Most Useful Apple Watch Applications of 2023
Learn how to use your watch for more than simply notifications. Discover the many cutting-edge add-ons available for your smartwatch. Here are the best apps of 2023 developed specifically for the Apple Watch.
The Apple Watch may work with tens of thousands of apps, but not all of them are worth downloading. A lot of them fall short, making you stare at your wrist for too long or giving you just brief moments of wonder. After an initial surge of excitement, some once-promising Apple Watch apps have fallen into oblivion.
We demand excellence, not mediocrity. Our goal is to discover truly groundbreaking app experiences that will have us coming back for more. We’ll help you get the most of your Apple Watch by shining a light on the best apps for it.
The top new Apple Watch apps
Get an immediate fix with the Apple Watch applications currently capturing our attention.
- Clicker – Count Anything (Free)
The original Clicker started as a simple app, displaying a prominent number on the screen that increased when tapped. Over time, it underwent a transformation, adding complexity – a development that was initially met with trepidation. Fortunately, Clicker, created by The Iconfactory, proved to be in capable hands. In summary, all the app’s options are neatly tucked away behind a discreet cog button.
The first notable addition was goal setting, allowing users to set targets and monitor their progress beyond those goals. More recently, the app introduced an array of enhancements, including a variety of color choices, data synchronization, and the ability to customize increments with specific values. This makes it an ideal tool for honing your skills, whether you’re practicing your 173 times tables or aspiring to be the next host of the ‘numbers game’ on Countdown.
- Hit The Island (Free)
On iPhone, Hit The Island ingeniously turns Dynamic Island into a game. However, the Apple Watch lacks this feature, so the game places a simulated island at the top of the screen. Your task is to control a paddle, moving it left and right to bounce a ball toward the target, shaped like a lozenge.
In essence, it’s a modern twist on the classic game of Pong. If you’re of a certain age, you’ll find delight in using the Digital Crown to play, feeling like a giant manipulating a traditional paddle. That is, until your own lack of skill results in yet another frustratingly low score. (Frustration abounds.)
The best Apple Watch exercise and health apps
Apple’s little assistant will help you get in shape by encouraging you to exercise, run, and sleep more soundly.
- Streaks Workout ($3.99/£3.99)
This app pushed a few members of the Stuff team to their limits, but we wholeheartedly endorse it for a rapid calorie-burning session. All you require is your trusty Apple Watch, as Loo Workout operates independently from the iOS app, and the determination to break a sweat.
You have the option to select from four workout durations (with the 30-minute one aptly labeled as ‘extreme’), and the app seamlessly strings together uncomplicated exercises. After completing a set of repetitions, simply tap the screen. It’s straightforward—except when your entire body protests for not opting for the six-minute challenge from the outset.
- Runance (Free)
Runance merits a place on your Apple Watch if you value privacy and don’t care about leaderboards and similar features.
Start a workout on your watch and you can view real-time metrics, toggle between continuous and average tempos, and control music. You can access your workout history and waypoints on your iPhone. No login is required, and no information is shared with third parties.
- WorkOutDoors ($6.99/£6.99)
There are numerous fitness applications for Apple Watch, but WorkOutDoors is the only one that includes maps. On your wrist, you have access to a zoomable, pannable, and rotatable vector-based map. It appears as if someone placed a miniature iPhone in an Apple Watch case.
Its ambitions do not end there. There are numerous features that demonstrate what is possible when attempting to create more than an iPhone app’s companion: breadcrumb trails; multi-colored speed/elevation/heart-rate trails; alternate layouts and zones; compass support; loads of data options; and Points of Interest to help you find your way to the nearest pub. (Obviously, you need a reward after all that exercise.)
- Strava (Free + IAP)
Strava opts for a more conventional auxiliary app, which has a narrower scope than WorkOutDoors. You receive a massive “start” button and metrics (time/distance/heart rate) as you bike or run around the area.
Given that Strava has been compatible without an Apple Watch for some time, it is one of the more trustworthy initiatives on the platform. The minor disadvantage is that it drains your battery. Still, this is all the more reason for you to speed up a touch.
- WatchTo5K ($3.99/£3.49)
Getting off the couch is the easy part. Another is the ability to run a 5-kilometer jog without experiencing knee pain. Get there gradually with the help of WatchTo5K. You’ll go for three runs per week, increasing the length of each run and decreasing the amount of time spent walking. You will eventually be able to run 5 kilometers in under 30 minutes. You won’t need to worry about carrying your iPhone about or finding a way to conceal it in your fluorescent lycra running attire because all the calculations can be done on your Apple Watch.
