The best Ap­ple Watch apps

BOOST YOUR WATCH WITH THESE FAN­TAS­TIC APPS.

Macworld (USA) - - Contents - By Michael Si­mon & Leif John­son

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.

PAID APPS

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.

2. Streaks

Price: $4.99

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

Price: $4.99

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.

5. Rules!

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.

8. De­liv­er­ies

Price: $4.99

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.

9. Life­line

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.

12. Cheat­sheet

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.

13. Sleep++

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.

14. thescore

Price: Free

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

Price: Free

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.

17. Shazam

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

Price: Free

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.

19. Notebook

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

Price: Free

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

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