Using the Apple Watch, what is the fastest way to adjust the volume of the iPhone?

Two assumptions/criteria:

  • When you raise your wrist, the view on the Apple Watch from your wrist, should be the watch face view; not the last view used.
  • Audio playing on the iPhone is coming from any iOS app; not just Apple's Music app.

The fastest way I currently know of (by my expectations neither fast nor nimble) is to open the Dock by pressing the Dock button; navigate to the "Now Playing" view with the Digital Crown (having ordered that view near the bottom of the Dock list); and when the "Now Playing" view is active adjust the volume with the Digital Crown.

Unfortunately, "Now Playing" is not a proper watchOS application, and therefore cannot be brought up by double-pressing the Digital Crown, assuming it would've been the last app used.

I'm wondering if there is a quick way to adjust iPhone volume from the Apple Watch, using a keypress combination or something else.

I guess one option could be to tell Siri to "lower volume by 10 %", but I find Siri control quite tedious, and it will interrupt current playback. Issuing a percentage change is ironically also a very discrete action, because it cannot be fine-tuned without having to issue a new voice command.

  • Er, in my experience Now Playing, if it is the most recently active app, can be brought up by double-clicking the crown... Regardless, have you considered adding it as a complication? That would make three steps for volume adjustment: wake watch, tap complication, turn digital crown.
    – Merlin
    May 5, 2017 at 6:24
  • @Merlin Have you really tried double-tapping the Crown? Because it doesn't work for me for Now Playing. Furthermore, there's no Complication for it.
    – P A N
    May 5, 2017 at 6:26
  • Ah, there's the problem: I almost never play media on my iPhone other than through the Music app, so I conflated Now Playing with Music's currently-playing view (which is pulled up by default through the Music complication or Crown double-click.) You are correct, my mistake!
    – Merlin
    May 6, 2017 at 6:44

1 Answer 1


"Now Playing" app icon

You said:

Unfortunately, "Now Playing" is not a proper watchOS application

On the contrary, Now Playing is indeed an app on the Apple Watch. At least it is now in watchOS 9.1. See the app icon above, a striped red triangle on a white background.

When streaming audio on apps such as CNBC or Bloomberg, 👉 I find the Now Playing app is always showing on the Watch when I raise my wrist.

The only exception is if I am recording my “Workout”, “Outdoor Walk”. And even then I can swipe to the left to see Now Playing.

If I bring another app to the front, I can easily return to Now Playing: Press the side button to see the Dock showing recently used apps. That list of apps includes Now Playing.

When the Now Playing app is displayed, spin the crown to raise or lower the volume on the iPhone. In the first moment, the volume indicator in Now Playing may be grey before turning green. Apparently this split-second delay of grey-to-green is the Watch making contact with the iPhone. Almost an annoyance, but the delay is actually less than a second.

I am happy to report on this feature, as the sole reason for my purchase of an Apple Watch SE (2022) was to adjust the volume of streaming audio while walking the dog. Turns out this remote control for volume does indeed work well, mission accomplished. Happy Bonus: I discovered the Apple Watch is so much more useful than just that.

  • When the question was asked over 5 years ago, "Now Playing" wasn't a stand-alone app in my recollection, and therefore it wasn't included in the Dock. Adjusting the volume of the iPhone via the Apple Watch was a more convoluted thing then.
    – P A N
    Oct 11, 2022 at 14:37

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