- Moodistory ($6.99/£6.99)
Your Apple Watch can help you monitor and maintain healthy habits like walking, standing, and protecting your hearing. As an alternative, Moodistory encourages you to keep track of your emotional state.
This is highly subjective, but the app keeps things straightforward by having you score your current emotional state. This helps it piece together a picture of your emotional state over time.
Basic notes can be added to entries and your mood can be tracked over the past two weeks, all from your Apple Watch. You may delve further into your information on an iPhone.
- Standland (Free + IAP)
You might like Standland if you find that the hourly reminders from your Apple Watch aren’t enough to keep you moving. The app’s goal is similar to Apple’s constant nagging, but instead of annoying reminders, it rewards good behavior with cute collectible creatures.
Any action lasting more than a minute in an hour counts against the daily maximum of 24. Soon, you’ll be able to use your iPhone to gaze in wonder at a miniature owl or bunny that can hop around in augmented reality settings. Take precautions against an overload of cuteness, please.
- Heart Analyzer (Free + IAP)
There’s a Heart Rate app built right into your Apple Watch, but Heart Analyzer allows you to dig deeper into your thumpiest of organs.
After you’ve performed a bout of exercise, you can peruse wiggly lines, showing how your heart rate changed over time. The app logs averages over the past week, and you can even set a massive graph as a complication.
Overkill? For some. But if you’re sporty, Heart Analyzer seems a good bet for keeping track of what your ticker’s up to.
- Wakeout ($4.99/£4.99 per month)
You sit at your desk, aching from the day. But you know you can’t possibly find the time to work out. Wrong! The ingenious idea behind Wakeout is to sprinkle brief periods of exercise throughout your day. A timetable is available on the iPhone. On Apple Watch, however, the process entails choosing a scenario, watching a short animation of a randomly selected workout, and then carrying it out for a limited time until a buzz from the wearer’s wrist signals the end of the session. The Apple Watch app on its alone probably won’t be enough to get you sign up for a $5/month (although for the whole family) subscription, but when you consider the total value of the service, including the free weeklong trial, it’s hard to pass up.
The best Apple Watch essentials and travel apps
The important apps for daily life, as well as those that prevent you from getting lost at home or abroad.
- Reward Card Wallet – Barcodes (Free + IAP)
You no longer have to feel self-conscious as you rummage through your bag or pockets for the barcode that will get you access to the gym, the ability to borrow books from the library, or a tiny discount at the grocery store. You can use this app to access it from your wrist.
You can scan up to ten barcodes at once with the iPhone app. Then, you’ll use the appropriately sized buttons on your watch to access them. The absurdly long account number associated with each code is also provided.
- CARROT Weather (Free + IAP)
Apple’s weather app organizes upcoming conditions around a circular clock. This doesn’t scan very well. CARROT does a far better job, with a stripped-down version of its excellent iPhone app, providing information-packed forecasts with a dash of humor. You’ll be informed it “sucks to be you” if it’s about to rain, and “a bit moony” if the night is chilly and clear.
However, CARROT Weather’s ability to be personalized is its main selling point. This means that the iPhone’s UI can be modified in any way the user sees fit. You can make it act like a hybrid of Siân Lloyd and HAL-9000 by giving it control of a face as a complication on your Apple Watch. Note that many Apple Watch functions require in-app purchases (IAP) with a subscription, but that they are well worth the money.
- Solstice (Free)
Solstice monitors daylight hours for those who eagerly await the arrival of longer, sunnier days. In addition to the hours of dawn and sunset, it also shows the amount of additional (or decreased) daylight during that day compared to the previous day.
There is a large one with a graph and sunrise/sunset times, as well as other options for complexity. For those who suffer from seasonal affective disorder, the days when alerts appear on their Apple Watch will be limited to the hours of daylight.
- Citymapper (Free)
Citymapper is an excellent iPhone app that provides directions from one place to another, as well as information on nearby public transportation and real-time alerts. The Apple Watch app is just as useful, providing quick access to frequently visited locations as well as details on local public transportation options.
Each stage of the journey is laid out in detail, with all the information you could possibly need included (including train arrival schedules, stops along the way, and miniature maps that open in Apple’s Maps app). We only wish it would magically function for every city and village on Earth, not just the few (mostly capitals) for which it is now configured.
- Foursquare (Free)
Long ago, the Foursquare smartphone app shifted its focus from broadcasting your whereabouts to the world to helping you discover new and exciting locations to visit. You shouldn’t be waving your pricey smartphone about while you’re hungry and unfamiliar with the area.
Thankfully, Foursquare works well on the Apple Watch. You get instant access to the most relevant information about what you’re viewing, as well as the best local recommendations, related searches, and more. Also, the app may be set to alert you when you are near a particular location, so that you don’t miss it.
