watchOS 9 breaks Spotify streaming on Apple Watch

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Spotify is urging users not to update their Apple Watch to watchOS 9 due to a critical bug that prevents the app from streaming directly to the device.

A bug in watchOS 9 prevents users from streaming audio directly to their Apple Watch, and Spotify is sending emails to customers to warn them not to upgrade. The issue doesn't affect the Spotify app on iPhone, so users can continue to stream content there normally.

MacRumors first shared part of the email from Spotify. It reads:

"Apple WatchOS 9 introduced a bug that causes Spotify streaming on the Apple Watch to stop working. We urge Spotify Apple Watch users not to install the WatchOS 9 update until Apple has implemented a fix for the issue. Users who are already affected can instead download their content to their Apple Watch and listen offline or stream from their phones."

When the iPhone is present, the Spotify Apple Watch app will show what is playing on the iPhone similar to Apple Music. The Apple Watch only streams directly from Spotify if the user begins listening from the Apple Watch app with headphones connected to the Apple Watch.

According to the user reports, a stream will begin for a moment, but then cut out. The progress bar will continue to move, but no audio is being played.

Apple could release a quick-fix update similar to the iOS 16.01 update it released for iPhone 14. Otherwise, users will have to wait until watchOS 9.1 to become available later in the fall, which is expected alongside iPadOS 16.1 after a potential October event.