With plenty of apps available on iTunes these days, the Apple Watch can potentially revolutionise interactions by extending phone features to our wrist and making them more efficient. And beyond the situations early adopters took their phones through, a rigorous test of the latest and most useful apps, we feel, is how they can help you cope with a busy family life.

Technology must sink or swim here by the delivery of genuine value to warrant the precious time and money invested in setting it up. As with any tech, the hardware may be beautiful but it's only as good as its software.

Here therefore are five Apple Watch apps that have made a real difference to our family life - for a number of reasons - and why you should consider downloading them to your Watch too.

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Available here: iTunes

Workflow offers deep configurable access to all sorts of iPhone and Apple Watch features. The big benefit here is automation. Drag and drop a series of functions to line-up, manage and achieve everyday tasks at the press of a button.

On the Apple Watch, you can achieve all manner of things using just one tap on an action, from scheduling calendar events based on your current location, tracking expenses or quiz Google to translate a phrase.

Even a scenario as obscure as sending a text message to your spouse to let her know when you'll be home when on a run is achievable. Simply tap a "Workflow Complication", and it can automatically get your current location, calculate how far it is to get home and generate an estimated time of arrival based on your average running speed.

This can then be bundled into an iMessage to your wife's contact number together with your current address. It can even add what what music you're listening to. For example, "I'm at 17 Broadway Street, listening to Coldplay, and will be home in 21 minutes."

The watch does all that work for you at the tap of a button, and it totally feels like the future.

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Available here: iTunes

Whether you are travelling as a family or simply purchasing products from other territories, being able to quickly convert currency on your wrist is a godsend. You can customise the display settings such as text and flag size as well as row height.

It’s not a complicated addition to the Apple Watch but is another reason to keep your phone in your pocket and let the Watch do the work for you. This is even handier when shopping overseas as you don’t have to keep pulling your phone out to check the price. And of course this is all based on live exchange rates.

There’s a free version with ads or a Pro version that’s ad-free.

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Available here: iTunes

The Apple Watch is a device perfectly suited to tracking how you sleep, and in a busy family life it’s important to get as much effective rest as you can. Sleep++ is an app you run on your Watch through the night and it records your movements. It charts how well you are sleeping.

Unlike some other apps, Sleep++ manages to avoid draining your battery too much in the process. The data is divided into different levels of sleep to give you a map of these periods through the night.

A nice touch is the option to include the sleep data in Apple's Healthkit so that it can be accessed by other apps for a broader picture of your health and wellbeing.

We’d like the app to add tracking of your heart rate through the night as well as movement but perhaps this would drain the battery too much. As it stands this is a well designed app that will enable tired parents to make the most of the time in bed they have each night.

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Available here: iTunes

This is a nice addition to the wrist of any parent for a number of reasons. Not only does it recall 1980’s Casio calculator wristwatches but it can be invaluable for helping with homework. Being able to tap out a quick sum on your wrist means you don’t have to reach for your phone when helping the children with their Maths.

It’s also useful when out and about and has some nice built-in features. The tip calculator may have more of a US audience in mind, but is still a helpful way to split the bill and include different levels of tips when eating out.

At £7.99 it might not be the cheapest calculator app but the combination of iPhone and Apple Watch features you get for your money make this an essential for families.

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Fantastical 2

Available here: iTunes

Of course, keeping track of the comings and goings of family members is another important part of family life. While the built-in Apple Watch calendar is pretty good there’s simply no beating the streamlined interface and smart interactions of Fantastical 2.

This has long been a top rated iPhone calendar app and now provides access via an Apple Watch interface too. The Watch provides a variety of different views to important calendar information as well as a variety of ways to quickly add and update this information.

The overview display provides a colour-coded schedule of important events and reminders. Creating new reminders is easy by adding events that start with the words "reminder", "to-do", "task", or "remind me to".

This is designed to work in collaboration with the iPhone app and achieves this well. Setting up complex repeating events and reminders will still be something you do on the iPhone but once configured you can keep track of your family by simply raising your wrist.


Although many have said the Apple Watch is without a killer app, for families there are a number that make a big difference. Chief of these is the customisable automation of Workflow. It’s the sort of technology you didn’t know you needed - but once you’ve tried it it’s impossible to live without.