Parhaat Apple Watch -sovellukset
Parhaat Apple Watch -sovellukset 2018
Apple Watch on edennyt neljänteen sukupolveensa, ja tuorein tulokas Apple Watch 4 on yksi parhaista markkinoilla tällä hetkellä olevista älykelloista.
Apple Watchin hankkineet kysyvät meiltä eniten yhtä asiaa: "Mikä sovelluksia siihen kannattaisi ladata ensimmäiseksi?". Päätimme tämän innostamina koota kokonaisvaltaisen listauksen parhaista Apple Watch -applikaatioista. Kun hankit oikeat sovellukset, saat uudesta digitaalisesta ajannäyttäjästäsi huomattavasti enemmän irti.
Ennen kuin alat latailla, näppäile itsesi ensin iPhonessa kellon päävalikkonäkymään, josta näet myös kellon käyttöön siirrettävissä olevat ja puhelimestasi jo löytyvät Watch-kelpoiset sovellukset. Jos taas näet tässä listauksessamme kiinnostavia appeja, tulee ne ladata ensin iPhoneen.
Sen jälkeen kun olet lisäillyt haluamiasi sovelluksia kelloon, muista poistaa turhat viemästä tallennustilaa.
Osa tämän artikkelin sovelluksista on vielä kääntämättä englannista suomeksi. Päivitämme artikkelia jatkuvasti suomen kielelle ja myös uusien sovellusten osalta.
- Pelejä ranteeseen? Tsekkaa listauksemme Apple Watchin parhaista peleistä
Alta näet videoarvostelumme Apple Watch Series 3:sta
Viikon valinta: Nike Run Club
Miksi TechRadar voi luottaa Asiantuntijaarvostelijamme käyttävät tuntikausia tuotteiden ja palveluiden testaamiseen ja vertailuun, jotta voit valita sinulle sopivimman. Lisätietoja testaamisesta.
- Nike Run Club
Niken ja Applen pitkäaikainen kumppanuus kantaa edelleen hedelmää. Nike Run Clubin tuorein uudistus sisältää muutamia tervetulleita kehitysaskeleita. Mukana on nyt integroituna Siri Suggestionsiin, minkä johdosta sovellus voi ehdottaa juoksuhaasteita edellisten suoritusten perusteella. (Ominaisuus on toki lähtökohtaisesti pois päältä, joten se ei ala nalkuttaa sinua juoksemaan jos et niin halua.)
Infograph puolestaan kertoo, kuinka pitkän matkan olet esimerkiksi tämän kuukauden aikana juossut.
App Storessa ei varsinaisesti ole puutetta erilaisista juoksusovelluksista, mutta Niken budjetti nyt vain sattuu olemaan muita "vähän" isompi, minkä vuoksi sovellus tietysti tuntuu vähän laadukkaammalta kuin useimmat muut. Se mittaa ja tallentaa kaikki juoksuharjoituksesi Watchin sisäänrakennetun GPS:n avulla, mahdollistaa audio-oppaiden kuuntelun juoksemisen aikana ja tarjoaa eriasteisia haasteita pitääkseen treenimotivaatiota yllä. Lisäksi sen sosiaaliset jakomahdollisuudet ovat tietysti hyvät, jotta kaveritkin voivat fanittaa / kadehtia juoksuintoasi.
Nike Run Clubin design on erittäin hyvä, eikä appi uhraa substanssia tyylin tieltä. Kaikkinensa siis erittäin hyvä juoksusovellus.
- Spotify Music
- Maksuton, mutta myös maksullinen versio tarjolla
Spotify on vihdoinkin saapunut Apple Watchiin! Ja se toimii juuri niin kuin olettaisitkin sen toimivan. Se soittaa musiikkia, painaa tarvittaessa pausea ja yhdistyy muihin laitteisiin Spotify Connectin avulla. Soittolistatkin löytyvät, samoin musiikin sekoitusnappula.
Yhtä puuttuu: Striimaamaan sovellus ei pysty, eli musiikki jota kuuntelet tulee iPhonesta, ei suoraan Watchista. Uskomme, että tämä tulee muuttumaan päivitysversioissa. Myöskin näytön koon optimointi on vielä puolitiessä, joten Watch 4:n isommissa malleissa se näyttää vähän erikoiselta.
Olemme itse Spotifyn kirjautuneita fanikäyttäjiä. Sen musiikkivalikoima on mielettömän kokoinen, ja se toimii hämmästyttävän monilla alustoilla. Maksullisella tilauksella Spotifyn saa toimimaan niin puhelimessa, tabletissa, Apple Watchissa, älytelkkarissa, pelikonsolissa kuin autossakin.
Mainosrahoitteinen versio ei sekään ole liian ärsyttävä, mutta meidän mielestämme parempi äänenlaatu sekä offline-kuuntelumahdollisuus ovat kymmenen euron kuukausisijoituksen arvoisia.
- Telegram Messenger
Oih mitä draamaa! Telegram 5 pudotti alun perin valikoimistaan Apple Watch -sovelluksen, mutta nyt se on palannut! Syy taustalla on vähemmän dramaattinen: Telegram 5 on rakennettu kokonaan uusiksi, ja Watch-versio ei vain valmistunut ajoissa.
Telegram on turvallinen pikaviestintäväline, joka toimii niin iPhonella, iPadilla kuin jälleen myös Apple Watchilla. Telegramilla on mahdollista luoda jopa 30 000 henkilön ryhmäkeskusteluja – mikä piisannee meistä useimmille – ja lisäksi sillä on monia muita sovelluksia kätevämpää jakaa dokumentteja, zip-tiedostoja ja muuta hyödyllistä.
Telegram on maksuton, eikä siinä ole myöskään mainoksia. Jos olet huolissasi tietoturvasta, voit valita Secret Chat -moodin, jossa viestit tuhoutuvat itsestään tietyn ajan kuluessa. Tietysti keskustelun osalliset voivat silloinkin ottaa viesteistäsi esimerkiksi kuvakaappauksen, mutta ainakaan ulkopuoliset eivät pääse salaisuuksiin käsiksi.
Telegramin päällimmäinen myyntiargumentti on sen tehokkuus. Se on suunniteltu käyttämäämn mahdollisimman vähän dataa, mistä voi olla hyötyä esimerkiksi paikoissa joissa yhteydet ovat heikkoja tai datan käyttö on maksullista. Myös akkua se syö vain vähän.
- Rosetta Stone
- Sovelluksen lataaminen on maksutonta, mutta kielivalinnat maksavat erikseen, 150 eurosta ylöspäin
Rosetta Stone on yksi kielten opiskelun isoista brändeistä, ja sen lukuisat sovellukset ovat voittaneet hyllymetreittäin palkintoja. Rosettan menestys perustuu tehokkaaseen oppimiseen ja käyttäjäystävälliseen sovellukseen. Sen Apple Watch -sovellus on hyvä esimerkki siitä, kuinka Watch täydentää puhelimessa olevaa kokonaisvaltaisempaa sovellusta: Watch-versio on räätälöity tilanteisiin, joissa voi lyhyesti harjoitella hetkisen.
Rosetta Stone toimii käytännöllisissä tilanteissa: Ravintolassa tilatessa, kaupoissa, tervehtiessä ja niin edelleen. Watchin sovellus on mielekkäästi järjestelty, navigointi on helppoa ja nopeaa. Ääniesimerkit tukevat treeniä.
Hintaan kannattaa kiinnittää huomiota: Sovellus itsessään on ilmainen, mutta ilman kielen "hankintaa" se on lähinnä hyödytön demo. Kieliä on valittavissa 24 – mutta suomea ei ainakaan vielä. Hinnat ovat tuhteja: Yksi kieli kustantaa 150 eurosta ylöspäin.
Musixmatch Lyrics Finder
- Musixmatch Lyrics Finder
- Maksuton (tarjolla myös maksullinen premium-versio, 3,99 euroa kuukaudessa)
Tämä on hauska: Musixmatch etsii sanat "mille tahansa kappaleelle", jota olet sillä hetkellä kuuntelemassa. Sovellus väittää omistavansa maailman suurimman sanoituskatalogin, ja lisäksi se tarjoaa valikoiman käännöksiä sanoihin, jotka on laulettu muulla kielellä kuin englannilla.
Sovellus tuntuu aika lailla samalta kuin samaan ideaan perustuva Shazam ja se toimii sekä Apple Musicin että Spotifyn kanssa. Päivitetyssä sovelluksessa mukaan tuotiin Siri-tuki, joten voit pyytää Siriä tarkistamaan käynnissä olevan kappaleen sanoja.
