The best Apple Watch apps
BOOST YOUR WATCH WITH THESE FANTASTIC APPS.
Apple Watch might have started as a device wholly dependent on your phone, but it’s transformed into one that can function all day on its own. However, just like your iphone, you won’t get the most out of your Apple Watch until you fill it up with apps. Here are 10 of our favorite paid apps and then 10 free ones.
1. Outcast Price: $0.99 Available from: go.macworld.com/otct
Apple is finally providing proper podcast support in watchos 5, but if you want more than the basics, we recommend giving Outcast a look (and a listen). Designed specifically for the Apple Watch (in fact, the companion iphone app is merely instructions on how to use the Apple Watch app), its simple, elegant interface lets you stream all of your favorite shows with simple controls, excellent search, and playlist support. It’s one of the few podcast apps that let you do more than merely stream the episode that’s playing on your phone, and even with an official Podcasts app coming from Apple, we think Outcast is worth your buck.
Available from: go.macworld.com/strk There are lots of apps that will harness the Apple Watch to help you get healthier and more active, but Streaks is rare in that it will encourage you to change your lifestyle too. As its name suggests, Streaks is a
to-do app that focuses less on what you do and more on how often you’re doing it. Whether you’re trying to eat better, exercise more, or quit smoking, you’ll be able to track, set, and complete tasks right on your wrist. And when you reach your goals, encouraging notifications will help keep the Streaks alive.
3. Carrot Weather
Available from: go.macworld.com/crtw
There are all sorts of weather apps for your Apple Watch, but only Carrot Weather will actually make it fun to check the forecast. Here’s why: At the center of Carrot Weather’s Apple Watch app is a snarky, somewhat sadistic AI companion that tells it like it is. You’ll get the usual highs and lows, chance of precipitation, and a cool condensed fullday glance, but you’ll also get an honest appraisal of the day’s weather. Any app will let you know when it’s hot, but only Carrot Weather will tell you to stay indoors because the world is melting. But be warned: It doesn’t like humans. Not one bit. 4. Dark Sky Price: $3.99 Available from: go.macworld.com/dksk
If a grumpy AI assistant yelling forecasts at you isn’t your thing, Dark Sky Weather might be. Designed to let you know when and where it’s raining, the Dark Sky app will be the first to let you know when you need to find shelter from an impending
storm. With a unique interface that tracks any and all precipitation and won’t let you miss it, Dark Sky is way better than asking Siri if you need an umbrella.
Price: $2.99 Available from: go. macworld.com/ruls
Less a game than a mind workout, Rules is a fantastic brain-teasing time killer that works surprisingly well on the Apple Watch’s tiny screen. Whether you’re in a waiting room or a cafeteria, Rules will keep your mind sharp and your fingers busy. Its simple, yet super challenging, series of puzzle and memory games will keep you coming back again and
6. Things 3
Price: $9.99 Available from: go.macworld.com/thng
Things 3 is one of the best to-do apps within the Apple ecosystem, thanks in part to its simplicity and intuitive user interface. Those great qualities carry over to the Apple Watch. You’ll get much the same interface there that you enjoy on IOS or the Mac, including the option to check off tasks as you complete them, read additional notes with a tap, or add new to-dos and associated deadlines through dictation. There’s even a nifty completion wheel that’s reminiscent of the Apple Watch’s activity rings to help give you extra motivation for getting all the stuff done you need to get done.
7. Fantastical 2
Price: $4.99 Available from: go.macworld.com/fan2
The Apple Watch’s Calendar does a fine job of keeping up with your appointments and reminders. But maybe you want an app that takes what Calendar can do one step further. If so, then look to Fantastical 2.
With an elegant interface that presents all of your important to-dos at a glance, a naturallanguage integration that allows you to add your appointments by forcetouching, and watch complications that you can customize to suit your needs, Fantastical on your wrist is as good as the one in your pocket.
Available from: go.macworld.com/dlvy
It might seem outlandish to spend five bucks on an app that merely tracks your packages, but once you start using Deliveries you won’t be able to stop. Just add any upcoming deliveries on the iphone app (either by forwarding emails to developer Junecloud’s sync service or typing them in manually), and Deliveries does the rest, pulling data as it arrives and alerting to any changes. But it’s the app that makes it all worth it, tracking your package and showing you its progress at just a tap. So when you’re waiting for your next Apple Watch band to arrive, you won’t need to keep logging in to the Apple Store to check on its status.
Price: $1.99 Available from: go. macworld.com/lfln
The Apple Watch and games don’t usually go hand in hand, but Lifeline is something totally different. With limited graphics and a focus on verbal storytelling, the IOS game is perfect on the Apple Watch. Intensely engaging and gripping on the small screen, Lifeline will keep you tapping all day long (or at least until you can save the stranded astronaut you’re communicating with). Whether you play the original or one of its five sequels, you won’t find a more unique game on any platform.
10. Just Press Record
Price: $4.99 Available from: go.macworld. com/jpre
Some of the best ideas hit us when we’re far from our Macbooks or notebooks, but with Just Press Record, you never have to worry about forgetting them again. The appeal is right there in the name. Set it as a complication on your Apple Watch, and you can tap it at any time to start recording your words immediately. When done, just tap the Stop button. That’s basically it. The quickie message (or even a long conversation) immediately saves to your iphone, where you can then either listen to it later or consult the decent transcription. For writers fond of ruminating over ideas while on strolls through the grocery store or on afternoon jogs, it’s practically life-changing.
