Thanks to a recent firmware update, Microsoft Band 2 can now remotely control playback of any music (or other audio/media) on your handset. This feature is easy to use … once you know the secret to using it.
Note: I’ve only tested this feature with Windows phone. This may be laziness on my part, but I’ve found that switching the handset with which Band 2 syncs to be tedious and error prone, and now that it’s correctly syncing with my Lumia 950 (after syncing initially with an iPhone 6S Plus), I’m not up for re-doing this. But according to Microsoft, Band 2 works with “your favorite music player app for Android, iOS, or Windows Phone.”
Band 2’s new music controls are implemented as a core system function instead of being a standalone app. This means you can access the controls at any time: When you’re exercising, running, or doing nothing at all.
To display the music controls, just double-press Band 2’s power button. You can double-press power again to return to the previous screen, or the controls will just disappear automatically after 8 seconds (or when the screen sleeps).
You will see the current song title, plus Previous Track, Play/Pause, and Next Track buttons on the playback controls screen. While these controls should be fairly obvious, you can also swipe to the right on this screen to decrease the playback volume, and swipe to the left to increase the volume.
Additionally, you can press the Band 2’s Action button while on this screen to toggle Play/Pause. Or, double-press the Action button to navigate to the next track.
So far, I’ve tested the playback controls with Microsoft Groove and Spotify, and it works as advertised. I’ve also tested it with Pocket Casts, my preferred podcasting app, where the Previous Track and Next Track buttons work like Rewind/Forward and move back/ahead by 10 second. It also works with Audible, where the Previous Track and Next Track buttons jump around by 30 seconds.
Interestingly, it also works with video apps, like Movies & TV, where Previous Track and Next Track buttons also jump 30 seconds, though of course using Band 2 like that will probably be fairly rare.