Sovellus itsessään on maksuton, ja premium-malli kustantaa 3,99 per kuukausi. Premiumissa ei ole mainoksia, ja lisäksi sitä on mahdollista käyttää offline-tilassa sekä karaokemoodissa.
Emme ole ihan varmoja premiumin hankinnan mielekkyydestä, mutta toisaalta jos se tulee hankittua, eipä hintakaan ole kovin paha – vähän kuin yhden premium-kahvin verran.
HomeCam for HomeKit
- HomeCam for HomeKit
- 5,49 euroa
Tämän käyttötarkoitus on luettavissa nimestä: Kyseessä on sovellus kameroille, jotka käyttävät Applen HomeKitiä. Sovellus toimii kaukosäätimenä, jolla voit tsekata useampia kameroita yhtä aikaa. Ja mikäli HomeKit-laitteesi käyttävät teknologiaa kuten lämpötilan säätöä ja lämmitystä tai valaistusta, voit käskyttää tällä laitteita toimimaan haluamallasi tavalla.
Päätoiminnot tapahtuvat iPhonen tai iPadin sovelluksissa yksinkertaisesta syystä: Watchissa on paljon hyviä ominaisuuksia, mutta näytön koko ei luonnollisesti ole yksi niistä. Siten Watchissa on katsottavissa vain yhden kameran näkymä – yleensä silloin, kun iPhone ei satu olemaan käden ulottuvilla.
Audible saattaa olla sinulle entuudestaan tuttu, Amazonin omistama äänikirjapalvelu. Kirjavalikoima on valtava ja kirjoittajien joukossa ns. todella isoja nimiä. Ja kiitos Apple Watchin, onnistuu kuuntelu nyt ilman puhelimen kanniskelua mukana.
Sovellus toimii kaikkien tähänastisten Apple Watchien kanssa. Kirjat saa tallennettua kelloon, mikäli muistikapasiteettia vain on riittävästi tarjolla.
Tärkeä huomio: Audible ei striimaa kirjoja kelloon, eli äänikirjat tulee synkronoida iPhonesta, mikä vie aikaa. Mutta kun siirto on tehty, kaikki perustoiminnot kuten tauot sekä kelaaminen onnistuvat kellon kautta. Watchin kaiuttimien kautta kuuntelu on mahdollista, mutta paremman laadun saat langattomilla kuulokkeilla.
Audible Watch on tietysti hyödyllisimmillään tilanteissa, joissa puhelinta ei ole mielekästä kanniskella mukana, kuten vaikkapa kuntosalilla.
Salasanat ovat nykyään hankalia: Helpot on liian helppo murtaa ja vaikeat liian vaikeita muistaa. Ja turhan moni isokin nettipalvelu joutuu tänä päivänä tietomurtojen kohteeksi.
Kaksivaiheinen tunnistautuminen onkin iso apu tietosuojan lisäämiseksi, ja tähän Authy tarjoaa ratkaisua. Se on selkeästi turvallisempi kuin vaikkapa tekstiviestivahvistuksen käyttäminen.
Authy on yhteensopiva Google Authenticatorin kanssa, joten kaikki palvelut, jotka hyväksyvät Authenticatorin hyväksyvät myös Authyn – eli Googlen tilien lisäksi myös Microsoftin ja Amazonin tilit ovat tuettuja. Yhä useampi verkkosivusto tukee niin ikään Authyn käyttöä.
Kuten tavallista, valtaosa toiminnoista on suunnattu Authyssäkin iPhonen sovellukseen. Watch toimii lähinnä taustatukena varmennusprosessissa, kun aika on kortilla (ja puhelin muualla). Se ei kuitenkaan vähennä Authyn arvoa: Kaksivaiheisen tunnistautumisen ideahan nimenomaan on vaikeuttaa rosvojen toimintaa ilman, että oma elämäsi hankaloituu tarpeettomasti.
Find Near Me
- Find Near Me
- Ilmainen, pienellä maksulla saa mainokset poistettua
Nimi kertoo kaiken: Sovellus löytää asioita lähelläsi. Ikävä kyllä se ei tarkoita sohvatyynyjen väliin piiloutunutta kaukosäädintä, auton avainta tai peliohjainta, mutta pankkiautomaatteja, baareja ja kahviloita appi listaa tehokkaasti.
Sovellus on maksuton, ja parin euron maksulla pääsee eroon mainoksista.
Sovellus toimii juuri niin kuin arveletkin. Ensin valitset haluamasi kategorian ja sen jälkeen pääset selaamaan tuloksia sekä niistä lisätietoja. Valittuasi kohteen sovellus ohjaa sinut perille jalan, autolla tai pyörällä Google Mapsilla.
Mikset sitten käyttäisi suoraan Google Mapsia, jonka dataa myös Find Me hyödyntää? Koska Apple Watchista et enää löydä Mapsia suoraan. Siten joudut tukeutumaan tämänkaltaiseen kolmannen osapuolen välikappaleeseen.
Yksi asia, jota olemme toivoneet Applen lompakosta (Wallet), on kanta-asiakaskorttien ja muiden vähemmän tärkeiden korttien säilöminen. Fyysinen lompakko on jo niin täynnä muoviläpysköjä, että kun sen tunkee takataskuun, nousee takapuoli toiselta reunalta ilmaan... Walletista ei ole vielä ollut tähän avuksi, mutta Stocard on aika hyvä yritys kohti parempaa.
Stocard mahdollistaa kanta-asiakas- ja jäsenkorttien skannaamisen ja tallentamisen – käytännössä jos kortissa on viiva- tai QR-koodi, homma todennäköisesti onnistuu ja pääset niihin käsiksi iPhonen tai Apple Watchin kautta tarpeen vaatiessa. Tämä tietysti riippuu kaupan laitteista – esimerkiksi kansainvälisen kauppajätin Tescon kassalla homma pelittää.
Stocardin lisäksi kortit tallentuvat samalla automaattisesti Apple Walletiin. Korttien "kanniskelun" lisäksi Stocardissa on tarjolla tietyissä liikkeissä erikoistarjouksia.
- Ilmainen, sovelluksen sisällä maksullisia osioita
Gymaholicin ensisijainen houkutus ei ole sen Watch-sovellus vaan Avatar-hahmo käyttäjästään: Se osoittaa mitä lihaksia olet treenannut ja mitkä vaatisivat vähän lisähuomiota.
Sovelluksessa on myös virtuaalinen valmentaja, joka näyttää mallia kuinka toteuttaa jokainen harjoitus turvallisesti. Siinä on tutusti mittaustulokset ja tilastot, ja 3D-Avatar tuo mukaan vähän roolipelin tuntua. Watchissa 3D-hahmosta on pienen tilan vuoksi lähinnä haittaa, mutta muutoin sovellus on suoraviivainen fitness-tekele: Se esittää erilaisia vaihtoehtoja treenaamiselle, laskee toistot sekä kertoo, jos syke on nousemassa aivan liian korkealle. Treeniohjeita on saatavissa myös kirjallisena.
Sovelluksessa on tiettyjä maksullisia osioita. Ne eivät ole kalliita eivätkä vaadi maksullista jäsenyyttä, ja monet ominaisuudet, kuten neljän päivän mittaiset treeniohjelmat tai vaikkapa rintalihaksiin keskittyvä ohjelma ovat täysin maksuttomia.
Voice in a Can
- Voice in a Can
- 2.29 euroa
Voice in a Can on kuuluisa – tai ehkä sittenkin pahamaineinen? Se nimittäin päätyi otsikoihin tuotuaan Amazonin Alexan Apple Watchiin mutta, vaikka Amazon tai Apple eivät olleet päättäneet sitä tehdä. Idea on mielenkiintoinen, koska mielestämme Alexa on monissa laitteissa paljon luotettavampi kuin Siri. Alexa tunnistaa käskyt paremmin.
Idea on siis mainio, mutta toteutus ei vielä. Sovellus toimii, mutta siinä on tiettyjä merkittäviä rajoituksia. Sitä ei pysty käyttämään musiikin hallintaan eikä podcastien tai puheluiden soittamiseen. Ja kun Watch ei ole aktiivinen, yhteys Alexaan katoaa.
Sovelluksen kehittäjät suosittelevat pidentämään kellosta aikaa ennen kuin se menee standby-tilaan, mikä käytännössä tarkoittaa, että sovellus ei vain toimi tarpeeksi vikkelästi.
Kaikkinensa Voice in a Can on siis Watchissa hyvin rajoitettu vaikkakin toimiva sovellus kotilaitteistojen hallintaan, mikäli olet sitoutuneempi Amazonin kuin Applen käyttämiseen.
