You’ve probably never heard of watching videos on the small screen of your Apple Watch. Except for occasional text movies, there is no browser and Google has not sent an official YouTube app (although it does offer YouTube music for the Apple Watch).
We are not saying that this is a good idea, but that the problem has been solved. A new third-party app called Watchtube has a mission: to let you watch YouTube videos on Apple’s smartwatch.
The app is quite simple, which means that you will use the limitations of the screen to navigate the interface. There are four swipable panes: an algorithmic home page, search page, personal library and settings. It doesn’t take long for things to get stuck. You can view comments and enable captions.
Though the idea is simple, however, we found the app a bit awkward to use. Searches are inserted steadily on the small keyboard, and it’s not always clear if you need to tap a second button to trigger certain actions: tapping on one of the suggested searches, for example, or press play on a video you might expect when you open it. Then the game started. Video and search queries often return hangs or errors, even when there is no apparent connection problem.
This is an early day for the app, which at the time of writing is still in version 1.1.1 and some or all of these issues may be resolved in the future. The most recent update on June 15 has fixed a number of bugs and issues.
But it mostly works. You can find a video and watch it on the watch’s 2-inch screen. Since the Apple Watch is square, videos will look smaller because formatting will add black bars, so it doesn’t look as immersive as your iPhone. This is a great idea, of course, but it probably won’t become an essential part of your Apple Watch app library.