- Phone Buddy Lost Phone Alert for Watch ($4.99/£4.99)
Although Apple’s Find My is helpful, it’s always preferable to keep track of your devices to avoid misplacing them. You may set PB (short for “Phone Buddy”) alarms to sound on your iPhone and Apple Watch if you accidentally leave them behind.
Your iPhone won’t annoy your neighbors when you head to the kitchen for a biscuit since you can set a distance threshold and disable notifications when you’re connected to your home Wi-Fi.
- iTranslate (Free + IAP)
iTranslate is like having a small translator taped to your wrist; it can instantly locate translations for whatever you say (or doodle) into it, and it can even talk (via your Apple Watch) to help with pronunciation.
Get the “pro” version for $4.99 per month and use the offline mode on your mobile device. The software also contains a brilliant Complication that displays a greeting appropriate to the time of day and shows previous translations when you use the watchOS Time Travel feature by twisting the Digital Crown.
- Elk (Free + IAP)
It’s never fun to be abroad and realize you spent a month’s salary on socks because you miscalculated the exchange rate. With Elk, you can have all of your conversions at your wrist’s convenience, saving you money on costly mistakes.
What’s more, Apple Watch support has been carefully considered in the development of this app. Instead of using a cumbersome keypad to enter information, you can just twiddle the Digital Crown to change the numbers and swipe to add more digits.
- MultiTimer (Free)
The Apple Timer app stores many timers, including user-created ones, despite its unique name. However, they lack background information and only allow for a single execution. But MultiTimer changes all that!
You can assign a color, name, and icon to each timer in the iPhone app, and then see them all on your Apple Watch. There is no limit to the number of timers you can run, and their progress is automatically synchronized throughout all of your devices.
- Countdowns (Free + IAP)
While calendars and reminder apps have their uses, Countdowns provides you with a personalized location to keep track of special dates and the amount of time till they arrive (for occasions like anniversaries) or pass (for goals like quitting smoking).
The list may be modified on an iPhone and features many personalization options. Then, you can keep those dates front and center with Apple Watch complications. Unless, of course, you forget to add the date to the app. Consequently… don’t go there.
The best Apple Watch productivity apps
Although you probably won’t be able to launch Office from your wrist anytime soon, the Apple Watch can nonetheless be useful for getting things done.
- Cloud Battery (Free or IAP)
Cloud Battery is an iOS and macOS program that allows you to keep track of your devices and peripherals, such as trackpads and Apple Pencils. When your iPhone or iPad’s battery life drops below a certain percentage, for example 25%, you can set the device to inform you to recharge.
While the Apple Watch app is merely a monitor, it does serve a necessary purpose. Rather than showing up to an uncharged device, you may tell at a glance in the app or via a complication which one needs a charge.
- Cheatsheet Notes (Free + $5.99/£5.99 IAP)
If you don’t need the security of 1Password but still fancy quick access to bite-sized notes (such as Wi-Fi passwords and door combinations), Cheatsheet Notes is an excellent download. Each tiny information nugget comprises a piece of text and custom icon, and cheats can be synced from the iPhone app (assuming you buy the one-off ‘unlock everything’ IAP).
You can also edit, create and organise (into folders) new cheats directly on Apple Watch (by way of dictation), along with using one of these notes as a complication. Just don’t make it your credit card PIN, eh?
- Drafts (Free)
Even if Notes hasn’t made it to Apple Watch just yet, Drafts more than makes up for it. The program lets you record dictation for new notes, which are subsequently flung into your Drafts folder. Alternately, you can add anything you type to the beginning or end of an already existing note, such as when updating a calendar or a list of things to buy.
Instead of yelling into your Apple Watch, you can take notes with the watchOS Scribble app. Additionally, you can read your notes and browse your inbox without constantly grabbing your iPhone when you have an Apple Watch.
- Halide Mark II ($2.99/£2.49 per month or $59.99/£59.99)
You probably already have Halide installed on your iPhone if you’re a dedicated iPhone photographer. If you haven’t tried Camera+ for Apple devices yet, you really should. It’s a paid software with a ton of useful features that brings out the most in your iPhone’s camera.
The Apple Watch app can’t magically turn your watch into a camera, of course. However, it can show you exactly what your iPhone’s camera sees in real time, which is especially helpful when snapping photos with your arm spread out, or when using the primary camera for a selfie. To take a picture, use the shutter button, or to give everyone a few seconds to grin, use the timer.
- Streaks ($4.99/£4.99)
Streaks, like Productive, aims to make good behaviors automatic. While Productive is a subscription service, this app only costs you once and is quite effective.