- Round Health
Mitä pidempään olemme käyttäneet Apple Watchejamme, sitä enemmän olemme oppineet arvostaneet yksinkertaisia Watch-sovelluksia. App Store on täynnä sovelluksia, joissa on mitä moninaisimpia ominaisuuksia, mutta ne joita oikeasti käytämme, ovat pohjimmiltaan simppeleitä – ne hoitavat yhden asian erittäin hyvin.
Round Health on sellainen sovellus. Se on suunniteltu varmistamaan, että käyttäjä muistaa ottaa lääkkeensä aina oikeaan aikaan.
Olkoon kyse vitamiineista tai lääkkeistä, useimmille meistä se on tuttu tunne, ettei ole ihan varma, tuliko päivittäinen pilleri jo otettua. Sillä ei nyt välttämättä ole suurta väliä, jos kyse on D-vitamiinin pumppaamisesta talvella, mutta e-pillerit tai kroonisen ja/tai vakavan sairauden kohdalla säntillinen lääkitys voi olla erityisen tärkeää.
Round Healthilla voi asettaa simppeleitä mutta sinnikkäitä muistuttajia, jotka varmistat että otat tarvitsemasi lääkkeet oikeaan aikaan. Sen voi säätää myös muistuttamaan reseptin uusimisesta.
- Free + in-app purchases
Like many health-related apps, Lifesum really wants you to take out a subscription: that’s $44.99/£34.99/AU$69.99 per year, though it sometimes runs a 30% off promotion. The core app is free, though. Its goal is to help you think about what you eat and what activity you do and to make positive changes to make yourself healthier.
On the iPhone, Lifesum enables you to count calories and track your meals, discover healthy recipes and track your progress towards your goals. It works with other apps too, so for example if you’ve got a Fitbit or use Runkeeper it can get data from them.
On the Watch it’s a much simpler affair, urging you to stay hydrated, showing your progress towards your resting, moving and stretching goals and doing everything through a kind of little Tamagotchi character.
It pulls data from the Apple Health app as well as the Lifesum app to ensure you get the widest possible picture of your intake and activity, and you can add data as well as view it: for example, you can take a note of what you’re eating via the Watch app and then enter more details on the iPhone later. Unusually there isn’t a Watch complication, but the app does tie in with the Watch’s notification system to keep you updated.
- Free + in-app purchases
If you’ve ever felt that life is just that bit too busy or stressful, Headspace could help. It’s based around mindfulness, which is all about getting you to feel calmer without too much effort. In fact, it’s the opposite of effort: mindfulness is about taking a break from the rush.
The Apple Watch app is part of a wider offering for iPhone and iPad: it acts as a reminder and a coach, urging you to pick an exercise and focus on it for the allotted time. It also has an SOS mode for when things feel too much and you need help instantly. But it’s the main app that does most of the work, with daily mindfulness exercises and sessions designed to help with everything from workplace stress to sleep problems.
It’s very well done but one thing that might raise your stress levels is the cost: while the app is free to try it really needs a subscription to unlock its most useful features, and that subscription is $12.99/£9.99/AU$19.99 per month or $94.99/£74.99/AU$149.99 per year. That’s an auto-renewing subscription too, so you need to disable that in iTunes if you don’t want it to recur automatically.
Chirp for Twitter
- Chirp for Twitter
- Free + in-app purchases
You’d think Twitter’s brevity and the Apple Watch’s usefulness would be a match made in Heaven, but Twitter isn’t interested in maintaining an official Watch app and our favourite iPhone Twitter app, Tweetbot, is very limited on the Apple Watch. Enter Chirp, which promises to bring all the features you need to your Watch - and unusually, it does so without playing second fiddle to an iPhone app. Chirp was designed purely as a Watch app.
Chirp delivers on its promises: it does an excellent job of bringing Twitter to your wrist, with the ability to see tweets as well as their popularity in terms of likes and retweets. You can browse Twitter trends, see embedded photos, retweet or like other people’s posts, and you can actually interact with others.
You can post your own thoughts or reply to other people’s tweets, and the most recent update added support for sending Direct Messages and for viewing lists. Some of these features are restricted to the paid-for Pro version, but it’s a very cheap in-app purchase and the main app is free to use so you can try it before you decide whether you need the pro features.
Nike Training Club
- Nike Training Club
Jättiläiset Nike ja Apple ovat tiiviitä yhteistyökumppaneita, joten ei ole kovin iso yllätys, että Nikella on Watch-sovellus – ja vieläpä erittäin hyvä sellainen. Training Club mainostaa olevansa "huippuluokan personal trainer", ja se sisältääkin yli 180 treeniohjelmaa, joogasta voimailuun. Kaikki ovat maksuttomia.
Sovelluksessa on personoituja tärppejä kuntoiluun kannustamiseen. Ne perustuvat aikaisempiin aktiviteetteihisi, joustaviin treenisuunnitelmiin sekä huippuvalmentajien vinkkeihin.
Sovellus toimii osin puhelimen ja osin Watchin puolella. Puhelimessa suoritetaan suunnittelu ja mittaus, Watch taas mittaa tapahtumat itse kuntoilun aikana, kuten sykkeen ja vaikkapa jäljellä olevien toistojen määrän.
Sovellus ei ole erityisen uniikki tapaus, vaikka siinä Nikelle ominainen tyyli näkyykin. Merkittävää on kuitenkin se, että mikään ominaisuus ei ole piilotettu ostosten taakse, vaan appi on kokonaisuudessaan maksuton.
We were quite excited when Apple first launched Wallet: at last we’d be able to ditch the countless loyalty cards that made our wallets and purses heavier than our heads. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work out like that: big retailers were slow to get on board and we still carry about all those little pieces of plastic.
Stocard is designed to do what Wallet promised. It enables you to scan in your supermarket, coffee and store loyalty cards from the likes of CVS (US) and Boots (UK) and access them from your phone, so you can leave your plastic at home. And with the companion Watch app you can leave your phone in your pocket, because you can scroll through the available cards and tap the one you want to use. The appropriate QR code or barcode will then appear on the Watch face.
It’s well designed, works with all the loyalty cards we have and is easy to use, but it can sometimes fall at the final hurdle: the app needs the point of sale system to have a fairly recent scanner, so if you’re at an outlet that’s still using pretty old kit you might find that scanning your Watch display is beyond them. Sometimes it isn’t the tech: we’ve seen reports of employees wrongly claiming that their till doesn’t work with the Watch.
Medical apps don’t just exist to persuade you that your mild headache is terminal brain cancer. They can help keep you healthy too. While WebMD does indeed let you compare your symptoms with various illnesses and conditions to scare yourself silly, that’s not the most interesting thing about it or its Watch companion app.
WebMD enables you to detail your medication schedules, with dosage information and the option to be reminded of what you need to take and when you need to take it. This can be in the form of a notification, or you can have it as a Watch face Complication so it’s right there in the middle of the display.
It can also remind you of any prerequisites, such as whether you need to take your medicine with food or on an empty stomach. It’s the sort of simple but very useful thing the Apple Watch does well.
Over on the main iPhone app there’s plenty more to discover. You can read up on the side effects and precautions of specific pills or patches, find out if you need to go hiding from the flu or just catch up on the latest health and wellbeing news from various credible sources.
- Castro Podcasts
- Free + optional subscription
The Castro podcast app has been around for a while and has developed a loyal fanbase, and it’s just been given a major overhaul as well as an Apple Watch companion app.
On your wrist it’s really very simple: it enables you to move around the audio, change the volume or move between episodes.
On the iPhone the main app has been completely rebuilt with a brand-new playback engine to significantly boost speed and responsiveness, and the player screen now incorporates AirPlay controls for easier streaming to compatible hardware.
It’s a very good app, and there are extra features if you go for the optional Castro Plus subscription, including getting rid of silent sections, mixing stereo down to mono, episode limits to prevent your device from downloading entire volumes of podcasts, and automatic start positions to skip past standard intros and other pre-content content.
You can set these preferences on a per-podcast basis, which is a really useful option for power podcast users. You can try Castro Plus for a week before deciding whether to get it, and it’s available as a quarterly or yearly sub.
If This Then That, IFTTT for short, may be one of the most useful things on the internet. As the name suggests, it enables you to create scenarios where if this happens, it does that. And the ‘that’ can include all kinds of things, with a selection of connectors for software and hardware alike.
