Maximize your Apple Watch experience with top-notch apps tailored for your smartwatch.
The Apple Watch stands out, particularly with its App Store offerings, making devices like the Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch SE (2022) among the top smartwatches available.
The App Store, accessible from both your iPhone and watch, boasts a plethora of apps ranging from entertainment to health. But with an overwhelming number of options, we've curated a list of must-have apps based on user feedback, functionality, and our own experiences. Interestingly, many top-tier Apple Watch apps come at no cost.
For a comprehensive look at your wearable's capabilities, delve into our extensive Apple Watch guide. For optimal performance, ensure you're on the latest watchOS 9. If you need assistance updating, we've got you covered.
Continue to explore our handpicked Apple Watch app recommendations below.
MENTAL HEALTH AND WELLNESS APPS
In addition to monitoring physical well-being, the Apple Watch can be a tool for mental health care. While Apple's built-in Mindfulness app offers valuable tools for breath work and introspection, the following Apple Watch apps can enhance your mental wellness journey even further.
The renowned meditation app, Headspace, delivers guided breathing and meditation directly to your wrist. Ideal for those aiming to reduce phone dependency, it stands out as a top Apple Watch app for digital detox.
Select from concise 1-minute meditation snippets or indulge in a full 10-minute session to kickstart your day or momentarily escape daily hustle. While Headspace provides a range of complimentary sessions, its premium package ($12 monthly or $70 annually) grants access to an expansive library, featuring emergency sessions to alleviate anxiety during high-stress instances.
Download Headspace for Apple Watch
Calm, akin to Headspace, is a comprehensive guided meditation app catering to both novices and seasoned practitioners. Its sessions span from 3 to 25 minutes, addressing a spectrum of needs like anxiety relief, focus enhancement, boosting self-esteem, and preparing for restful sleep.
While top Apple Watch apps often provide basic features in the free version, Calm's premium offering, priced at $14.99 monthly, unveils Daily Calm meditations, sleep aids, exclusive masterclasses, music tracks, and more. Notably, Kaiser Permanente provides its 12.4 million members complimentary access to Calm.
Download Calm for Apple Watch
HEALTH AND FITNESS APPS
The Apple Watch, with its activity rings and robust Apple Health features, stands as a premier fitness companion. Whether you aim to boost your activity levels or gain deeper insights into your physical health, there's an app tailored for your needs. Explore the top Apple Watch fitness and health apps below.
Strava's Apple Watch app is a boon for avid runners and cyclists. With the Apple Watch's integrated GPS, you can track your miles without lugging your phone around. If you have an Apple Watch with cellular capabilities, streaming music and answering calls during your workout becomes seamless.
While the Strava app for the watch is straightforward—capturing runs, bike rides, and swims while presenting data like heart rate, distance, and speed—the iPhone counterpart offers more comprehensive features. Alternatively, you can utilize the Apple Watch's native Workout app to monitor a session and later transfer that data to Strava through the iOS app, HealthFit, priced at $2.99.
Download Strava for Apple Watch
Nike Run Club
Apple and Nike share a longstanding partnership, exemplified by the Apple Watch Nike+ edition. This collaboration boasts a custom Nike sport band and a watch face prominently featuring the Nike Run Club app. However, you don't need the Nike-branded watch to benefit from the Nike Run Club, a standout among Apple Watch running apps.
This complimentary app, highly recommended in the running community, tracks metrics such as distance, speed, splits, and heart rate. Additionally, it provides free audio-guided runs, personalized coaching strategies to achieve your targets, and a social feature enabling friends to encourage you.
Water Reminder is a must-have app for every Apple Watch user, earning its top spot among Apple Watch applications. Maintaining proper hydration can be challenging amidst a hectic day, even with the finest water bottle. This app alerts you if it's been a while since your last sip.
