How to use music control in Microsoft Band 2

Earlier this morning, Microsoft announced a couple of new features for the Microsoft Band 2. The update included music controls. Want to know how it works? Check out our how-to video.

First, you'll need to open a music app on your phone. There are plenty of options like Pandora, Spotify, MixRadio, and Groove Music. On your Microsoft Band 2, simply double-click the power button.

The touchscreen displays the song title and lets you pause and play, skip forward and back. To adjust the volume, just swipe left or right.

In order to get the new features, make sure to download the latest version of the Microsoft Health app. When you open the app, it'll notify you of a software update for your Microsoft Band 2.

Other new features were included in the update. The Microsoft Band 2 can now remind you to get up and move when you've been still for too long. You choose the time intervals and the days you want to be reminded. You can also set a period of time when you don't want to receive reminders. Another feature is the ability to select popular options, like yoga or weightlifting, or name your own for exercise. Your summaries and observations will be grouped by exercise type for better insights.

Unfortunately, the new features are exclusive to the new Microsoft Band 2. There's no word on when or if the original Microsoft Band is getting them too.

How do you feel about the new music controls on the Microsoft Band 2? Let us know in the comments!

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Mark Guim is Video Editor at Windows Central. He switched to Windows because the MacBook Pro isn't Pro enough. You can follow him on Twitter at @markguim.