For example, you can automatically change your thermostat based on the weather forecast, or send someone a message when you’re near the shops, or backup your photo collection to a cloud storage site at a particular time or when a particular event occurs. It’s absolutely brilliant, and the main iPhone app enables you control more than 600 different apps as well as smart home devices such as Hue lights and Nest thermostats.
As you’d expect the Watch app doesn’t do everything. What it does do is provide quick access to IFTTT functions you’ve already installed or created on your phone, so for example you might post a quick tweet or turn your smart lights on or off.
That simplicity is no bad thing, because of course the whole ethos of IFTTT is to reduce the amount of effort you use to communicate with your various bits of technology.
Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock
- Sleep Cycle
- Free + optional subscription
The App Store isn’t exactly short of sleep tracking apps, but Sleep Cycle offers more than just tracking. It can wake you up at the right point in your sleep cycle so that you jump out of bed like an excited puppy instead of rolling out of it with a woozy head.
That doesn’t mean it’ll start bleeping four hours before you need to get up, though. You set the 30-minute window in which you need to be woken and Sleep Cycle will find the optimum point during that window.
Unusually for a sleep tracker, Sleep Cycle doesn’t expect you to wear your Apple Watch to bed. Instead, it listens to you and detects vibrations from you, and that means it can detect and yell at you if you start snoring.
It’s just like having a partner, except you don’t have to put your partner on a wireless charging mat every night. And because it’s designed to be used by humans, of course there’s a snooze option: if Sleep Cycle wants to wake you and you really don’t want to get out of bed, you can shake or double-tap your phone.
The main app is free but if you want to take advantage of heart rate monitoring, reporting and goodies such as Hue smart lighting integration there’s a subscription service for $29.99/£24.99/AU$39.99 per year.
How’s your heart? If you don’t know the answer, this app can shed some light. It might even save your life, as it did for James Green: the app alerted him about an unusual spike in his heart rate, and it turned out to be a pulmonary embolism. If it weren’t for the alert, Green might well have died.
You don’t really need more of a sales pitch to justify spending three dollars on staying alive, but HeartWatch isn’t a one-trick app. It pulls information from the Watch’s heart rate sensor to track what it’s doing when you wake, when you sleep, when you work out and when you just go about your day.
The reason for the different types of activity is simple: you don’t want your app warning you about elevated heart rate if you’re doing something designed to elevate your heart rate, an issue that used to drive us daft when exercising with our Apple Watch set to the defaults.
It won’t work without the Health app installed - that’s the route by which it gets its data - but you can also import data from other health apps if you use other kinds of connected health monitors.
- Halide Camera
The Apple Watch version of Halide is very much the same as the Apple Watch version of Apple’s own Camera app: it’s a viewfinder with a shutter button and a timer that you can use to remotely trigger the iPhone camera. Remote triggering isn’t just a gimmick: it’s useful for taking long exposure shots or just enabling you to be in your own snaps.
The main app has been given a significant upgrade for the latest generation of Apple cameras, and it’s particularly good on the iPhone X where it can take full advantage of the TrueDepth cameras front and rear.
In a nice touch you can export photos’ depth maps as standalone PNGs, which opens up some interesting creative possibilities. The developers have clearly had a lot of fun with the dual sensors, because you can review depth captures and virtually move around the scene in augmented reality. It makes photos feel more like video game locations and it’s a lot of fun.
Halide’s developers have a pedigree: Ben Sandofsky was the iOS tech lead for Twitter, and Sebastiaan de With was a designer at Apple. That might explain why Halide feels so much more organic than some other camera apps, and why it’s such a pleasure to use.
Owaves is an interesting app: it’s a 24-hour day planner that’s designed for people who want to focus on their physical and mental health. That means scheduling and prioritizing me-time and play time as well as work time, a kind of Getting Things Done for the mindfulness generation.
Owaves is based around what it describes as the five key ingredients for a happy life: sleep, nutrition, exercise, relaxation and social interactions. You can still schedule work things, chores and day to day admin, but they’re not the sole focus as you’ll find in other planning apps. The idea is to make room in your life for your life.
The bulk of the action - scheduling events, seeing your entire schedule and so on - happens on your iPhone, and the Watch app has been designed as a companion rather than a replacement: it tells you what’s coming up rather than trying to replicate the main app’s functions.
You can add it as a watch face complication, which is particularly good on the Modular watch face: if you make it the main complication in the center it’s got room to tell you not just what you’ve scheduled now but also what you’ve got happening afterwards.
- Canary Mail
Canary Mail is a first: it’s the first third-party email app to use the Apple Watch 3’s 4G/LTE connection so you can access your email without lugging your iPhone around.
The feature is officially in beta but if you’re in the market for a new email app it’s a compelling reason to consider Canary over other iPhone email clients. The Watch support delivers short extracts of emails and the ability to quickly reply via scribbling or voice dictation.
The main iPhone app is very good indeed, supporting all the main email providers (including iCloud and, if IMAP’s enabled on the server, Exchange) and enabling you to use PGP, to use natural language search and to bulk-delete irrelevant or spammy emails. It offers email templates for frequently used messages, easy unsubscribing and integration with cloud storage, to-do and calendar services, and the none-more-black interface looks particularly good on the iPhone X’s OLED display.
It’s worth keeping an eye on the price if you’re considering Canary: it’s gone from being offered as a free trial for a few days with in-app purchases to $4.99/£4.99, and then to the current price of $9.99/£9.99/AU$14.99.
This is an intriguing one. SimpleCommands enables you to connect your Apple Watch to various other devices – LIFX lights, TP-link switches, Wink doors, Nest thermometers, Netatmo home automation and so on – and soon, services such as Spotify, Lyft, IFTTT, Todoist and Twitter.
Once you’ve established a connection, you can then control that connection via your iPhone or Watch (you need to set them up in the iPhone app first). Your Watch then becomes what the developer calls a listener.
All you then need to do to make something happen is tell the listener what to do. The main benefit is that to paraphrase Radiohead, everything’s in its right place: whether it’s your aircon or your lighting system, it’s all done from a single app on your wrist.
Brilliant, right? Well, potentially. The list of coming soon connections is longer than the list of currently supported ones, and early adopters say it’s a bit flaky: we’re still in version one-point-something territory, so you should expect bugs.
But if you’re fed up having to use different apps to control every different digital thing in your life, this could be the thing to make your digital life much more comfortable.
One Drop Diabetes Management
We’re increasingly excited about HealthKit, Apple’s framework for health monitoring apps: we’ve already seen apps that can warn of rare but potentially lethal heart conditions, and now we’re seeing a whole host of specialist apps that can integrate with specific monitoring hardware to help with particular conditions. As the name suggests, this one’s for people with diabetes.
One Drop makes Chrome, a Bluetooth blood glucose meter that’s sold as a package with testing strips. If you have the meter the app gets information from each test, but if you don’t it’s still a useful app to help monitor your diabetes.
The app enables you to log your activity, your food intake and your medication and to share that information with HealthKit and the Health app (if that’s what you want to do). As ever the main iPhone app is where all the detail is, with the Watch app taking care of quick data recording and progress notifications.
The iPhone app builds on the basics with a database of foods’ nutritional information, historical data, insulin pump data and the ability to schedule reminders for your medication.
- FiLMiC Pro
- $14.99/£14.99/AU$22.99 plus in-app purchases
Here’s an odd one: FiLMiC Pro has a distinctly average App Store rating of 2.3 out of 5 at time of writing, and yet the developers’ shelves are groaning under the weight of the app’s many awards from reputable websites and publications who say that for video, it’s the best thing since bread came sliced. What’s going on?
The short answer is that when you have hardly any reviews, one or two disgruntled users can send your rating down the drain. That’s clearly what’s happening here.
Negatives first. FiLMiC Pro costs more money than many apps, and it can kill your phone battery in prolonged use. But it’s an incredibly powerful iOS camera app used by film-makers, journalists and hobbyists alike. Pair it with a decent editor and your iPhone is a pro-level film studio.
The Watch app is really just a remote for the main event. You can record, pause and resume your recording and see what the phone camera’s pointing at, and you can play back what you’ve just recorded. It’s not really different from Apple’s own camera Watch app. But the app it connects to is a powerhouse: people complaining about the price tag should really be marveling that it’s possible to get something so good for so little money.
- Calzy 3
We’ve raved about the excellent PCalc calculator app, but Calzy is a worthy rival. The latest version, version 3, is a significant redesign that’s been optimized for iOS 11.
The most obvious difference is that the operators – plus, minus and so on – are on the same screen as the numbers, and that means it’s much faster to carry out multiple calculations, provided your fingers are fairly accurate: more buttons means a smaller tap area for each one.