Here, you’re advised to keep your routines to a minimum of six (though up to twelve are allowed). Unless it’s a timer, which you start with a tap, the interface only consists of symbols representing your habits, which you prod after a chore is finished. In addition, timely reminders can be sent your way.
The app’s simplicity and directness may put you off at first, but they actually help you get more done.
- BFT – Bear Focus Timer ($1.99/£1.99)
Bear Focus Timer is an excellent iPhone app for staying on track since it allows you to divide your day into work and break periods. The Apple Watch app essentially gives you access to a similar system on your wrist.
By default, you’ll have 25 minutes to work and 5 minutes to rest, with a reassuring bear image displayed after your break. All of these values, including the extended pause after every four sprint pairs, are customizable within the program. If you’re using wireless headphones, you can also benefit from having noise loops streamed directly into your ear canals.
- PCalc ($9.99/£9.99)
You are either a) quite old or b) not going to be persuaded to use a calculator app on Apple Watch if you have great recollections of calculator watches. As a matter of fact, it’s a tad bit of a hassle to do so.
To this day, PCalc remains supreme. You’ll need a long tap or prod to reach an operator, but the buttons are big and easy to use. There’s also a conversion screen, which is the third screen in the software. Turning the Digital Crown will reveal alternative units, such as horsepower and watts, albeit the default setting is “tips.”
Note that freebie PCalc Lite offers similar functionality to massive cheapskates.
- Morpho Converter (Free)
On iPhone, this conversions app is all about efficiency and speed. You define a bunch of conversions, tap out a number and then see all of the answers at once. On Apple Watch, you cannot add any new conversions to your favourites, but you do get your existing iPhone list right on your wrist. A calculator interface lets you punch in new figures, colours usefully differentiate unit types, a ‘reverse’ button enables you to instantly swap converted units around, and there’s a complication to put a specific conversion on your favourite watch face. For free, you’re limited to a handful of custom list items. That restriction can be removed with a 49p per month or one-time £12.99 payment.
The best Apple Watch entertainment apps and games
Use that device on your wrist when it’s time to kick back and relax. The quality of some Apple Watch games is also pleasantly surprising.
- Onefootball (Free)
With news, TV, scores, results, and enough statistics to choke the whole Match of the Day research team, Onefootball is a one-stop-shop for all things football on mobile. When you have an Apple Watch, it mostly serves as a wrist-based companion to make you nervous and excited in equal measure.
For example, if you can’t watch your favorite team play on TV but still want to know how they’re doing, you can get goal alerts sent to your Apple Watch.
Sundial (Free + $9.99/£9.99)
Numerous apps can tell you what time the sun and moon will rise and set. Sundial’s granular information is presented in a series of interconnected screens, or “widgets.” You can use solar dials, pages that center on the sun or moon, and an events page that serves as a data dump while still being easy to understand.
You can put your own spin on it. All of the information displayed and the sequence in which the widgets appear can be modified. Sundial also offers several aesthetically pleasing complexities for your watch face, in case you don’t feel like digging inside the app.
- Overcast (Free)
You may now listen to podcasts on your Apple Watch without needing your iPhone. Overcast, however, has its own Apple Watch app, which is great news for fans of the iPhone app. Aside from functioning as a remote for your iPhone’s media, it also has a standalone mode that’s perfect for listening to podcasts. Overcast can be set to synchronize with your watch in a variety of ways.
The app’s layout is sleek and uncluttered, making the most of its limited real estate. You may quickly access your podcast list and configurations from the main screen. The Apple Watch software allows you to change the playback speed and skip chapters, allowing you to quickly get through tedious sections. Bonus!
- WatchFunk ($4.99/£4.99)
This app takes a huge risk by aiming to put a full-fledged recording studio on your wrist. In times of boredom, you can bust out some riffs on a tiny one-octave keyboard for only four pounds.
There are buttons to vary the octave, and if the piano sound doesn’t work for you, there are seven others to choose from, including a synth and a trumpet. Finally, a six-pad drum kit is available for the percussionist among you.
WatchFunk won’t turn you into the next Daft Punk, but it will keep you entertained and productive while you wait for your Apple Watch to arrive.
- Deep Golf (Free or $1.99/£1.99)
Deep Golf could be the answer if you think golf would be more enjoyable if you weren’t forced to compete with so many other players. First, you can check your watch and save money on golf clubs. It’s also unusual for being located underground.
With its side-on 2D perspective, Cave Story lets you whack balls around to see how they ricochet off cave walls, stick to scary purple goop, break bones, and bounce off of enormous mushrooms deep underneath. Little in the way of noise can be heard, but this only adds to the sense of isolation.
