Best Apple Watch apps: These 9 are the only ones you’ll ever really need


Angela Lang/CNET

We celebrated the fifth anniversary of the Apple Watch in April, and in September we welcomed the Watch Collection 6 and Watch SE to the wearable household. The Watch’s new options, which embody blood oxygen degree monitoring, sign that the system initially supposed to be an iPhone in your wrist, chock-full of third-party apps, has transitioned right into a well being and health tracker. And its native apps have proved extra helpful than any app you’ll be able to obtain. 

Firms together with Amazon, eBay, Goal and TripAdvisor have dropped assist Apple Watch apps, however we’ve our telephones, tablets and laptops for these. What does matter is the built-in Exercise tracker, Messages and Telephone apps — the issues we wish available for a fast and handy look. 

“The watch is de facto about comfort,” mentioned Ray Wang, principal analyst and founding father of Constellation Analysis. “You are not going to spend a lot display time in your watch. So I feel the key of constructing Apple Watch app is to think about it as an adjunct along with one thing. Only a few individuals use it as a standalone until it is for health or well being, or some form of monitoring.”

Learn extra: Greatest iPhone apps of 2020

When the Apple Watch launched in 2015, it had 3,000 apps out there to obtain. At this time, there are greater than 20,000 apps — 21 of that are constructed into the wearable. Whereas watches weren’t an in-demand accent on the whole again in 2015, the Apple Watch proved to be a great tool for checking messages, the climate, and reminders, Wang added — all of that are already constructed into the system.

Listed below are a number of native Apple Watch apps that you could be not already be utilizing.

Change via apps rapidly on the Apple Watch.


Jason Cipriani/CNET

1. Noise

When you’ve got an Apple Watch Collection 4 or later, you need to use the Noise app to measure the ambient sound in your atmosphere. If the decibel degree has risen to some extent the place your listening to could possibly be affected, the app can notify you with a faucet in your wrist. 

Learn extra: Apple Watch Collection 6 vs. SE: What is the distinction between them anyway?

2. Cycle Monitoring

Ladies can use the Cycle Monitoring app to log particulars about your menstrual cycle, together with move info and signs resembling complications or cramps. Utilizing that knowledge, the app can provide you with a warning to when it predicts your subsequent interval or fertile window is about to start out. 

3. ECG

When you’ve got an Apple Watch Collection 4 or later, you might have {an electrical} coronary heart price sensor that works with the ECG app to take an electrocardiogram (generally referred to as an EKG by cardiologists). You will additionally want an iPhone 6S or later, and each the cellphone and the watch will should be on the newest model of iOS and WatchOS, respectively. It is also not out there in all areas. 


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4. Information

The Information app will show you how to sustain with present occasions on the fly, exhibiting you tales that it selects primarily based in your pursuits. Nonetheless, it is not out there in all areas. 

5. Breathe

The Breathe app helps you keep in mind to take a couple of minutes every day to do exactly that: breathe (which is perhaps particularly helpful after checking that Information app). You possibly can set or mute Breathe reminders, or simply open the app while you need some assist pausing and enjoyable. You will see an animation that encourages you to breathe out and in together with it, for 1 to five minutes. It’s also possible to test your coronary heart price throughout these breath periods. 

6. Distant

When you’ve got an Apple TV, you need to use your watch as one other distant management — assuming each gadgets are linked to the identical Wi-Fi community. Use the Distant app to swipe round on the watch face and transfer via the Apple TV menu choices, and play or pause exhibits. 

7. Digicam

You possibly can’t take an image together with your watch itself. However with the Digicam app, your watch can act as a distant management in your iPhone’s digital camera. Use it to assist take selfies or begin recording in your cellphone throughout the room, so you’ll be able to lastly get everybody in that large group shot. 

8. Walkie-Talkie

The Walkie-Talkie app helps you to use your watch as a walkie-talkie to speak with one other individual carrying an Apple Watch. You press a button to speak, and launch it to take heed to the reply. The app is not out there in all areas, and each contributors have to have connectivity via a Bluetooth connection to the iPhone, Wi-Fi or mobile. You even have to simply accept an invite to attach with somebody via the app — they cannot simply begin speaking to you. 

9. Voice Memos

Like on the iPhone, you need to use the Voice Memos app in your Apple Watch to document private notes and issues to recollect whereas on the go. The voice memos you document on the watch will mechanically sync to some other iOS gadgets the place you are signed in with the identical Apple ID. 

Learn extra: The very best Apple iPad apps of all time: Media gamers, graphics instruments and extra


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The way forward for native Apple Watch apps

The gathering of native Apple Watch apps is much from full: We have been ready for a built-in sleep monitoring app because the Watch was launched. One of many essential hurdles appears to be battery life, which can not final lengthy sufficient to trace sleep all evening on one cost. Whereas third-party choices resembling AutoSleep Tracker, Sleep Tracker Plus Plus and Sleep Watch can be found for the Apple Watch, rivals from Samsung and Fitbit have supplied sleep monitoring for years. 

A sleep monitoring app is now rumored for the upcoming Apple Watch 6 — hopefully making this one other instance of Apple ready to enter the market till its ultimate product is perfected. 

The Apple Watch Collection 6 will even seemingly carry extra native well being capabilities. Apple has more and more stepped into the medical analysis discipline with the watch, partnering with hospitals and analysis companies to check coronary heart well being and ladies’s well being. The Collection 6 is rumored to get SPO2 monitoring, which might permit the watch to measure your blood oxygen ranges, much like the way it does coronary heart price. Sensible watches from FitBit and Garmin have an identical functionality already.

Additions like glucose and blood strain monitoring are one other frontier, however are seemingly additional off sooner or later.