It also shows you the running total as you go along, so for example if you’re doing a calculation where it’s this plus that times whatever you’ll see the results as you tap. It’s not as comprehensive as PCalc, but if all you need is a straightforward calculator on your wrist it’s a good bit cheaper.
The main iPhone app, as you might expect, does a lot more than the Watch app. It has light and dark themes, a customizable keypad, Handoff support and even a searchable history of every calculation you’ve made. It also offers currency rounding to keep numbers to two decimal places, and you can tap and hold to edit part of a formula if you realize you’ve made a mistake halfway through.
App in the Air
- App in the Air
- Free with in-app purchases
We love a good pun, and App in the Air is a good one. It promises to be your personal flying assistant, and while it doesn’t actually fly it’s a useful assistant for anybody who does. It tracks all the information you need to know: what gate to go to, when you need to go there, how much time you’ve got before they shut the doors and, in the US, how to find the damn gate in the first place.
The Watch app takes care of providing essential information while the main iPhone app also tracks loyalty points, flight history (including TripIt integration), live status changes and anything else you might need to know. It even works where there isn’t a data connection, by sending status updates via SMS, and you can amuse yourself by calculating how many miles you’ve flown and how many different airports you’ve visited.
The catch is that the best bits are subscription services: if you want real-time flight status updates you’ll need the $26.99/£25.99/AU$41.99 annual subscription. That’s not expensive if you fly a lot, but it does mean the app is less immediately exciting to those of us who aren’t frequent flyers.
If your idea of good exercise involves going far from the madding crowds, you’ll like WorkOutDoors. It’s a workout app that’s based around vector maps that you can easily rotate and zoom, tracking your location and your progress.
It uses the Watch’s GPS (if you have a GPS-enabled Watch) so there’s no need to take your phone on a hike, cycle or snowboard run, and features such as breadcrumb tracking, custom points of interest and customizable stats displays enable you to make the app truly your own.
In a nice touch you can export your workouts from the iPhone app in GPX format, which can be imported into many other workout apps and sites.
It’s very, very well thought out. For example, something as simple as the stats display is available in a variety of sizes to suit different kinds of activity (not to mention different levels of eyesight).
It makes good use of color-coding to make routes crystal clear, waypoints can provide extra information such as directions, and the map automatically rotates as you move so you’re always sure of the right direction. It’s a brilliant app for pretty much any outdoor activity.
The trick to living better isn’t to damn near kill yourself on a treadmill and then give up after a few weeks. It’s to make smaller, lasting changes to your life, changes that you can and will actually stick to. And that’s what Streaks offers.
Whether you’re trying to eat more healthily, exercise more or break a smoking habit, Streaks enables you to track positive and negative habits. It offers a range of reporting tools so you can see exactly how well you’re doing, and you can track up to 12 different tasks at once.
They needn’t be exercise or eating tasks: you can remind yourself to walk the dog, study, take vitamins or practice a musical instrument. It’s good to see wheelchair users included in the default tasks list too.
Where Streaks really shines is in its integration with the Health app, which enables it to pull data to use for monitoring suitable targets you’ve set. That reduces a lot of the form-filling of similar apps, and it’s particularly effective if you’re trying to work on good healthy habits or eliminate unhealthy ones, or both.
There’s a Complication too, so that you don’t forget your goals, and the whole thing is customizable so that you can get it just-so.
- Sleep Watch
The massively improved battery life of the current generation Apple Watch makes it much better for sleep tracking: you can now wear your Watch in bed, pop it off while you get ready for work or school and leave home with a full charge for getting on with your day.
And that means there’s been an influx of new sleep apps, many of which take the basic idea of sleep monitoring and add additional reporting and insight.
When you use Sleep Watch you’ll get used to the daily question, how well rested do you feel? The app tracks that as well as your heart rate and the quality of your sleep to give an indication of how good or otherwise your sleep has been.
It offers daily sleep briefings (we’d love an abusive CARROT-style AI for the days when the report clearly says we’re knackered) and trend analysis, and it highlights whether your heart rate is dropping normally during rest - a potential warning sign if it isn’t.
It’d be good if we could also add blame, such as a heavy night out causing us to get up all through the night, but maybe that’ll be in a future version.
- djay 2
We’re big fans of Algoriddim’s clever DJ app, and it’s a particularly fun thing to have on your iPhone: its clever algorithms and straightforward interface make it easy to mix like the pros, its Spotify Premium integration means your DJ box is almost infinite and its Automix feature does a really good job of working out the best places to transition and the right fades and effects to apply.
But sometimes you want to take part without necessarily firing up the full djay app on your phone, for example if you’re in party mode and want to quickly change tracks or just show off a bit.
Enter the Apple Watch app, which enables you to DJ in much the same way as you would if you were a giant in a world of really tiny people: don’t expect to do much scratching, but you can fade from one track to another, pause and sync, add special effects or turn Automix on and off. It’s effectively Apple Music’s watch integration brought to the world of DJing, and that means it’s an absolute hoot.
The watch integration is little more than a remote control, but that’s okay: the main app is really clever and enormous fun.
- Free with IAPs
If you’re anything like us you’ve probably been in the situation of committing to an expensive gym membership, only to lose motivation after a few weeks and be stuck waiting until you’re finally allowed to cancel. It’s a costly mistake. Wouldn’t it be better to have a membership that’s shorter - and cheaper if you do decide to stick with it?
That’s where Aaptiv comes in. The app itself is free but it comes with a range of in-app purchases for extra workouts.
It’s been available on the iPhone for a while, but the introduction of an Apple Watch companion app makes it that bit more useful: workouts you’ve downloaded to your iPhone can now be taken out and about on your Apple Watch while you leave your phone behind. It’s functional rather than pretty - the iPhone app is really rather lovely - but it does the job very well.
The app itself is based around audio fitness classes, which are grouped into categories such as running, strength training, rowing and even yoga. There are more than 2,500 different workouts and new classes added each week, and you’ll find specific programs for marathon, half marathon, 10K and 5K training too. If you’re considering a gym membership it might be smart to try this on your Watch first.
Some words don’t tend to appear together very often. “Donald Trump” alongside “uncontroversial tweet,” for example. “Large building project” and “on time and within budget”. Or maybe “Award winning fantasy adventure game” and “Apple Watch”.
Yes, really, you can get an award winning fantasy adventure game on your watch - and you don’t even have to pay any money for it to start playing.
That said, the big list of really expensive in-app purchases down the side of the App Store listing - thirteen bucks for a Ring of Resurgence, twenty bucks for 2,800 Diamonds - makes us wonder just how many of the 2,000 levels you’ll see without paying money.
The game itself is a bit simpler than a typical RPG, because a watch is a bit simpler than a smartphone. There’s precious little hacking and slashing; instead, it’s all about tapping. Monsters are vanquished with fatal tapping, money is amassed by more tapping, and the money you amass can be used to buy runes that make your taps more powerful.
And that’s about it. It’s a handy little escape for when you have a few minutes to kill, and while it isn’t going to change your life it can liven up the odd bus journey.
It’s not a surprise that the Apple Watch attracts a lot of apps built around the idea of time, but few of them are as simple and as useful as Circa. It’s designed for global travellers or people whose life involves communicating with people around the world, and answers a simple and important question: is this a good time?
It may be a simple question, but it’s often a tough question to answer. If you’ve ever tried to find a time for a virtual meeting that works not just for you and your local colleagues but for colleagues halfway across the world you’ll know how much of a pain in the neck it can be.
Are they EST or PST? Are they behind us or ahead of us? Circa remembers these things so you don’t have to, offering crystal clear guides to when people are going to be available and when they should be in their bed.
It’s a niche app, but many of the very best Apple Watch apps are: it’s simple, beautifully designed and does exactly what it sets out to do. If you need this kind of thing, this is exactly what you need.
- CARROT Weather
We’ve mentioned CARROT Weather before: it’s our go-to app when we want the weather forecast delivered by a hyper-intelligent artificial entity that wishes we were dead. In this massive update the app becomes even more horrible, and we mean that in a good way.
There are complications for your Apple Watch face as well as a completely misanthropic Watch app with all the weather information you could possibly need, displayed silently or spoken aloud depending on your preferences.
We particularly like the way you can specify just how horrible CARROT is to you, along with its political leanings. And on the accompanying iPhone app there’s a really fun feature that uses Apple’s ARKit to bring the forecast into augmented reality.
