The Apple Watch is no longer the new kid on the smartwatch block. It's been kicking around for nearly a year now and in that time, the apps available for it reach over 10,000.
Of course, not all these apps are great, useful or even suited to the Apple Watch. There are a few that are pretty useless in fact, serving no purpose other than to notify you of something that has happened but offering you no means to act on the notification. Facebook falls into this category sadly, simply notifying you when someone has commented or mentioned you, but forcing you to get your phone out in order to see what they have said.
There are a few that are brilliant though, and these few are enough to make the Apple Watch a device worth having. The equivalent apps on your phone are able to do more than those on the watch, but this list is about the apps that work as well on your wrist as they do on your iPhone.
We have rounded up the best Apple Watch apps we have found so far. The ones that hold their own on the tiny screen and deliver the information you need without you having to get your phone out. From Shazam to Citymapper, here are the best apps that make the Apple Watch useful, rather than just another gadget. We will be expanding this list as new apps appear and if you've got any suggestions, let us know in the comments and we'll check them out.
There are plenty of news apps available for the Apple Watch but the BBC News app is one of our personal faves. It offers the four top stories, the four top read stories and a section for My News, that allows you to add topics on your iPhone to create your own personal feed. Selecting a story will bring up a summary on your wrist, with the option to continue reading on your iPhone. Snippets of information in an easy to access format.
The Apple Watch has the potential to become a key asset to your smarthome, and Philips was one of the first to spot this. The Philips Hue app is a simple remote control that lets you have a number of lighting presets that you can then control directly from your watch. You don't even need to pick up your iPhone to turn the lights on now, let alone move from the sofa.
Apple Camera Remote
The Apple Camera Remote is pre-installed on the Apple Watch so no need to download. It allows you to use the watch as a shutter remote for your iPhone's camera. The app enables you to open the iPhone camera from your wrist, see what it is seeing and take an instant or three-second timed photo. You can even change the focal point on the Watch app, but you won't be able to switch to the front camera.
If you fly a lot with British Airways, having your flight details on your wrist when at the airport is very handy. The BA Apple Watch app will provide you with gate details, whether the plane is on time and what the status of the flight is. It even goes as far as telling you the weather at your destination.
Citymapper's approach to its Apple Watch app is to let you quickly see the status of nearby public transport at the press of a few buttons. It will also give you directions to your work address, or any saved addresses that you have preset using your iPhone using available public transport from your location. Quick and simple.
The Uber Apple Watch app is simple but effective. It doesn't offer as many features as your phone, such as fare estimates, but it will allow you to request and Uber from your wrist without touching your phone. It will tell you how long the wait is for an Uber, switching between the various car choices, which you can see in the top left corner of the Apple Watch.
Apple Maps doesn't have the best reputation but this app works well on the Apple Watch. You can ask Siri to direct you to a location using your Watch and the Apple Maps app will open, find the location and give you the option to press start. It will then give you step-by-step instructions on your wrist, vibrating to alert you when the next turn is coming up. No iPhone necessary.
We like Apple Maps on the Apple Watch, but Google Maps isn't a bad one to have either. You first need to give the iPhone app some information before the Watch app becomes useful but once you've put in your Home and Work addresses, you can get directions to them with one tap after opening the app. The directions are text based and not quite as pretty as Apple Maps, but useful nonetheless. Recent routes will also appear on the home screen when you launch this app and Force Touch can be used to change the transport type.
Find Near Me
The Find Near Me app allows you to find various amenities nearby where you are from your wrist. The list is pretty comprehensive with everything from ATMs and cafes to beauty salons and book stores. Tap on what you need to find and a list of results will appear on your arm, each of which you can then tap on for more information and even directions.
Unlike Twitter and Facebook, social media app Instagram is a perfect fit on the Apple Watch. The square images look as though they were made for the Apple Watch, which makes the app visually appealing on your wrist but it is handy too. It gives access to feeds, as well as activity and you can like images, see more details on each image and view profiles. You can't upload but it's great for checking what is going on.
Watching full YouTube clips or films isn't something that would be a pleasant experience on the Apple Watch but watching clips a couple of seconds-long is a different story. The Vine app on Apple Watch allows you to see posts from creators you've selected as a Favourite as well as watch Featured Vines. You can Like and Revine from your wrist or use the watch face complication to see your accounts total loops and access the app straight from the face.
Currency is a handy little app for those that travel and want to know how much something is in a different currency. Australian Dollars, British Pounds, Canadian Dollars, Chinese Yuan, Euro, Japanese Yen and US Dollars are the available currencies. Type in an amount into any of them on your wrist and it will convert it into all the others instantly.
Another for those that travel, or even for those just going on holiday. The iTranslate app will translate the words spoken into it when the microphone is pressed into the language you request at the bottom. There are numerous languages available and the translations are pretty accurate from our experience. It will allow you to order a beer or find out where the toilet is at least.
If you remember and loved Casio's calculator watch, Calcbot is a must-have app for the Apple Watch. As you might guess, it is a calculator on your wrist. It's nice and simple, allowing you to add, subtract, divide and multiply, or convert currency, weight, distance or temperature using force touch to bring up the options. There is also a separate tip calculating feature, which can come in handy.
