insider © Dave Johnson/Business Insider 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. 

graphical user interface, website: Tapping the screen toggles the video playback between play and pause. Dave Johnson/Business Insider © Dave Johnson/Business Insider 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. 

graphical user interface, text, application, chat or text message: You can't play YouTube or other streaming videos on the Apple Watch. Dave Johnson/Business Insider © Dave Johnson/Business Insider You can't play YouTube or other streaming videos on the Apple Watch. Dave Johnson/Business Insider

Related coverage from Tech Reference:

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