The developers are upfront about their pricing: if you want to use Weather Underground data instead of the default Dark Sky and take advantage of its radar pictures too, those features cost the devs extra money so you’ll need to pay another $9.99/£8.99/AU$14.49 per year for the Ultrapremium Club in-app purchase.
There’s also a cheaper Premium Club ($3.99/£3.49/AU$5.49pa) that enables you to customize the complications, to receive weather alerts and to have background data updates. It’s worth it.
- Camera Plus
While using Apple’s Watch as a remote control or viewfinder can be handy - we can’t be the only ones who use it to see what’s on top of cupboards or to read the meters when there’s loads of stuff between them and us - the app has always felt as if it could do more. That’s where Camera Plus comes in.
As an iPhone/iPad app it’s an interesting and fun alternative to the iOS 11 default, with a useful feature that enables you to control the camera on one iOS device with the Camera Plus app on another. It adds an extra function to the Watch too.
The Apple Watch bit is obviously a lot less ambitious, but it’s still useful. As with the Apple app, you can remote control the iPhone or iPad camera, turn the flash on or off, use a countdown timer and switch between the front and rear cameras. But where the Apple app offers the ability to turn Live Photos on or off, Camera Plus gives you the option to switch between photo and video.
The main iOS app is clearly the driver here, with some fun and useful features including flexible flash levels for better exposure and the aforementioned iOS-to-iOS remote control. But the Watch app is a handy, or perhaps wristy, companion.
Apple Heart Study
- Apple Heart Study
- Free (US only)
Apple is positioning the Apple Watch not just as a handy gadget but as something that can save your life, and the Apple Heart Study app is designed to do just that.
It’s been created in collaboration with Stanford Medicine to monitor your heart rhythms and identify any irregularities, such as the potentially very serious condition AFib (atrial fibrillation).
AFib is a common cause of blood clots and heart failure, and it can also cause strokes. Despite affecting millions of people it’s often undetected because the symptoms aren’t obvious to us. They can be obvious to the heart rate sensor in our Apple Watches, though.
In practice, the Heart Study app tells you when it spots an irregular rhythm - it’s not the same as the heart rate monitor already in the watch, which tends to pop up unwanted warnings when we’re jumping around with the kids because we’re fantastically unfit.
The study app only tells you of things you need to know. Participation in the actual study is voluntary, but if you join you can receive a free video consultation about any detected irregularity.
However, the study is US only. If you’re outside the US, try the Cardiogram app instead, as it too monitors for irregularities.
Transit is mainly for American users, but its city coverage extends to more than 50 non-US cities including London and Paris too. It’s a public transport app, and it works on a simple and largely accurate assumption: when you use the app, you’re in a hurry.
That means instant information for departures on nearby routes and a Take Me Home button that tells you how to get home as quickly and simply as possible. In a single screen it offers directions, details of the station, the next three departures and the number of the service.
Public transport tends to bring out the best in designers - think the simple genius of the London Underground map or the colorful signage on the New York subway - and that’s definitely the case here.
Transit makes excellent use of color and typography to provide all the information you need in a very effective way.
It may only shave a few seconds off your travel time, but if you’ve ever harbored dark thoughts when someone at the gate in front of you is wasting time you’ll know that for commuters, every single second counts. If you spend a lot of time traveling, you’ll save a lot of time with Transit.
If there’s one thing the App Store isn’t short of, it’s note-taking apps. But it’s worth taking a look at OneNote, especially if you work across a range of Mac and PC devices, because as it syncs via Microsoft’s cloud, it’s a very good cross-platform app with particularly well-designed iPhone, iPad and Mac apps to organize pretty much everything.
We use it for shopping lists, to-do lists, random scribbled ideas in the wee small hours and anything else we think we might need to refer to later, and unlike some rival cross-platform services it’s completely free. Microsoft hopes you’ll like it so much you’ll embrace Office, which is available for a very low price as part of a premium OneDrive plan.
Microsoft has become rather good at keeping its Watch apps simple, and OneNote is no exception: tap the cross icon to dictate a new note, or tap a notebook or note to see its contents.
And that’s pretty much all it does - and that’s all it needs to do, because any watch screen is poorly suited to complex tasks. We’d much rather have speed and simplicity than any ill-conceived bells and whistles.
Misfit, aka Misfit Minute
The Misfit app is designed to connect to the firm’s various wearable health monitors and third-party devices from the likes of Swarovski and Speedo, but it’s a useful Watch app in its own right too even if you don’t have any other wearable devices.
It can use your Watch’s sensors to track activity, but the USP here is its integrated workouts for people in a hurry. When it was first introduced it was called Misfit Minute, but it’s since been renamed to plain old Misfit.
Inside the app there are workouts designed to last 1, 4 and 7 minutes respectively, covering strength training and cardio. One minute doesn’t sound particularly strenuous but you’ll be surprised: the app appears to be haunted by the ghost of a particularly sadistic circuit training coach, and you’ll definitely feel the seven-minute workout across your body.
The app also tries to motivate you during your workout - “Pain is weakness leaving the body” and that kind of thing - and it promises that no two workouts are alike, although realistically if you get bored during a one-minute workout you might need more motivation than any app can offer.
Epicurious Smart Timer
The food site Epicurious isn’t scared of technology: it attempted to make a recipe app for Google Glass (although that didn’t quite work out). Its Watch efforts are much more successful, with the Watch doing what watches do best: timing. Think of it as an egg timer that can do more than eggs.
Using the app is simple. Choose the kind of food you want to time, such as a roast chicken or a steak, and tell the app how heavy it is and, where appropriate, how well done you want it to be. The timer lets you know when to flip or remove it from the heat.
It then tells you what to do, so for example in the case of your steak you’re urged to let it rest for five minutes and then slice across the grain. You’ll also see photos so you can compare what your food looks like with what it should look like.
It’s not the most comprehensive app around, but it isn’t supposed to be: it’s designed for relatively inexperienced cooks and the 40-odd items it does know about cover all the basics. If you’re unsure of cooking times or just easily distracted, it’s a great app to have.
- Night Sky
Night Sky is one of those gee-whiz apps that you use to show off your iPhone, and the introduction of a complication to let you know if the International Space Station was overhead was cute in a geeky way.
But the arrival of watchOS 4 has given the developers plenty of new toys to play with, and that means Night Sky is now one of those gee-whiz apps you use to show off your Apple Watch.
With this version of the app, your Watch now gets the same Sky Tracking features as the iPhone app has: you can now raise your wrist and identify the stars, planets and constellations around you.
There’s a time travel feature too, so you can track how the various heavenly bodies will move. It’s enormously clever and very impressive, and the main iPhone app isn’t bad either, as its Sky View knows of 115,000 celestial objects and enables you to increase or decrease light pollution, explore animated 3D models and customize notifications.
If you sign up for the $1.99/£1.99/AU$2.99 monthly premium subscription you get access to worldwide sky tours that you can save for future use - for example if you’re planning to visit a particular location in the near future.
V for Wikipedia
- V for Wikipedia
We know what you’re thinking: surely it should be W for Wikipedia? V was formerly known as Viki, but had to be renamed due to a trademark issue. No matter what it’s called, it’s a really useful Apple Watch app: it brings relevant Wikipedia content to wherever you are.
For example, you might want to know the history of a public landmark, or to discover what’s nearby. V presents the information in a clear and straightforward manner, it uses dictation and 3D Touch to good effect and it uses Handoff for longer entries that are better suited to your phone’s larger screen.
The developers have clearly thought about how people would actually use the app: you can call up V from a complication, use voice search to find a place, bookmark it with 3D touch and pick it up on the iPhone later. That simplicity means it’s an app you’ll actually use rather than one that’ll gather digital dust in your apps list.
It’s exceptional on the iPhone too, taking the rather dull design of Wikipedia and replacing it with something much more pleasing. No wonder it’s picked up awards including a Gold German Design Award and Apple’s App Store Best of 2016.
Your Apple Watch monitors your heart rate every five minutes, which is clever. But what do the numbers actually mean, and are they actually useful? Cardiogram wants to explain, and to do something important: help fight one of the most common kinds of heart arrhythmia, atrial fibrillation (AF).
Its Apple Watch app uses an algorithm that can identify the tell-tale signs of AF, something that’s treatable but that often goes undiagnosed.
Cardiogram isn’t just about detecting AF, as important as that is. It wants to make your health data useful, so it can tell you whether you’re sleeping properly (assuming you’re able to wear rather than charge your watch overnight), whether your resting heart rate is low enough, how well your heart recovers after exercise, and what makes your stress levels spike. It’s a workout tracker too.
