The best Apple Watch apps now offer the most diverse line up of any fitness tracker or smart watch around, making a list of the most essential Apple Watch apps to download first a must when you've just bought one.
From replacements for first-party options, to email clients and habit-trackers, there’s a little bit of everything available for the tech giant’s popular range of wearables, and more emerge regularly, all of which firmly establishes the Apple Watch as one of the best smartwatches (opens in new tab).
Whether you want to install apps you already have on your phone or are looking for completely new options best suited to the Apple Watch, we’ve rounded up the best Apple Watch apps you can find in 2022. As a reminder, all of these can be found in the App Store, and most are available for the iPhone or as a distinct Apple Watch own version.
1. Apple Music / Spotify
Free / subscription
Both apps will let you stream music (and playlists in Spotify’s case) via cellular connection (if your watch is equipped for it), but perhaps more importantly you can download your favorite playlists for offline listening. Doing so means you can connect your Bluetooth headphones of choice and leave your phone at home.
Regardless of how you listen, you’ll find playback controls at the ready whenever you’re playing audio, and you can even add songs to your library with a tap, too.
2. Dark Sky
Apple now owns Dark Sky (opens in new tab), but for now, it’s still a paid-for weather forecast app. The good news is that for a small fee you’ll gain a great weather app for your iPhone or iPad that’s also excellent on the Apple Watch.
There’s only one screen, but it incorporates a whole host of data into that single view. Temperature is at the top, followed by twenty-four hours of forecast weather and temperature. Then there’s an impressive seven-day forecast just a scroll away.
It’s a great app that’s only likely to get better, with a complication that shows you the current temperature at a glance.
Free / $1.99 per month for premium features
Drafts describes itself as “where text starts”, and it’s hard to argue. Essentially a plain text editor with an array of powerful actions that can move your scribblings into a variety of formats and other apps, Drafts (opens in new tab) is an excellent app on all platforms.
On Apple Watch, it’s ideal for note-taking, letting you dictate or type things down, and tag them to categorize them. While you’re unlikely to write your next essay entirely on your watch, it can be handy for getting some thoughts down before filing them away later.
The app is free but you can pay $1.99 monthly ($19.99 annually) to unlock Drafts Pro, which adds customizable actions, themes, and additional widgets on iOS, as well as the option to group tags with Workspaces.
Free / $4.99 per month for premium features
Sure, Apple Watch ships with its own calendar, but Fantastical (opens in new tab) is a huge step up from the stock version (which can also be said about the other versions of it, too).
See your next appointment at a glance with a complication for your watch face, track your tasks, or get a nice, clear look at the day ahead – complete with a weather forecast for the next 3 days. You can also jot down your new appointments using natural language, with Fantastical knowing just where to put your events.
The app itself is excellent just with the free version, but you’ll find a whole host of additional features for $4.99 per month ($39.99 annually). Extended weather forecasts, the ability to respond to invitations in-app, and push alerts for new invitations, along with plenty more are all included.
5. Pocket Casts
Free / $0.99 per month for premium features
The App Store isn’t short of podcast apps, but Pocket Casts (opens in new tab) stands above many others – including Apple’s own.
The app’s smartest features make their way to the Watch version, too. You can trim down periods of silence automatically, speed up podcasts to get through them faster, or boost the volume to equalize quieter speakers.
All of this, and the ability to download whatever you have in your up-next queue for listening on the go, making it ideal for anyone that enjoys a podcast to run to. It’ll cost you $0.99 per month ($9.99 per year) for offline playback, but you’ll also get the ability to playback stored audio files through the app.
Free / $7.99 per month for premium features
Don’t let that price tag put you off ($59.99 per year) – Strava (opens in new tab), perhaps more than any other app on this list, doesn’t demand the optional in-app purchase.
If you’re a runner, a cyclist, a hiker, or even a skiier, Strava is a great way to track your progress with the Apple Watch’s GPS tracker. Pick your activity, and you’re off, with options for notifications to let you know your current splits, as well as the ability to write to your Health app.
The Strava subscription will net you additional workout plans and deeper dives into your analytics, but whether you subscribe or not, Strava is a great addition to your Apple Watch.
Streaks is a habit-forming app that tracks tasks you set and tallies up the days you’ve completed it. So, if you set yourself a challenge to read a book every month, drink a certain amount of water a day, or just close your Apple Watch’s activity rings, Streaks (opens in new tab) will help you keep track of those victories.
It’s great on Apple Watch, too, with a variety of complications to put on your home screen, as well as the ability to check items off as you go. It’ll also write to the Health app, so whether you’re drinking water or getting some exercise, it’s all logged.
Streaks also offers a workout focused version for fitness fans, but this more all-purpose option is an ideal way to make sure you’re getting your steps in and eating your veggies.
8. Things 3
Things 3 (opens in new tab) is an excellent to-do app on iPhone, iPad and Mac, and it’s an outstanding citizen on watchOS, too. The idea? To help you get things done.
Things can show you the day’s tasks on your watch face, and let you move them around, add notes, and append deadlines as you see fit. It’s ideal for work and personal life, with different “areas” letting you differentiate from project to project.
You won’t find a better designed task manager on an Apple device, and that counts for the Apple Watch version, too.
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