FREE APPS 11. Chirp
Price: Free Available from: go.macworld.com/chrp
Ever since Twitter pulled its app from the Apple Watch, there’s been a missing link between our timelines and our wrists. Chirp restores the connection.
A simple interface allows you to browse your timeline, scan your mentions, and catch up on the latest trends, and with a quick tap you can like or retweet anything you see. Heavy Twitter users can donate a couple bucks to unlock the pro version, which adds direct posting, DMS, and lists, but if you’re just looking for a way to stay in touch with your feed, you need the Chirp app.
Price: Free Available from: go.macworld.com/chsh
The Apple Watch is a perfect device for things you need to remember, but Apple still doesn’t bundle an app that collects them all for easy viewing. That’s why Cheatsheet is indispensable. It’s as simple as it gets, but it’s all you need: You can add, edit, and delete up to three “cheats” right on your wrist, along with a complication that will display your most pressing bit of text on supported faces. (If you want more than three at a time, you can pay $2.99 to unlock the full version.) You won’t get the encryption and security of an app like 1Password, but for quick access to short notes, Cheatsheet is indispensable.
Price: Free Available from: go.macworld.com/slee
One of the few things our Apple Watch can’t do on its own is track our sleep patterns. With the Sleep++ app on your Apple Watch, you can. Just keep your watch strapped to your wrist while in bed, and the app will analyze the different patterns and phases of your sleep to tell you the length and quality of your sleep. But the killer feature is automatic sleep detection. By using the watch’s health monitoring tools, Sleep++ will kick in the moment you fall asleep and turn off when you wake up. The only thing you have to remember to do is make sure your Watch has enough power to make it through the night.
Available from: go.macworld.com/scre
If you’re a sports fan, the Apple Watch is a great device for keeping up to date on the latest news and scores. And thescore app is our favorite way to do it. Totally free and completely customizable, the app will keep you up to date with news and scores for all your favorite teams, whether you follow the pros or amateurs. You’ll be able to see in-game action, plays, and of course, score updates as games are going on, as well as check out upcoming games right on your wrist. if you can’t be in front of the TV, it’s the next best thing.
15. Apple Heart Study
Price: Free Available from: go.macworld.com/aphs
You might not ever need your Apple Watch to save your life, but if you ever do, the Apple Heart Study might be the reason why. Apple has partnered with Stanford Medicine to monitor data from Apple Watches to “identify irregular heart rhythms, including those from potentially serious heart conditions such as atrial fibrillation.” We’ve already seen how notifications can save lives by alerting users to irregular hear-rate rhythms, but this study will take it even further. It won’t cost you anything and you won’t even know it’s running.
16. Night Sky
Available from: go.macworld.com/ntsk
Stargazers already know how awesome Night Sky is on their iphones, but surprisingly it’s just as good on the small screen as it is on the big one. You’ll not only get notifications of celestial events, you’ll be able to point your wrist at the sky to see which constellations and planets are above you wherever you are. And when you lower your wrist, the app will switch to a Celestial Compass that gives you a 360-degree overview of the entire sky. There’s even a complication that will let you know when the International Space Station is flying overhead.
Price: Free Available from: go.macworld.com/shzm
Now that Apple owns Shazam, baked-in Apple Watch support is surely on tap for a future update, but until it arrives, the Shazam app for Apple Watch is a mustdownload. Simple, speedy, and super convenient, the Shazam app on your wrist distills the service down to its most valuable asset: song identification. Launch the app and you’ll be able to quickly tap to see what song you’re hearing. You can also see a list of your recent song matches and let you listen to a preview, in case you’ve forgotten how it goes.
18. Pcalc Lite
Available from: go.macworld.com/pccl
There’s one thing the Apple Watch doesn’t have that the smart watches of the ’80s did: a calculator. While we’ll never understand why Apple didn’t build a rudimentary calculator app for the wrist, the folks behind Pcalc make it a non-issue. And you don’t have to buy the pro version to enjoy it. With the free Pcalc Lite, you’ll be able to do basic calculations on your wrist, including a handy tip calculator. And you can even scribble and speak your
19. formulas if the number pad is too tiny for your fingers.
Price: Free Available from: go.macworld.com/ntbk
Another app Apple doesn’t load on new watches is Notes. And while Siri won’t help, Notebook will. In addition to the fantastic iphone and ipad app, you’ll also get a full-featured Apple Watch app that lets you write, record, and view recent notes with ease. You’ll even be able to see any pics you added to notes on your iphone. Syncing is nearly instantaneous in both directions, audio notes are fully playable on your iphone, and you’ll be able to delete notes right from your wrist. It’s the next best thing to Notes.
20. Map My Run
Available from: go.macworld.com/mpmr
The Apple Watch does a fine job on its own of tracking our exercise, but if you want to take your workout to the next level, Map My Run by Under Armor is the way to go. You’ll be able to track your duration, distance, and steps, as well as your heart rate, anaerobic levels, and recent run history. And if you have a pair of UA Record Equipped connected shoes, it’ll even start recording your run the moment your feet touch the ground. ■
ILLUSTRATION BY JOHN UELAND