The data the Watch app generates is best experienced on your iPhone, where the app provides crucial information and trends in the form of clear and colorful graphs. In the future it will know how to recognise more medical conditions too.
The potential is enormous: by combining (anonymous) data from thousands of Apple Watch owners, Cardiogram’s developers hope to use Big Data to help people live better, longer lives. How’s that for ambition?
This is a tale of two apps, depending on which version of Apple Watch you have. If yours is a first-generation model then it’s a useful but limited way to track your swimming stats: the first-gen watch shouldn’t be submerged, so you shouldn’t wear it while swimming.
However, if you have a second-generation Apple Watch (Apple calls it the Apple Watch Series 2) then you can take it into the pool - and that makes MySwimPro a much more useful application. You can log your workouts while you’re still in the water, and you can also follow the app’s workouts to set goals and monitor your heart rate during your swim.
Once you’ve dried off you can pick up the iPhone or iPad app, which syncs data from your Watch and enables you to see your progress in much more detail: miles swum, hours spent swimming, top times for specific distances and so on.
You can share your triumphs online, or you can just watch videos showing how other swimmers do particular types of workout. It’s probably overkill if you only do the odd couple of laps at the gym swimming pool, but if you’re serious about swimming it's worth wearing on your wrist.
- Just Eat
Proving that you should never underestimate our basic laziness, Just Eat created an app for people who couldn’t be bothered using the telephone to call for a takeaway. Now, it’s added an app for people who can’t be bothered reaching for their iPhone to open the Just Eat app.
One day historians may look back on this as one of the key steps in the downfall of western civilisation. Then again, easy pizza!
The Just Eat app is UK-only - if you’re in the US, try the Domino’s Apple Watch app instead - and it enables you to choose, order and pay for takeaways from the comfort of your wrist thanks to Apple Pay integration.
You can also choose to collect instead of having the meal delivered, but let’s be honest: if you can’t be bothered getting your phone you’re hardly going to want to go outside to collect your food - although if you’re driving it’s handy to order a pickup with a few taps.
The main iPhone/iPad app is much more attractive and informative, but when it comes to ordering regulars from your favorite local takeaways it doesn’t get much easier than having Just Eat on your wrist.
A Tiny Game of Pong
- A Tiny Game of Pong
Sometimes the titles do all the work for us: yes, A Tiny Game of Pong puts a tiny game of Pong on your Apple Watch.
If you’re not familiar with Pong, perhaps because you aren’t really, really old, it was one of the first video games and was released in November 1972. The fact that it’s still playable - and quickly becomes frustratingly difficult - just demonstrates what a classic game it really is.
If you’re new to Pong, the gameplay is very simple: there are two paddles, one of which you control with the Digital Crown, and there’s a ball, which you try not to miss when the other paddle hits it towards you. The more times you don’t miss, the better your score. And that’s pretty much it.
There’s an in-app purchase that unlocks extra colors, which you can also unlock by posting about the game on social media, and there are high score tables that work via Game Center. But ultimately what you get is exactly what the title describes: a tiny game of Pong.
- Yahoo Weather
Dark Sky and CARROT Weather get all the reviews, but Yahoo’s weather app is a lovely thing on the Apple Watch.
It takes the same colorful, minimalist approach as the iPhone/iPad app, with screens showing trend lines for temperature, precipitation and wind speed, along with sunrise and sunset times and where the sun is right now, whether it’s going to rain and what the temperature highs and lows will be.
You don’t get the right-now weather warnings of Dark Sky or the sass of CARROT, just a clear, easy to understand and really well-presented set of predictions.
It’s not all sunshine and flowers, though. The host app is pretty big - 137MB, which is on the large side for a weather app, given that the UK Met Office app is 80MB and Dark Sky 20.8MB - and the accuracy of the weather forecasts seems to depend on where you live.
US users seem very happy with it, but UK users say it’s a little pessimistic: while it rains a lot in Britain, it doesn’t rain quite as often as Yahoo Weather says it will.
Then again, it’s better to warn of rain and be pleasantly surprised than to predict good weather when the skies are about to open.
Workflow is an absolutely fascinating app, recently acquired by Apple. If you’re familiar with OS X’s Automator it’s a bit like that but much more user-friendly and focused, and for iOS. And if you’re not, you’re going to like it a lot.
Workflow essentially turns your iPhone or iPad’s features into LEGO. You can take bricks from app X, combine them with bricks from app Y, and have a new toy to play with.
For example, you could create a workflow that takes your most recent photos and saves them to Dropbox, or a workflow that offers one-tap information on where the nearest coffee shop is, or that tweets the song you’re listening to. It’s absolutely brilliant and now it’s available on your Watch.
As you might expect, Workflow on the Watch doesn’t offer any creation tools: it’s purely a launcher in Watch form, allowing you to call up your workflows with a tap.
You might have a workflow to give you directions home from wherever you are, or to calculate a tip in a restaurant, or to read out your messages. It’s the kind of app you can’t imagine using, and then you use it and can’t imagine going without it.
- Free / In-app purchases for full feature set
There are lots of reasons to love Twitter, but there are lots of reasons to find it annoying too. Promoted tweets filling your timeline, people talking about subjects you couldn’t care less about, people retweeting people you couldn’t care less about, Piers Morgan… wouldn’t it be great if you could have a Twitter without all of those things? Don’t look to the official app for that any time soon. Go for Twitterrific instead.
Now in its fifth incarnation, Twitterrific on iOS is a superb Twitter tool. The Watch features require a $2.99/£2.99/AU$4.49 in-app purchase to work fully, and they’re worth paying for: you can track your stats, be notified about direct messages, favorites, new followers and other action, use Handoff to start replies on your phone, compose tweets via dictation and block idiots instantly.
We’d recommend keeping notifications to an absolute minimum unless you only follow a few people - Twitter can be incredibly noisy when you follow and/or are followed by lots of people - but the Watch app is a great way of staying on top of Twitter while you’re out and about. It also reduces the risk of picking up your phone and thinking “while I’m here I’ll just check…” and losing hours to trivia.
If you deliver a lot of presentations tied to a computer or iPad you might watch Apple keynotes with envy. Wouldn’t it be great if you could stride around the room like that, surreptitiously tapping a button to move to the next slide instead of hovering over your hardware?
There are plenty of electronic clickers to do just that, but why get another bit of hardware you’ll probably lose when you can control Keynote from your Apple Watch?
Don’t expect speakers’ notes, views of upcoming slides or other presentation app goodies: the Watch app is designed simply to play presentations and move to the next slide when tapped. Everything else happens on devices more suited to editing: your phone, or your iPad.
And provided there’s decent Wi-Fi or you’re close enough to the presenting iPad or iPhone for Bluetooth it works really well. It’s surprisingly functional-looking for an Apple app - it isn’t remotely pretty, and looks like it was designed in a tea break - but then how much design do you really need when you’re using your Watch as a clicker?
Do you prefer Office to Apple’s apps? Microsoft has a PowerPoint app for the Watch
- AeroPress Timer
You can’t get much more hipster than this: an Apple Watch app for the AeroPress coffee maker, enabling you to use a gadget costing hundreds of dollars to work out how to make a cup of coffee.
But while it’s easy to mock it’s actually a really useful and well-designed app, assuming of course you have an AeroPress. It’s the kind of thing that watch apps excel at: it does one thing, and it does that thing very well.
AeroPress Timer’s thing is to help you make the perfect cup of coffee. The app features coffee recipes from the 2014 AeroPress world championship, and takes you step by step through the process for each: how much coffee to use, when to stir, when to steep, and when it’s time to take a sip of your masterpiece.
It’s not just about fancy award competitors either: the app also includes the instructions you need to make standard recipes, two cup recipes and to improve your brewing prowess in general.
If you’re the kind of person whose eyeballs are vibrating with caffeine by lunchtime, you’re going to love the convenience of having everything you need to hand. Or rather, on your wrist.
Pennies was a recent Apple Editor’s Choice, for good reason: it’s a very simple and effective budgeting app that allows you to get on top of your spending without having to spend too much time doing so.
You can set weekly, monthly, bi-weekly, bi-monthly, one-off and custom budgets, track in multiple currencies - great for holidays or business travel - and on the Watch, all you need to do is record how much you’ve spent against a particular budget, so for example if you have a shopping budget you’d tap it, tap Spend, and then enter the total.
The app then recalculates the amount you’ve got left, and if you wish you can have it displayed as a permanent Complication on the Watch face.
Pennies isn’t interested in what you’ve bought; just what budget it should be allocated to. As the developer puts it, “it’s all about keeping things easy and flexible so you can get on with having fun, spending what you want, and saving money at the end of the month.”