104 Comments
  • The original Band is still, like, brand new in a sense... I know it's outdated, but still... I love my Band...
  • Yeah, I'm still very happy with it. It is a bummer seeing the new one get all these features knowing they really arent that different hardware and OS-wise.
  • Unfortunately, that's how it goes in the tech world.
  • In a sense you're right, but this is down to MS wanting to keep some features exclusive to the Band 2...Whether you agree with them doing that is down to personal belief. Generally MS are good at keeping updates going with their products as are Apple with iOS. It's true that things move on, but with MS it's usually for a hardware specific reason rather than a way to make the newer product more feature packed. At the end of the day the Band 1 does do everything it did when people bought it so can't really complain as nothing has been taken away. This is coming from a Band 1 owner (Bought at UK launch). Still happy with mine even if it never gets this update. I think owners of both versions want the Cortana function fixing more than anything. It's definitely better than it used to be, usually on the second go it works for me
  • Eh, I think features like this should be put into both bands if they can. It's such a bare bones function that many bluetooth devices just chuck in for the lols just because they can.
  • I agree... Software is not the main reason to upgrade to the band 2... To many it has a better design... If it can work on the band 1, then they should put it on...i am not buying a band 2 when my band 1 works for me. If they are holding this software update just to make the band 2 better in comparison... I call foul.
  • I'm sticking with mine too, as an owner of the original I'd like to see these features come to the Band 1(and think they should) - If they don't that won't be what makes me buy a Band 2, I think the next generation will be the big one in terms of upgraded software so I'm happy with the Band 1 for now.
  • I agree they should be putting it into the Band 1 rather than holding it back from us to make the Band 2 look better. I had a go of one in a shop just to check out the differences really and I noticed quite a few small things like being able to pause Sleep (not sure how useful it would be) and I was quite disappointed the updates haven't came to V1. I've only had mine since the UK launch so wasn't tempted by the trade in offer they had on since I'm happy with the old hardware (And actually prefer the smaller black clasp a LOT)
  • I bought original one at black Friday sale.. C'mon they can put all these features in that.. Say a month from now.. C'mon msft you are the good one in these things.
  • This is so cool! Hopefully they keep adding interesting features like this.
  • MARUCHAN!!!!!
  • Any information on the Spotify partnership?
  • Great!
  • Anyone got the update already? It's still not showing for me...
  • Make sure you update MS Health App!
  • Thanks! I didn't see that one coming. Upgrading now!
  • Yeah this threw me off also. Didnt know I  had to update the app.
  • It's not showing for me and i updated my MS health app, rebooted both the phone and my band. 
  • Uninstall the app and reinstall it.
  • After the update, open the MS Health App. Under the hamburger menu, click on "What's new." That's what I had to do.
  • Did this fix the broken Cortana/voice issue with Windows 10 and the Band?
  • Doesn't seem like it...
  • Its always 50/50 that I get "check your bluetooth" or Cortana working... If cortana always worked, my band would actually become a smartwatch. Right now it'd basically a fitnessband.
  • nopity nope nope nope ... this issue is driving me crazy (would help if the band team would acknowledge it as a real issue ...)
  • agreed
  • I always have this issue, but I noticed today that, once I used Cortana with the phone in my hand (once), it started working when I put it back down on the desk or in my pocket. Maybe others can try getting Cortana to work originally with the phone really close, then once it works... move it further away?
  • It's much improved but it's still not ideal. The Band started working correctly once the OS was updated and did no consistently. Right up to last night when I wanted to respond to a text but couldn't. That might have been due to the Band being updated, but it took both devices being restarted for things to work again. However, I've found that once Cortana has been triggered on the phone it stops responding to additional questions. It responds to the first question, but I have to return to the home screen so that Cortana will respond to the second. Maybe it's a coincidence, but I'm now running into more trouble with Cortana deciphering my questions. Well, specifically the one I ask most mornings, "how is traffic to work". Previously, I always got the appropriate answer; an estimate of how long it will take me to get to work. Recently, however, it doesn't answer correctly, instead bringing up a search of locations with "work" in the name. It takes about 3 attempts before I get the answer I want.
  • As an original Band owner here too, between this feature and the smart wake-up alarm feature, I can't see why Microsoft doesn't let us have these features too. Just a software or firmware or something-ware upgrade away, Ain't it??? The hardware needed (heartrate sensor) is already on me. C'mon MSFT, make it happen! Support your legacy users and give me those two features on my MB1!!!!
  • They weren't able to get Windows IoT on it before launch, so the software is more limited. The band 3 should have Windows 10 IoT so it'll have easier dev options.
  • That's why i always wait for the 3gen, Will for the surface book, but for now the surface pro 4 is good for me
  • "something-ware..." Hardware? XD
  • Disappointed with this roll out it said 'all surface countries'. New Zealand has had surface pro 4 for weeks and still no band 2
  • Will these new featueres work on the Android or iOS versions?
  • Works on my Android phone. LG G4 here.   It controls my Podcast addict app, but it has to be open and playing first. The track next/back buttons only skip by like 5 seconds (not whole track) and it doesn't display the track name.  In pandora it does display the artist.  The volume controls work fine. 
  • Windows 10 Preview on Lumia 930 and as usual, feature won't connect...
  • My icon seems to work...
  • Strange, do you have a passcode lock on your phone?
  • XP Support: >12 Years. Band 1 Support: 1 Year.
  • It's not yet confirmed that Band 1 will not get these features. It's Microsoft buddy anything can happen. Minecraft on WiiU, Cortana on Android and iOS. Don't let your hope down.
  • I'm hoping this fixes the duplicate notifications that get displayed on the Band 2 when you dismiss a notification in the notification center on the phone.
  • Well at first test, it seems like the problem is resolved. (At least for now, we will have to see if it lasts past a restart...)
  • Wow, that is slick... The volume is super neat!!
  • Where is the update? It isn't coming up!
  • Have you installed the MS Health application update?
  • I wonder how this will work with Podcast Lounge. On my phone I set up the skip buttons to jump 30s at a time.