So, how does it keep track? As you consume water or other drinks during the day, you record the intake amount on your watch. To begin, install Water Reminder on your iPhone or Apple Watch. Upon setup, you'll be guided to adjust your preferences. The app lets you either integrate with Apple Health to retrieve age, weight, and height details or enter them manually. Furthermore, you're prompted to input your activity intensity, local weather conditions, and personal hydration targets.
Download Water Reminder for Apple Watch
Under Armour's fitness-tracking app stands out both on the iPhone and as one of the premier Apple Watch applications. If you're familiar with MapMyRun for recording your routes, transitioning to the watch version is seamless.
Leveraging the watch's innate GPS and heart rate monitor, MapMyRun captures a range of exercises from outdoor runs to indoor treadmill sessions, walks, and cycling. It showcases your distance, time, speed, and heart rate during each activity. An added perk: it can integrate with Under Armour's MyFitnessPal for a comprehensive view of your fitness and wellness, making it invaluable for weight management or achieving fitness milestones.
Furthermore, MapMyRun syncs with Under Armour's Bluetooth-enabled shoes, delivering intricate insights like your foot strike pattern. This app is a top recommendation for transforming your Apple Watch into an elite running companion.
Download MapMyRun for Apple Watch
OutdoorActive ranks highly among Apple Watch apps tailored for outdoor activity aficionados. If you've chosen an Apple Watch over top-tier Garmin or other GPS watches, OutdoorActive can enhance your wearable's familiarity with your environment.
With OutdoorActive, you can transfer outdoor paths (along with corresponding offline maps) from your iPhone directly to your Apple Watch. On the watch, benefit from detailed step-by-step instructions, view photos of significant landmarks, and access route details, all the while monitoring your GPS position. Additionally, your outdoor adventures, be it hiking, cycling, or trail running, seamlessly integrate with Apple Health, contributing to your Activity ring goals.
Download OutdoorActive for Apple Watch
To truly optimize your Apple Watch experience, personalizing your watch face with complications is essential. These offer immediate insights into the data you prioritize. For many, a daily step count holds significance.
If you've never encountered a native step-count complication when adjusting your Apple Watch face, it's because one doesn't exist. However, with third-party apps like Pedometer++, your steps are just a glance away. Pedometer++ provides a variety of options including daily progress, steps and distance, floors ascended, and more. While the chosen data is readily visible, tapping on the complication gives you comprehensive movement details from the pedometer app.
Download Pedometer++ for Apple Watch
MUSIC AND PODCAST APPS
Stream music and podcasts directly from your Apple Watch without needing your iPhone. Although the Apple Watch's built-in speakers don't play audio content aloud, the smartwatch allows you to manage and play content through top-tier wireless headphones. Discover the leading Apple Watch apps for music and podcasts below.
It's expected that Apple would have the top music app for its own Apple Watch. Apple Music stands out as one of the few music streaming platforms without a free tier. However, with a monthly subscription, you can enjoy your favorite tracks on the Apple Watch. If you have an LTE watch with its own data plan, streaming music without your phone is a breeze.
Moreover, you can save Apple Music playlists to your watch and listen offline, even without an LTE subscription. This feature is particularly handy for those who want to exercise without the weight of their iPhone. Simply connect your Bluetooth earphones to the watch, and you're ready to go.
Download Apple Music for Apple Watch
Spotify, renowned as a top music app for iPhones, offers an Apple Watch version that allows premium subscribers to download tracks for offline enjoyment. Even for those using Spotify’s complimentary tier, it’s possible to manage playlists from the watch and listen via Bluetooth headphones. When you're at home, you can even command Spotify to play through the leading smart speakers on your WiFi network.
For tips on optimizing your Spotify experience, explore our tutorials on downloading playlists to your Apple Watch and securing a Spotify student discount to enjoy the service at a reduced rate.
Download Spotify for Apple Watch
Overcast is a user-friendly podcast app offering features like Smart Speed, Voice Boost for consistent volume, offline playback, personalized recommendations, and custom playlists. It boasts a sleep timer, Apple Watch and CarPlay compatibility, and a strong emphasis on privacy without third-party tracking. Although funded by ads that spotlight other podcasts, users can opt for Overcast Premium at $9.99 USD/year to remove ads, with prices varying by country.