Barclays may not be on board with Apple Pay yet, but its Apple Watch app is useful for those that want a quick balance check. You have to give permission to the Watch on the phone app, as well as set a high and low limit for your account but once setup, you don't need your phone to view your account balance. Open the app on the Watch, push down hard and press the show option and you'll see how much money you have to spend.
Passbook is one of Apple's own apps so you'd expect it to be good on the Apple Watch and it is. Like the iPhone version, it provides easy access to boarding passes, tickets and now Apple Pay cards. Having your boarding pass and tickets on your wrist means you don't have to mess about getting your phone out, which is always good when travelling.
There are plenty of apps trying to help you stay on top of your finances but we took a liking to the Pennies Apple Watch app, which lets you quickly tap in how much you've spent of a given budget target straight on your wrist. It means you can then track how much you've got left, whether that's keeping an eye on your weekly food bill, or as we would like to imagine, your champagne bar bill.
The Evernote Apple Watch app allows you to record voice notes on your Apple Watch, which are then translated into text to make sure you don't forget any lightbulb moments. You can also see your previous notes but you can't edit them or the voice note translation text. This app is purely for barking instructions rather than editing that novel you are writing, and rightly so.
There are numerous apps you can download for the Apple Watch when it comes to weather but we found the native Apple weather app was perfectly adequate at providing quick and easy information on our wrist. For each place you have set up on the iPhone, the Apple Watch weather app will show you the hourly expected outlook. It's easy to read and understand and it's quick to access.
If you are wearing the Apple Watch for fitness, Runkeeper is a good one to download. It allows you to start the app straight from your wrist, without even looking at your iPhone. Open the app, press "start running" and offyou go. Once you've started running you can check a number of stats, including overall time, distance covered and pace.
MapMyRun is another good Apple Watch app for those into fitness. It allows you to start a running, cycling or walking workout without touching your iPhone. During the workout, you will be able to see duration, distance and calories burned, as well as pause, finish, save or discard the workout. The information is then visible in the MapMyRun iPhone app.
Runtastic isn't free but it allows you to track an activity, see a brief history of your previous workouts and monitor your stats from your wrist. Track a run and the Apple Watch app will be able to pull heart rate data while also displaying various information about your run without the need for your phone. If you want GPS tracking, you'll need your phone of course, but the Runtastic app offers plenty of data without it too making it one of the more useful fitness apps.
For those that use the Withings ecosystem, the Withings Apple Watch app is good for providing quick stats in a simple format. If you have a Withings activity and sleep tracker, as well as one of its smart scales, the Apple Watch app will show you steps and distance, sleep recorded and weight recorded. You can also see your activity and weight history without opening the app on your phone.
Seven is another workout app and the Apple Watch version is lovely and simple. You can pretty much do everything on your wrist as you can on your phone. The Apple Watch app allows you to select which seven-minute workout you want to do, whether that's full body, upper body, core, lower body or random, depending on which workouts you've bought or unlocked, and then you can just hit start. A picture of the exercise you need to perform appears on the watch face, surrounded by a countdown circle.
Hole19 is the Apple Watch app for golfers. You'll to start a round on your iPhone after which the Watch will take the information and deliver it to you when you need it, such as distances and the par of the hole. The app also allows you to enter strokes and putts via your wrist, which it then puts into a score card so you can see how you're doing nice and easily.
If you've used Shazam you'll know how it works. You hear a track, fumble for your phone, and try to tap listen before the song finishes. With the Shazam Apple Watch app, you can simply slide up from a Glance, press the listen button and you're capturing the tune before you know it. The Apple Watch app then gives you the option to buy the track on iTunes using Apple's Handoff feature.
Pacemaker is a very basic DJ app that creates music mixes automatically from your iPhone and then allows you to add effects via four preset options on your watch. Effects include distorting the music, making it sound like it is under water, and smashing up the music. It's simple but fun and paired with a Bluetooth speaker makes things even more interesting.
Slack is all about team communication and this is delivered straight through to the Apple Watch app. Features are limited in comparison to the iPhone app as you would expect, but you can still see your mentions and view any direct conversations. There is the option to reply to any incoming messages with a standard preset reply or Siri but for any long replies, we'd advise getting your phone out.
The Dominoes Apple Watch app is the app to download for any pizza lover who wants to follow their pizza order. It's one of those apps that is more useful than it initially sounds. You order your pizza on your iPhone and you can then track your dough's every movement on your wrist. The Apple Watch app tells you when the pizza was ordered, when it is being prepped, when it is baking and when it is ready to collect, with minutes listed for the baking section so you know exactly how long you have before you need to get a move on.
No list of apps would be complete without a couple of games and Trivia Crack is one of our favourites. It's a very basic version of Trivial Pursuit but if you're any good at general knowledge, it's a great app to try. You compete with an online opponent and choose from six categories of questions. Answers are multiple choice, which you select on your wrist and you don't even need to get your iPhone out to start a game.
Brainess is all about stimulating your brain and it offers seven brain training games that you can play on your Apple Watch. The games include memorising and tapping dice, choosing the correct number to complete a maths equation and matching pairs of identical cards. The seven games are said to improve and exercise your memory, vision and compute skills. Whether they will or not is a different story altogether but worth a try right.