While the best Apple Watch may be seen as mostly a health and activity tracker, there's much more to it than meets the eye. In fact, did you know that there are many great apps available for it? If you're away from your favorite iPhone, then you can still easily access some essential apps right on your wrist. From fitness to productivity, here are some of our favorite Apple Watch apps.
Things is a great task manager on the iPhone, and it's Apple Watch app makes tracking the day's tasks simple. The primary screen in Things puts your day's tasks in front of you, which you can check off as you complete them right on your watch. You can also tap on each task to get a little more detail or to move that task to the next day. In an excellent, if small, piece of visual feedback, a circle under Today shows how many tasks you've completed, and continues to fill as you finish more to-dos.
Adding an item to your list is also dead simple. Just tap the + button and speak to your watch. When that task is created, you can tap on it to add a start date or deadline.
Things from Cultured Code is a simple but effective task manager. Take care of your to-dos right on your wrist!
Overcast lets you control podcast playback on your iPhone from your Apple Watch. You can also go through your collection of available podcast episodes to play something new, with all of your playlists available to peruse. Controls for play/pause, skipping forward and backward, opening your playlists, and recommending an episode are all located on the same screen, but in a way that doesn't feel busy. For those who may not have a reliable data connection on the Apple Watch, Overcast allows you to download episodes directly on your watch.
Overcast lets you stream or download podcast episodes directly on your Apple Watch for listening at any time.
Dark Sky is all about your forecast, letting you know what the weather will be like in your immediate vicinity, and warning you up to an hour in advance of rain or snow. As with the iPhone app, Dark Sky for Apple Watch offers a visual timeline of how much rain you should expect and how far into the future you should expect it. You can view everything you need to know in a single screen that scrolls down.
Keep in mind that Apple has acquired Dark Sky to integrate its data into the built-in Weather app. While the Dark Sky app continues to be available separately, it is slated to shut down at the end of 2022 (it was originally going to stop in 2021, so it has been extended). So while you still have this year to use the standalone app, it will cease to function at the end of the year. Still, some may find the data in Dark Sky to be incredibly useful to have, even if it is just for the remainder of 2022.
Dark Sky is one of the best weather apps on iOS because it's packed with hyperaccurate data.
Spark is one of our favorite email apps for the iPhone, and it's still great in its translation to Apple's smallest screen. While some apps that combine email and calendars try to jam pack their watch apps with everything from the iPhone app, Spark keeps it simple, electing to focus on email in an effort to give you the best mail management experience on your watch.
On Apple Watch, Spark takes advantage of its iPhone counterpart's intelligent mail sorting, letting you see at a glance when you have emails waiting that are personal or newsletters. Each of these sections gets a big colorful button that lights up when there's a relevant message in that category. You can open and read each email, then quickly decide if you want to reply to it, snooze, archive, or delete it. In addition to these sections, you can also see your whole inbox, pinned emails, your archive, and your sent messages.
Manage your inbox with ease with Spark Mail, right on your wrist.
Another in the long line of CARROT apps, CARROT Fit tries to inject personality into your workouts — and by personality, we, of course, mean a hostile robot that yells at you and calls you a "meatbag." CARROT Fit specializes in small workouts with "7 Minutes in Hell," which condenses multiple high-intensity exercises into just seven minutes.
Just tap the big red Start button to begin your seven-minute workout. CARROT will threaten, insult, and, when it's in a nicer mood, try to bribe you to get the results it wants to see. You can customize a bit of what 7 Minutes in Hell throws at you, determine how long each exercise lasts, as well as how long the rest period is. When you've successfully completed a workout, you'll be treated to app upgrades and funny rewards.
CARROT Fit provides you with seven minutes of intensive exercise to help get you into shape.
While not as flashy as other workout-tracking apps, WaterMinder still fulfills an important fitness function: keeping track of your hydration. Getting in a nice long run is great right up until you collapse on the sidewalk because you forgot that humans need water to survive. WaterMinder keeps you on top of that, letting you easily log your water intake with a single button tap on your Apple Watch.
Based on your existing health data, WaterMinder determines how much water you should be drinking on any given day. With each entry in the app, you'll be able to watch your progress towards your goal. The app has pre-filled buttons for eight, 14, and 17 ounces per entry, while you can also set a custom smaller or larger amount.
Always stay on top of your daily hydration with WaterMinder.
Keep track of not just how long you sleep, but how well you're sleeping with AutoSleep. The app automatically tracks your sleeping once you've set it up, and you don't really need to do anything else if you wear your watch to bed. The app will track both how long you sleep and the quality of that sleep, and when you get up in the morning and unlock your iPhone, AutoSleep will send you a notification with the results of the previous night. You'll get a detailed breakdown of how long you slept, how long you were awake for, and your average heart rate while you slept.
If you don't wear your watch, AutoSleep will only track how long you slept. When you put your watch on in the morning, the app will know that you've finished sleeping. Honestly, while the Apple Watch can now natively track your sleep with watchOS 7, it doesn't provide in-depth details, making apps like AutoSleep necessary.