Download Overcast for Apple Watch
With watchOS 8 on the Apple Watch, users can stream spoken audio via LTE, including Audible audiobooks. Additionally, you can transfer audiobooks to your watch for offline enjoyment. Audible, a leading audiobook app, seamlessly syncs between your watch and iPhone, ensuring you always resume from where you paused. Although Audible operates on a credit-based system and doesn't offer unlimited free downloads, the flexibility to stream or save audiobooks on the watch enhances its appeal.
Download Audible for Apple Watch
SLEEP TRACKING APPS
Several top-rated sleep apps are available for the Apple Watch, offering in-depth analysis of your nightly rest. While the Apple Watch's built-in sleep tracking is efficient, these apps provide an even more detailed perspective on your sleep patterns. Remember to wear the most comfortable Apple Watch bands for a restful night.
AutoSleep is a top-tier Apple Watch app for monitoring your sleep patterns. It intuitively identifies when you drift off to sleep and awaken, providing a comprehensive analysis
morning report using your time in bed, movement, and heart rate data. Even if you don't wear your Apple Watch to bed, AutoSleep will still analyze your sleep, albeit with less detail, based on the duration you're not wearing the watch without the added insights from movement and heart rate.
Download AutoSleep for Apple Watch
Sleep Cycle stands out as a premier sleep tracking app for Apple Watch. Similar to Fitbit's tracking system, it observes your sleep patterns to decide the optimal wake-up moment. Before sleeping, you set a 30-minute interval, and the app uses the watch's haptic feedback to wake you at the most natural moment within that period. The optional $29.99 annual premium membership offers deeper insights. It benchmarks your sleep scores against global users, allows sleep quality influencing notes, and even assesses if local weather affects your rest after long-term use.
Download Sleep Cycle for Apple Watch
Optimize your day with the Apple Watch by staying organized and streamlining tasks. Discover the top productivity apps for the Apple Watch here.
Just Press Record
Until Apple Watch introduces a built-in Notes app, Just Press Record stands out as an excellent tool for recording thoughts, lists, and messages directly from your wrist. With its user-friendly design, the app facilitates instant recording at the touch of a button. Moreover, it provides transcription services and syncs seamlessly across all your Apple devices via iCloud. You can also edit both audio and transcriptions within the app, and even initiate a new recording hands-free using Siri.
Download Just Press Record for Apple Watch
Todoist stands out as one of the top Apple Watch apps, providing a seamless way to manage daily tasks across your Mac, iPhone, iPad, and wrist. Its voice dictation feature on the watch allows easy task addition, paired with reminders and the ability to mark tasks as completed. The synchronized to-do lists across all Apple devices mean you can stay organized without having to constantly access your phone or MacBook. The sheer satisfaction of marking a task as done with a simple wrist tap makes this app indispensable.
Download Todoist for Apple Watch
Did you know you can navigate with Google Maps on your Apple Watch? While Google Maps is renowned for its global navigation capabilities, its Apple Watch version is optimized for the device's compact display. Instead of viewing a map, you choose your transportation mode—be it car, bike, public transport, or walking—and navigate to favorite or newly-inputted destinations from your phone. The app provides detailed directions, enhanced with haptic notifications, ensuring you never miss a turn.
Download Google Maps for Apple Watch
Transform your Apple Watch into a global translator with iTranslate Converse, supporting 38 languages. Whether you're honing your linguistic abilities or interacting with a foreign language speaker, you can manually choose or let the app auto-detect the languages. Impressively, iTranslate Converse delivers swift translations even in loud settings. Post-conversation, you can review and save the transcript—ideal for revisiting travel directions or suggestions. Don't forget to explore top smart luggage options for your upcoming journey.
Download iTranslate Converse for Apple Watch