- Tiny Armies ($0.99/99p)
It makes sense to play a turn-based strategy game on a PC with a large screen. You may be apprehensive about playing such games on a mobile device. Contrarily, on an Apple Watch?Wait a second.
Tiny Armies tries its hand at this genre anyhow, and the results are surprisingly good, with fights taking place on miniature chequerboard venues shrouded in a fog of war.
Tiny Armies may not have the AI of a nasty Civilization, but it’s perfect for fast, turn-based fun on the go.
- Star Duster ($1.99/£1.99)
Calling Star Duster our favourite Apple Watch game isn’t huge praise, given the competition. But what makes Star Duster properly stand out is it’s a good game, full stop. It echoes old-school LCD titles, with you twiddling the Digital Crown to have your servicebot zoom around the display, collecting space junk.
It looks and sounds lovely, like you’ve accidentally invoked a time travel app and been zapped back to 1982. But Star Duster isn’t done, because it does a lot with a little, providing real challenge as it ramps up the difficulty level with blocking walls and other service bot-worrying hazards. Games are swift, but – unlike most Apple Watch fare – you’ll when defeated immediately want another blast.
- Asteroid Commando ($1.99/£1.99)
Wearable video game console of the classic variety? Asteroid Commando comes close, but not quite. It adapts the basic premise of Asteroids (destroy space rocks and blast deadly alien ships) for the Digital Crown.
If you turn the dial, your ship will rotate and fire automatically. There are occasional power-ups that can help you progress to the next level. You only get one life, and even the first video arcade games weren’t as brutal! Nonetheless, there are two distinct musical styles to choose from (traditional and modern) and exciting noises to accompany your attempts.
- Dice by PCalc ($1.99/£1.99)
Instead of playing a game on your watch, Dice by PCalc helps you play games in the real-world, by way of lobbing virtual dice across a virtual table. From a visual standpoint, this is impressive stuff on Apple Watch, but flexibility is the real win.
In the options screen, you choose from a wide range of dice types – or complete sets to roll with a single tap. Your table can be cleared at any point, or you can gradually throw additional dice, while the app tots up what you’ve thrown and the overall score. Cheats can’t prosper here.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) related to “Best Apple Watch Apps of 2023”;
Q1: What are the best Apple Watch apps for 2023?
A1: The best Apple Watch apps for 2023 cover a range of categories, including fitness, productivity, health, and entertainment. Some notable apps include Strava, Pocket, WaterMinder, Carrot Weather, and Shazam.
Q2: How can I download and install these apps on my Apple Watch?
A2: To download and install apps on your Apple Watch, ensure that the app is compatible with the watch. Open the Watch app on your paired iPhone, go to the “App Store” tab, and search for the app. Once you find it, tap “Get” to download and install it on your Apple Watch.
Q3: Do these apps require a subscription or in-app purchases?
A3: It depends on the specific app. Some apps offer free versions with limited features and optional in-app purchases or subscriptions for premium features. Check the app’s details in the App Store for information on pricing.
Q4: Can I customize the watch face with data from these apps?
A4: Yes, many of these apps offer complications that you can add to your watch face. Complications provide real-time data from the apps, such as fitness metrics, weather information, or calendar events.
Q5: Are there any free alternatives to the paid apps listed?
A5: Yes, there are often free alternatives to paid apps in the App Store. For example, if a paid weather app is listed, you can find free weather apps with similar functionality.
Q6: What do I do if I experience issues with these apps on my Apple Watch?
A6: If you encounter problems with an app, try the following steps: ensure the app is up to date, check your watch’s software for updates, and make sure your iPhone and watch are connected. If issues persist, contact the app’s support or refer to Apple Support for further assistance.
Q7: Can I use these apps on older Apple Watch models?
A7: The compatibility of these apps may vary depending on your Apple Watch model and the watchOS version it supports. Some apps may require newer hardware or watchOS versions.
Q8: Are there any Apple Watch apps for specific health conditions, like diabetes or heart monitoring?
A8: Yes, there are apps designed for specific health conditions. For example, there are apps for diabetes management and heart rate monitoring. Check the App Store’s “Health & Fitness” category for specialized apps.
Q9: What are the privacy and data security considerations when using these apps?
Q10: Can I suggest an app to be added to the list of the best Apple Watch apps for 2023?
A10: While the list is based on current recommendations, you can certainly suggest an app you believe deserves recognition. You can contact the list’s curator or share your recommendations in the App Store by writing a review.
These FAQs should provide valuable information about the best Apple Watch apps of 2023 and how to make the most of them on your device.