Whichever Apple Watch you own — and we consider the Apple Watch Series 5 the best smartwatch you can buy — you’ll want to know the best Apple Watch apps to download. Generally, finding great apps includes a whole lot of trial and error.
We save you the time and effort of trying out literally thousands of apps available on the App Store by pulling together a list of high-quality apps, broken out into distinct categories like finance, fitness, entertainment, and social media. All are reasonably priced or free.
Calcbot features a complication to the Apple Watch face, making it quick and easy to perform calculations on the move, without the need to grab your phone. The app costs $2, with a further charge for additional themes.
Currency only does one thing, but it does it well: Convert one currency over to another currency, all without digging around for your phone.
You’ll have to set up your budget in the main iPhone app, but once it’s done, Pennies on the Apple Watch makes keeping track of spending very easy. It warns when you’re getting close to your limit and has a Glance screen for daily allowances. You can now use the Infographic style Complications with Pennies on your Series 4+ Watch.
Sleep and mindfulness
A companion app to the comprehensive Sleep Cycle app for the iPhone and iPad, the Watch app has the big benefit of a silent alarm based on sleep phases, plus a snore-stopper feature. This uses vibrations to encourage a position change, to minimize snoring. The app is free, but advanced features require a subscription.
Here’s a wear-and-forget sleep tracker for the Apple Watch. Unlike many other systems, Sleep++ doesn’t require you to activate night mode, and automatically switches on sleep tracking when it understands you’ve gone to bed. There is a manual override too, if it’s not accurate enough. The app is free, with an in-app purchase to remove ads.
Headspace offers guided meditations to help you relax, designed for everybody. From your choice of duration to hundreds of different topics, plus emergency stress-relieving guides for when you most need it, the app wants to make understanding mindfulness easy and beneficial. The app is free and has some basic content, but a subscription unlocks all the features.
Health and fitness
RocketBody makes use of the Apple Watch ECG feature to assist in understanding when it’s the best time to work out. Previously, the artificial intelligence-based app used a standalone ECG monitor, but it believes it can get the same results from the watch. However, it does not take the readings automatically, leaving it to the wearer to manually check four times a day. RocketBody claims the benefits will be worth the effort. A hefty $5 per week subscription allows you to leverage all the features. The company is debuting prediction curves, which let you see your body condition and ability to work out in the near future.
Asana Rebel is a fun fitness app designed for women that sports a fitness routine rivaling hardcore HIIT programs. The Apple Watch app makes it easy to start and end workouts and see your progress without having to glance at your phone. The app is free, but a subscription is required if you want the coached plans.
A different take on the traditional activity tracker, Standland encourages you to meet your hourly standing goals by rewarding you with cute characters. There are 14 characters to collect, and they need you to physically move around in order to stay awake. If you miss your targets, they fall asleep. A recent update has also added an AR mode for iOS 11 and up, and the app helps keep track of your standing records.
Nike’s running app comes pre-installed on the special Nike edition of the Apple Watch (Series 2 or later), but it works with all Watches and supports GPS, whether it’s the Nike model or not. Track runs, get personalized fitness plans, compete on leaderboards, and even have fun with special Nike stickers for iMessage.
If you currently use Adidas Runtastic to track your running and other fitness activities, the Runtastic Apple Watch app will fit right in with your workout. From your Watch, you can start your run, get live tracking data, control music, and share workout times, and if you have your phone with you, it will use GPS. A new Community tab offers the tools to stay fit and motivated with the Adidas Running community worldwide. The Friends Leaderboard filter lets you see how well you compare with your buddies. There’s a free version of Runtastic, or the Pro version is $5 with no ads and more features.
If Apple’s own fitness tracking app isn’t enough, then check out Lifesum, a complete guide to getting healthier, fitter, and more motivated. It works with HealthKit and other apps. It prompts you to make small but important changes to your everyday life that can end up having a larger cumulative effect. A new Sugar Detox Meal Plan helps you cut back on sugar to reach your health and weight-loss goals. The app is free, but there is a subscription plan.
The Apple Watch doesn’t just help your body stay in shape, but your mind, too. Peak is part cognitive brain workout and part quick gaming fix. There are 40 games, each designed by neuroscientists and gamers, and three — tailored around improving memory and attention span — are specifically made for playing on the Apple Watch.
An alternative to other news apps app, CNN’s Apple Watch extension lets you browse news in 12 different categories, all of which can be set to your preference. Additionally, the main app sends out breaking news notifications and can be set to update you on specific stories. New versions provide CNN Audio for audio livestreaming in the app.
If you’re already a Flipboard fan, then getting your news fix on the Apple Watch is easy. If not, then it’s a great time to get started with this news aggregator. Flipboard is easy to use and beautiful to look at.
Dark Sky’s Apple Watch app was made specifically for the wearable, so it’s not a downsized version of the main app, and it shows. The weather app provides a week’s forecast and will display weather notifications on rain, extreme weather, or government alerts. A new watch app location switcher lets you access location menus. It operates in the U.S., the U.K., and Ireland.
A very attractive alternative to Dark Sky, and for the same price, is a step above Apple’s own weather app. Weather+ gives you a five-day forecast, a weather-station-like visual experience, and detailed three-hour data on conditions like rain, humidity, and wind speed.
Music and entertainment
Working almost like an email client for podcasts, the Castro app makes it easy to log, download, and listen to podcasts, no matter how many you subscribe to. The Apple Watch app lets you control playback, including choosing new episodes to play. The app is free, but there is a subscription option for additional features.
Identify that unknown song just by letting Shazam take a listen. The Apple Watch app will display all the information on the song (but your iPhone does the listening), uses Handoff so you can buy the tune via Apple Music, and displays a list of previous songs. The main app also works with iMessage in iOS, so it stays up to date.