  • Are any of you having an issue connecting to music when you have your phone with both the Band 2 and a bluetooth headset? I'm not sure where the issues lies. If the band is paired to the phone first, then the bluetooth headset is paired, I can get the controls to work properly. However, once the connection to music is gone from the band due to non use for a little bit and I go back in to try to change the song, it won't connect again.  I can reproduce it consistently. Any thoughts or insights as to what may be going on would be appreciated.
  • Yeah, you are only allowed to have one music control device connected at a time. And your headset probably connects as a music control device. So if you connect your Band 2 first the headset can't connect to the music control profile. Your headset must keep trying to connect to the music control and takes it over once the Band 2 disconnects. (Mine doesn't unless I turn it off/back on, or it ends up disconnecting for some reason. Or at least it hasn't yet.) I just wish you could have more than one AVRCP, music control, device connected at a time. That way I could have my headset and the Band 2 both connected to control music. If you agree go to the Windows Feedback app search for AVRCP and upvote the suggestion. Does anybody know if iOS/Android have the same limitation of one music control device at a time? (Is it a Bluetooth standard thing?)
  • OK, I just had someone with an iPhone test and we were able to have two AVRCP devices connected at the same time with both able to control the music. (We used a BT headset and the Fitbit Surge.) So it does appear to be a Microsoft limitation.
  • Thanks for the info. I'll upvote that suggestion. Having the ability to have both be able to control the music control device would make it so much more useful.
  • I thought I had this issue with my setup, but I am able to connect with my band and bluetooth headset, BUT you have to have the Band connect BEFORE you connect the headset. If you connect the headset first, the band keeps saying connecting and isn't able to control it.    Now both the headset controls and the band has volume and music controls. I am using a jLab bluetooth epic headset on an Android LG G4 phone.  
  • Android has that issue, kind of annoying since I use a bluetooth headset. Connecting the band first then the headset seems to work perfectly for now. Not ideal though.
  • gah! holy oversight, batman this is not good. bluetooth speakers or headset would be the primary situation to use band music controls for lots of folks
  • Activate the controls on your Band first, then connect your Bluetooth speaker. Then you can use the controls from your Band to control the music coming out of your Bluetooth speaker.
  • It controls audible for audible books as well. Win win win...
  • just out of curiosity, does music control work with iPhone and Android?
  • It should as there are some decent third party apps available that do this. I'm installing now on my Nexus 6P so I'll be able to say soon.
  • It should work as it appears to just use the standard Bluetooth AVRCP profile.
  • I just wish you could have more than one AVRCP, music control, device connected at a time. That way I could have my headset and the Band 2 both connected to control music. If you agree go to the Windows Feedback app search for AVRCP and upvote the suggestion.
  • was waiting on this feature to buy one
  • This just got real!  That is one helluva nice add.
  • Is this just for WP or will this work with iphone/MS Health/Band 2?
  • all platforms, so far just Band2. nice reddit post on this by an ms band employee https://www.reddit.com/r/MicrosoftBand/comments/3w9jbu/some_fun_facts_ab...
  • Very nice --- thanks Redmond !!  Wonder what else (internal stuff?) came to the B2 with this update? 
  • Works great! Now I need Spotify Connect on W10M...
  • Works great for Music and the Podcast app!!!  Love this feature, nicley done MS!  I'm running 8.1 on an Icon.  
  • You can also play and pause by pressing the action button when in music control mode.
  • Band 1 update when
  • Microsoft hasn't even said that the Band 1 is going to get this update.
  • Thats the problem
  • My guess is never. By dropping the price from $199 to $75 they pretty much indicated that it is a dead product and that they are just clearing it out. (Certainly the feature differences between the Band 1 and the Band 2 aren't worth $175.) What they should do is offer an upgrade/trade-in program for people that bought a Band 1, before the Band 2 was announced, the ability to upgrade for a reasonable amount. (Maybe $99)
  • so swipe left or right to handle the volume. Nice.
  • I love the music controls. Puts this device on par with the other high-end fitness bands and brings it one step closer to smartwatch. That's why I love Microsoft, bringing new features after launch, you don't see that a whole lot these days.
  • Cool that it works with most music programs. I use Groove, but hear of lots who use Spotify etc.
  • Does this work with XBox Music on Windows Phone 8.1? Nothing happens when I double press start button of Band 2?
  • It should. Have you updated both the Microsoft Health app and the firmware on the Band 2 today?
  • Yes, I have...
  • Could it be region related?
  • Its really worth mentioning that we can also do the below things using action button Once we are on the Music option (after double clicking the power button) Single Click the action button - Play Double Click the action button - Next track i am now a big Fan of the music control feature in Band 2!! :)
  • Oh nice, I didn't realize double click skips forward! This means you can do everything but skip back without needing to look at the Band at all. Just double click the power button, wait for the confirmation buzz, then either single click or double click the action button, or blindly swipe across the screen to adjust the volume.
  • Wow! Very nice! They could have added a triple click for back a track. (That is what my headset uses.)
  • Mark. The "First thing you have to do..." At the top of the article should have been the bit about updating the Health app. I know many got quite excited and tried to run music with the double tap before the update.
  • I had it working initially, but now it only works with wired earphones. When I try it with my bluetooth wireless earphones or headphones, nothing happens when it says "connecting."
  • See below.
  • does the new feature work with the Podcast app?
  • Can anyone share if they have been able to do this on IOS?  I have read that it should work, but there is no update of Microsoft Health, and I have not been able to get this to work..
  • The site say it not available for ios
  • Shame it does not work I you have a Bluetooth headset connected. It fails to connect
  • See below, it will work you have to connect music controls on band first the connect headphones.
  • Has anyone had Bluetooth issues? I connected my Powerbeats headphones then tried to ise the music controls and it wouldnt work. The only way i could get it to work was connect the music controls first then connect my BT headphones then it was fine. Hope they fix this.