One of the coolest features of Apple Watch is custom third-party clock face complications: With custom complications, you can view upcoming flights or hotels, your next pill dosage, whether it's going to rain in a half-hour, or how long you've been working out. (Better yet—you can virtually travel through time while checking this information with the flick of your watch's Digital Crown.)
So what are the third-party apps with complications worth checking out? Here are my top picks so far.
Pokémon Go recently launched on the Apple Watch, and brought along with it a handy watch face complication. In addition to notifying you about nearby Pokémon, the watch app lets you start Pokémon Go play sessions that can be logged as workouts. These sessions can also help with egg hatching, which requires you to travel certain distances for each egg. This is where the watch complications come in.
Rather than opening the Pokémon Go watch app to check on your progress, you can just glance at your wrist. The complication displays how far you've gone against how far you have left to go to hatch your egg.
Going on a trip abroad where you don't quite speak the language? iTranslate's instant-translation app for your Apple Watch is already pretty fantastic—I've used it since the Apple Watch's debut—but the complication is even better: It automatically figures out the local language based on your location and (if you have the full-sized complication set) translates helpful phrases throughout the day like "Hello", "Enjoy your meal," and "Goodnight." Best of all, you need only tap the complication to go directly to the dictation screen to enter in your phrase to be translated.
I know I'm building a clock face around this the next time I go adventuring.
Curious about your heart rate and health data? HeartWatch is not only the best app on the App Store for collecting and displaying information about how your heart is beating while you're sleeping, exercising, or working, but it also has a great complication for your Apple Watch, too. Designed for the smallest complication area, HeartWatch shows your current high heart reading for the hour, along with a greater than, less than, or equal sign to compare it to past heart readings that day. Tapping it will open the HeartWatch app, which displays your current heart rate along with your highs, lows, and averages for the day.
Just Press Record
Just Press Record is the complication that gets the most use on my watch, tapping-wise. The small complication is essentially a shortcut to the Just Press Record app, which hooks in to the Apple Watch's microphone to let you record anything in earshot. I need only tap the complication to launch the app; and because Just Press Record takes advantage of Apple's native apps framework, it's speedy. No waiting three seconds for the app to query the iPhone. I've recorded story ideas, song snippets, and on-the-spot interviews with Just Press Record, and all that audio gets automatically synced back to the iPhone and any other devices via iCloud Drive.
Not only is Fantastical an excellent calendar app for your iPhone, iPad, and Mac, it also supports your Apple Watch. While the watch app gives you a quick rundown of everything on your calendar for the next few days and lets you add new events with your voice, the Fantastical complication displays your next (or current) appointment, along with either a time frame or an "UNTIL" indicator letting you know when your meeting's ending. It also supports Time Travel, letting you fast forward through the day's events.
My favorite snarky weather app now has a weather complication, and it couldn't be better. If you pay an extra $1.99 in-app purchase (and you should), Carrot Weather provides you with a large complication on the Apple Watch that lists the weather in icon form, what the temperature feels like, the highs and lows for the day, and a quick notation on what the sky's doing—"cloudy later on," "rain in three minutes," and the like. If you add Carrot Weather's secondary small complication while the first one is enabled, you'll get wind data in that location; otherwise, you'll just see the current temperature.
Like any good weather complication should, it also works with Time Travel, letting you quickly see what to expect later on in the day. (Seriously, have I mentioned yet that Time Travel + third-party complications are my favorite thing?)
Apple's built-in Activity complication can be great for showing you your overall progress towards your goals, but it's a bit more of a hassle to look at more detailed information. For those that are obsessive about their step counts, Pedometer ++ is here for you, showing off your day's exact step count right on your watch face. The complication also makes it easy to track the distance you've covered in a given day with a mile count right alongside your steps.
If you want some of the best by-the-minute weather prediction on the App Store, Dark Sky is your weather app—and its included complication bundles the best of the app on your Apple Watch. You'll see the current temperature and sky conditions as well as a 60 minute rain forecast, the high and lows for the day, and sunrise/sunset. If you've set UV conditions within the Dark Sky app, you'll also be alerted when those exceed your threshold.
Dark Sky's tiny complication just shows the current temperature, but you can tap it, of course, to quickly get into the app. And both complications support Time Travel so that you can see what the weather plans to do throughout the day.
I've spoken at length on iMore about my love for ETA, and now the traffic prediction app has gotten even better with a custom clock face complication.
On its face (ha ha), the complication offers a quick glance at a favorite travel location, estimated time to destination, and how much of a delay you'll hit. Pretty useful on its own, but when you pair this with the Apple Watch's Time Travel feature, it's downright magic: Spin the Digital Crown, and you can figure out exactly when to leave your house in order to hit the least amount of traffic during your travels. No, ETA can't predict accidents (yet), but as someone who frequently drives to places hours away, I can guarantee this complication will see heavy rotation on my Apple Watch.
If you use Hotwire a lot to book hotels, you will love the app's complication while traveling: It displays the name of your hotel along with check-in or check-out time. Tapping on the complication and then on your reservation will get you the address to the hotel along with other details—your confirmation number, for instance. The same goes for car rentals and flights. I know I'll be using this complication on my next trip to New York!
Streaks is an app for tracking consecutive tasks—whether it's walking the dog, doing yoga, standing for a certain amount of the day, or more. (It even integrates with the Apple Watch and the Health app to track certain tasks automatically.)
The app's complication is one of the simplest I've seen—it's only available in small size and displays as a series of light and dark dots—but it's surprisingly useful. White dots mean you've completed your task for the day; gray dots nag you to finish on up. If you like motivating complications, Streaks might just be your ticket to greatness.
Need to catch a train? Citymapper hooks in to just about every transportation agency it can get its hands on to provide you with accurate data for your transit travels.
On the Apple Watch, you'll get a great large complication that lets you know what train you should catch next, when it comes, and where you should board. The small complication merely shows your ETA (or, if you're not in the middle of a journey, the Citymapper icon).
Fun fact: When I go into stressful weeks at work, it becomes harder than usual to eat at normal mealtimes. In the absence of my fiancé prodding me to "Stop writing how-tos and eat lunch, dammit," I've been using Lifesum to keep track of my eating throughout the day.
On the Apple Watch, Lifesum has one goal: to yell at you if you haven't eaten enough today. A big "Energy Status:" complication lets you know if you're "Stable" or "TOO LOW," and tapping on the text sends you directly to the app where you'll be encouraged to go eat a snack (or, if you haven't eaten lunch already, some lunch, dammit.) It's a nag... but a useful one.
I know there are a ton of other great Apple Watch apps floating about the App Store, and I'd wager quite a few have great complications, too. Have an app you think I should try out? Let me know in the comments!
Updated January 2017.