If Deezer is your music streaming service of choice (or you’re looking for one), its Apple Watch integration is deep enough to make it worthwhile. You get complete control over the music, including skips and likes, plus Deezer’s Flow predictive feature works, too. The app operates in both online and offline mode.
Link Musixmatch with Apple Music or Spotify Premium and get synced up lyrics for your favorite songs on your wrist. The Apple Watch app can also prompt the music identification feature on the phone.
Get complete control over the 100,000-plus radio stations featured in the TuneIn app using your Apple Watch. Choose stations, identify tracks, and add stations to your favorites list. Plenty more features are also included.
This app brings the Reddit experience to your wrist, and it works over both Wi-Fi and 4G LTE, so if you have the latest Apple Watch models, you don’t need your phone nearby to browse the site. Because the app is designed for use on the watch, it operates smoothly, resulting in a frustration-free Reddit experience. It has also been updated with a new UI and the ability to compose posts. The app is free, and there is a Pro version with additional features for between $2 and $4, with the choice of how much to pay being left to you, just like a tip system.
Hugely popular WeChat’s Apple Watch app brings most of the full-screen experience to your wrist, including responding to messages, viewing new conversations, leaving voice replies, and sharing your location.
With the aptly titled iTranslate Converse, you can translate your words into another language directly from your Apple Watch. To do so, simply say what you want to say into the watch, and let it translate the phrase into one of 38 languages. It works in real time — or close to it — and includes a visual, text-based translation. The app is free to try, but a subscription is needed to use the service beyond the trial period.
Circa allows you to keep track of international timezones at a glance and work out what time it is elsewhere in the world. The clear and easy-to-use interface organizes your time zones, so you can quickly determine what time is best to contact friends, family, and colleagues no matter where you are.
Ciymapper has a wealth of travel and transit information, and the Apple Watch extension provides all the route and travel details you could want, including notifications for the next stop or changes to your plan. There are complications for the Apple Watch face showing ETA and step-by-step routes. Citymapper Mobility Index now includes historical breakdowns and intra-city comparisons.
Everything you normally do on the Uber iPhone app can be done from your wrist on the Apple Watch, including requesting a ride, viewing its location, and checking the details about the car and driver.
Manage your flights on the Apple Watch, iPhone, and iMessage with this clever app. The Watch extension tracks your flight, gives gate details, and even provides in-flight health tips and a live route view. A new A.I.-based booking system understands your flying needs and preferences. The new tool recommends flights and hotels based on your loyalty and fares that will help you earn the most points.
Tools and productivity
Canary Mail is one of the only third-party email clients with an Apple Watch app. In addition to reading email, it provides quick replies and dictation, and — if you have an Apple Watch with 4G LTE — it will sync email without your phone. It also offers PGP for end-to-end encryption, but that costs $10.
Apple hasn’t integrated Notes with the Apple Watch, so use Evernote instead. The Watch app receives notifications and reminders, lets you view notes and update them, and create new ones using dictation. The same method can be used to search your notes as well.
Drafts is all about text. Grab text from anywhere or dictate it on the move, and share it with almost any other app or service. Dictate it directly to your Apple Watch, view the result, add more, and save it in your inbox. It’s a fast way to take notes. New features include an overhauled Quick Search and new action/workspace icon options.
Remember stuff using your Apple Watch. Take a quick note, called a cheat, and it’ll appear as a complication on your chosen Apple Watch face. The app also integrates with iMessage on iOS 10 or later and has a widget for your iPhone. An in-app purchase unlocks iCloud syncing, too.
This calendar and reminder app goes all out on the Apple Watch, allowing you to add events using dictation, view upcoming calendar entries, and have it all displayed in a Watch face complication. Recent updates add a new Watch complication style, faster updates to complications, the ability to show more events and tasks on the watch, and alerts for events.
A fantasy adventure game that looks like no other Apple Watch game. Written expressly for the Watch, it has 1,000 levels of play, where spells, artifacts, and enchantments are used to fight the enemy. You can now navigate the app with the Digital Crown. You can still use swipes but the crown is a good alternative. The option is off by default, and you can turn it on from the Force Touch menu.
No need to grab your phone for a quick trivia game — Trivia Crack can be played from the Apple Watch, too. You can access hundreds of thousands of questions, view a collectible card collection, and chat with opponents. The app also works with iMessage in iOS.
Halide Camera ($6)
An alternative camera app for your iPhone, the Apple Watch companion app works like a remote shutter release and has a live preview on screen too. Because the app’s focus is on manual camera use, it’s helpful for taking photos with long exposures to avoid camera shake.
You can finally appear in those group pictures by controlling your iPhone with ProCamera. The mobile app lets you capture low-light shots, timed photos, HDR, and video directly from your Apple Watch. You can leave the selfie stick at home and make your watch do the heavy lifting.
If you have a Samsung Smart TV, then myTifi is the app to have. Using myTifi, you can control all aspects of your TV from the volume to the source input. Though built-in controls on Android devices are handy, your Apple Watch can interface with Samsung devices, too. With a simple tap on the screen or turn of the Digital Crown, your watch becomes your remote.
Using Powerpoint on your Apple Watch is great because you can navigate the slides without ending the show or touching your phone. You can even use your watch to see how much time has passed and what slide you’re on.
Your Apple Watch can do so much, and if you can think of it, there’s likely an app for it. We’ve covered all the greatest apps available, so next time you wish there was a solution to a problem, consider checking out the app store; you never know what you’ll find.
- The best iPhone apps (November 2020)
- The best camera apps for the iPhone
- The best weather apps for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch
- The best photo-editing apps for Android and iOS
- The best GIF-maker apps and websites for 2020