AutoSleep provides you with in-depth details about how well you've slept (or not slept).
Just Press Record
Record something on the fly without even needing to break out your iPhone with Just Press Record. Just open up the app and tap the big red button with the microphone on it to start your recording. You can browse your recent recordings and make new ones. You can even record when you're not connected to your iPhone. When you reconnect, just tap Outbox and send your recordings over to your phone.
Once on your iPhone, everything you recorded on your Apple Watch can be synced with iCloud so you can access on your iPad and Mac as well.
If you need to quickly record a voice memo, then Just Press Record! It's super easy, barely an inconvenience.
Fantastical on Apple Watch offers a clean, simple interface while taking calendaring to the next level. While Apple's own Calendar app lets you view and delete events, Fantastical lets you create new ones, giving you more flexibility and reducing the number of times you need to pull your phone out of your pocket.
If you use Apple's Reminders app regularly, Fantastical is also great for its built-in Reminders integration. You can view all of your reminder lists, and check off tasks as they're performed.
Take charge of your schedule with a flick of your wrist. You can even manage your Reminders too!
Already a great password manager, 1Password offers an equally superb companion for its watch app on the Apple Watch. While not a full-featured password manager on your wrist, 1Password for Apple Watch shows you the one-time login key for accounts that use two-factor authentication. If you do a lot of work with those types of accounts, 1Password is definitely an app you need to check out.
1Password will show one-time login keys for any of your 2FA accounts right on your Apple Watch.
Strava is one of the best apps for tracking your workouts, helping you get on track to a healthy and active lifestyle. The Strava Apple Watch app is also a fantastic companion to have on-the-go.
With Strava, you'll be able to track your runs, cycling rides, swims, and more. The Apple Watch app is standalone, so you don't even need to have your iPhone with you to track your activity with it. Information like distance and live pacing is recorded directly on the watch and you'll see it as you go. Saving a workout is done with one button press, and everything will sync with your iPhone and Health once it's near it.
Record runs, cycling, swim sessions, and so much more. Strava also gives you info on distance, pacing, and other stats — no iPhone needed.
Can't remember the Wi-Fi password every time you need to give it to a guest? Or what hotel room you're staying in? Or that security code to gain entry to a work building? Sometimes you'll just need a Cheatsheet for those small details that can be hard to remember.
Cheatsheet is a simple widget type of app where you can make a tiny list of quick notes, and then put those on your Apple Watch. You can view your notes normally through the Apple Watch app, or have them available at all times through the Apple Watch complication. Each note can be customized with an icon to make it easy to recognize quickly. Just make sure that you don't use it for highly sensitive information, like account login passwords, since this app has no security.
This simple app lets you put quick notes to reference as complications right on your Apple Watch.
Even though Apple finally added a Calculator app to the Apple Watch, we still think PCalc is a better option because it does so much more.
On the Apple Watch, PCalc can help you do basic calculations and even calculate tips when it comes to paying the check for dinner, and it can even split the bill up evenly, including tip. But it can also do so many other things, including converting units, constants, trig/log, and even functions. It's an all-in-one calculator app on the iPhone and your Apple Watch.
PCalc is one of the best calculator apps on the market. Do basic or complex calculations, split bills and calculate tip, do conversions, and more.
If you're traveling to or live in a city with public transportation, then it can be a lot easier to get around that way instead of driving. That's why Citymapper should be an app with you at all times, right on your wrist!
The Citymapper Apple Watch app lets you see the nearest transit lines close to you, wherever you are. You can input a destination and the app will provide you with step-by-step directions on what buses and trains to take. You can save favorite destinations, or add your Home or Work addresses for quick access. The app will also let you know when your stop is approaching, how often the bus or train comes, and give you an ETA of when you'll get there. It's a must if you're in a large city.
Check the nearest transit lines, input a destination, and have Citymapper guide you on how to get there via bus and train.
Chances are high that you do your fair bit of online shopping these days. If so, then the Deliveries app is a must.
On the Apple Watch, Deliveries allows you to see a list of packages that are coming your way very soon. The list will include the number of days until delivery, and you can tap on an item to view it in more detail, such as the status, location, and a map of where it is. Unfortunately, you need to use the iPhone app to add new deliveries or to archive completed ones, but for a quick check, the Apple Watch version of Deliveries is great.
Always know when your packages are arriving with this staple app.
App in the Air
If you're a frequent flyer, then having App in the Air is a good idea.
The Apple Watch app for App in the Air tracks your flights, so you can see when you need to check-in and board, as well as travel time and when you'll be landing. If there are any changes to your flight, the app will notify you. It's a useful app to have if you're traveling often, and the subscription ($30/yr) lets you subscribe your family in through SMS, so everyone will be in the loop about when you'll be gone.
Keep tabs on all of your flights and get notified whenever there's a change.
The best Apple Watch apps
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While we may not always use our best Apple Watch for apps, there's no denying it — there are some pretty great ones to have handy on your wrist. Whether you have a new Apple Watch Series 7 or older, it can do so much more than keep track of your health and activity, as demonstrated by our favorite apps.
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Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.
When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.