Some of the best smartwatches around run Wear OS (formerly known as Android Wear), and there are loads of apps that add all sorts of handy capabilities. These apps do more than just bring notifications to your wrist — they can entertain you, track your fitness and health, and help you to stay organized.
So, with all of that in mind, here are our picks of the best Wear OS apps, starting with a few that were enhanced for the recent release of Android Wear 2.0. Most of these apps still rely on a partner app on your smartphone, but a few offer stand-alone functionality. Either way, they’re all must-haves for your watch.
Incredibly clear and easy to use, Bring is the ideal shopping list app for your Wear OS watch. You can create groups of friends, family members, or colleagues and share shopping lists for different events. It’s easy to add products via clearly labeled icons, and you can even add your own photos.
Most games for smartwatches are an exercise in frustration because of the limited screen real estate, but Infinity Loop works beautifully on your wrist. It’s a simple, relaxing puzzle game that can kill a few minutes while you’re waiting at the bus stop or in line at the store.
If you’ve been dreaming of making video calls from your wrist since the emergence of the smartwatch, then Glide is an app you need to download. You need to install it on your paired phone as well, but once you do, you will be able to receive and watch video messages on your wrist. You can also send back audio, or even record video if your watch has a front-facing camera.
You can send voice or text messages, browse your chat history, or create group chats with this accessible instant-messaging app that was updated for Android Wear 2.0. It also supports emojis, stickers, and themes.
Here’s an app for the health-conscious that tracks your food and water intake to help you achieve the right balance. Set your personal health goals and Lifesum will guide you to success with a personalized plan that includes exercise tips.
If you want an alternative to Google Fit, then Strava is well worth a look. It’s available on Wear OS 2.0 as a stand-alone app that can track your runs and other sporty activities. If you’re cycling or running, it’s great to be able to leave your phone at home, but still record your progress.
With a fresh design for Android Wear 2.0, the Foursquare app is one of the easiest ways to find great places to eat, drink, and be merry in the city you’re in. It works without your phone, and you can filter by all sorts of different categories to find the exact spot you want.
Missed the last train? No need to worry, because you can now book an Uber directly from your smartwatch. This is a stand-alone app for your Wear OS 2.0 smartwatch that allows you to order a ride, check driver progress, and get time estimates for your journey all from your wrist. There’s no need to use your phone at all.
Running out of space on your keychain due to the many little loyalty and membership cards you accumulate? Stocard not only lets you digitize all those cards so they’re accessible in a single mobile app, it even works with your Wear OS watch to display them. This means you just need to let the cashier scan your watch, instead of physical cards or your smartphone, to collect your rewards or access your gym.
Here is a new incentive to use the latest version of Google Slides for your presentations: You can now use your Wear OS smartwatch to remotely control your slides. The only catch is that you need to first “cast” your slides to a Chromecast-enabled display, or present them in a video call, before your watch will transform into a slick presentation remote.
Let’s be real, app developers aren’t mind readers who know exactly what functions you need, so why not create your own with IF by IFTTT? Short for the programming lingo “If This Then That,” this app lets you create “recipes” that link two unrelated apps in order to create an action. For example, you can tell your new app to send a copy of every photo you take with your phone to your Android smartwatch.
Start planning for your hot date tonight by swiping right or left through Tinder — on your wrist. With one of the best dating apps around bringing its features to Wear OS, you can now check out potential dates in your area, see notifications on new matches, and respond to their messages — right on your watch. Just to make it extra easy to access the app, you can even use your voice to tell Google to open Tinder on your smartwatch.