If like us you find personal finance a mix of tedium and terror, Pennies might be the app that helps you take control of your cash.
Is there anything more annoying than missing a delivery of something you’re really excited about? Yes: there’s missing a delivery of something that you really need to have in a hurry. Deliveries can help ensure that neither of those things happen to you.
It supports stacks of services including UPS, FedEx, US Postal Service, DHL, TNT, Canada Post, City Link and Royal Mail, can track packages, can add delivery dates to your calendar and can record past deliveries in case you need to refer to them later.
It’s unnecessary for the odd package, but it’s useful if you do a lot of online shopping or if you’re in the middle of a project, such as furnishing a flat.
On the Watch the app acts as a ready reminder of what’s in and what’s incoming, so for example it’ll show you if an item has just been delivered as well as the ETA of any other outstanding deliveries.
There’s a Complication too, which works particularly well on the Utility watch face and shows you the most recent delivery. If you have the macOS version of the app too you can automatically sync between Mac and mobile via iCloud or the developer’s own cloud sync service.
We’ve described the iPhone as the Very Hungry Caterpillar of tech, munching its way through entire product categories as stand-alone devices become iOS apps. We’re often delighted by the simplest things, and Clicker is one of those things.
It’s a replacement for those hand-held clickers people use to count things, and it’s appropriate for counting people, days, laps, drinks or anything else you might want to quantify.
To use it, just tap on the screen and tap again when you want another click. Haptic feedback means you don’t need to look at the watch, and you don’t need to have the clicker display all day: when you’re ready for a new click you can pull it up from its Complication. You can record up to 2,147,483,647 taps.
And that’s pretty much it: there are only two other options: subtract, to remove a mistaken click, and reset, to start again.
It’s hardly a must-have but it’s actually very handy, so for example we’ve seen users tracking how often they smoke during the day or how many glasses of water they’ve had. We wouldn’t recommend using it for counting sheep, though - or at least, not on the first-generation Apple Watch, whose battery isn’t really up to working nights.
Elevate Dash - Brain Training and Games
We’re not convinced by the supposed science of brain training - it’s a sector that makes bold claims based on very flimsy evidence - but there’s no doubt that spending time learning or practicing useful things is better for you than mindlessly swiping through trivia on Twitter.
Elevate claims that its brain training app will “improve critical cognitive skills that are proven to boost productivity, earning power, and self-confidence”, and it does so by setting little tasks for you: choosing the correct meaning of words, calculating percentages and so on.
Correct answers earn points, and you can track your progress on the main iPhone/iPad app as well as on your Watch. The Watch’s small screen means the games you get are very simple ones, but that works well when you’re on the move.
The app is free and lets you play 4 mini-games. If you want to access the full selection of 40+ Elevate games you’ll need your iPhone or iPad and a subscription to the premium membership package, which is $4.99/£3.99/AU$7.99 per month or $44.99/£34.99/AU$69.99 per year.
If you could do with a boost to specific skills - working out restaurant tips, perhaps, or improving your vocabulary - then you might feel that’s well worth the money.
- CARROT Fit
You may know CARROT from its weather app, which combines Dark Sky-style weather forecasting with sarcasm and lies. But CARROT wants to make you unhappy in many other ways - and what’s better for a sadistic AI than being in control of a fitness app?
Enter CARROT Fit, which takes a somewhat unusual approach to motivating you to get healthier and lose weight.
CARROT promises to “get you fit - or else”. To achieve that it offers a dozen punishing exercises (more are available via in-app purchases) accompanied by threats, ridicule, bribes and the occasional compliment.
It’s rude, crude and much more entertaining than trying to complete the rings on Apple’s own activity tracker, and we’re pretty sure it’s the only fitness app that rewards progress with cat facts. But there’s a proper fitness tracker in here too: it’ll track your steps and weight loss, remember your workouts and add data to Apple’s health app.
Most of the personality is in the main iPhone app, but the Watch alerts include such cheery prospects as “seven minutes in hell”. If you find getting fit or losing weight a little bit tedious, CARROT might be the, ahem, carrot that you need to get motivated.
Passwords are essential, but they’re also rubbish. The ones you can remember are easy to guess, the ones that are hard to guess are equally hard to remember, and if you do passwords properly it can be a pain to enter complicated strings of text and characters when you’re in a hurry.
Wouldn’t it be better if you could prove your identity to your Mac with your Watch? That’s exactly what Knock does.
Knock is a simple idea brilliantly executed. Provided your Mac is of relatively recent vintage - an Air from 2011 or better, a MacBook Pro or iMac from late 2012, a 2013 or later Mac Pro and so on - you can use Knock to automatically unlock your Mac or Macs by tapping the Apple Watch app.
It’s connecting via Bluetooth Low Energy - hence the reliance on relatively recent Macs; older ones don’t have Bluetooth LE - which uses tiny amounts of energy, so you don’t need to worry about the app killing your Watch’s battery any more than usual, and it works instantly if your Mac isn’t in sleep mode.
It may seem quite pricey for such a simple app, but think about how much time you spend locking and unlocking your Macs in a year.
Note that you may not need this if you have a recent Mac running macOS Sierra, as there’s a similar feature built in, but Knock is compatible with slightly older Macs too.
Mindfulness, the art of focusing on being present and aware in the world instead of being constantly distracted by things and thoughts that don’t matter, isn’t something you’d associate with the Apple Watch. If you aren’t careful with your notification settings your Watch pings away merrily all day, interrupting countless trains of thought.
But the Happier app hopes to use the Watch to make you feel better, not more harassed.
The app itself is free, but it’s designed as a gateway to paid-for mindfulness courses. If you don’t go for them you can still take advantage of the app, though. You can tell the app how you’re feeling - we suspect “meh” is the most-used option - and it then responds with uplifting quotes to help you feel a bit more optimistic.
It can pop up to remind you to take a meditation break, and you can dictate a positive thought to a private journal or to the Happier community. That’s not as daft as it sounds: there’s some evidence that keeping a journal of positive things can boost your mood over time.
Just be careful what and how you share: one iTunes reviewer says that they were able to locate their private journal with Google.
- Tamagotchi Classic
Readers of a certain age will remember Tamagotchi, the infuriatingly addictive electronic pets that took over the world in the late 1990s with their incessant demands for care and attention.
And now they’re back! Back! BACK! And this time, they’re on your wrist - which is fitting, because Tamagotchi is apparently a portmanteau of the Japanese words for egg and watch. If you’ve never used your watch to raise a virtual pet, here’s your chance.
This app is the Tamagotchi L.i.f.e Gen1, and it uses the Apple Watch in several ways: when your Tamagotchi wants your attention it’ll pop up on your wrist, you can monitor your Tamagotchi’s health, and you can carry out care actions - such as feeding it a meal or making it go to the toilet.
There are two modes to choose from: toy mode, which recreates the originals, and App Mode, which adds special colors. The app also enables you to put multiple Tamagotchi into a gallery, where you can then take pictures of them, and save said digital snaps to your Camera Roll.
It’s spectacularly pointless, of course, but it’s also pretty cute and faithful to the original toys - so it’s an app for rose-tinted spectacle wearers as well as for people who’ve never encountered Tamagotchi before.
- VLC Remote
As you’ve probably guessed, this app is a remote control for VLC. If you’re not familiar with those initials they belong to one of our very favorite apps, the VLC media player.
It’s a kind of Swiss Army Knife for playing or streaming music and video, and it’s available on iOS and on desktop computers too. We love it for many reasons: it’s fast, it’s free and it can read media formats most of us forgot ever existed.
The remote app solves a simple problem with computer media playback: if you’re on the sofa you probably aren’t anywhere near the computer that’s got all your media files on it.
It works with VLC on Mac, Linux or Windows, automatically finds any running copy of VLC on your local network and enables you to control the on-screen action with your phone.
The Watch app reduces that to bare bones: it gives you volume and transport controls, shows cover art and offers additional options - repeat, shuffle, audio on/off and subtitles on/off - via Force Touch.
If you’ve made VLC the heart of your home entertainment, this app should save you from wearing a path in the carpet between computer and couch.
TripIt - Travel Organizer
- Free / in-app purchases
Whether you’re a road warrior or an occasional holidayer, keeping track of the various aspects of your trip can be a pain. TripIt solves that by pulling all your travel-related documentation together.
All you need to do is send your travel confirmation emails - flights, hotels, car hire - to TripIt and the app will automatically organize them and tell you the information you need when you need it.
If you use Gmail, Outlook.com or Yahoo mail you can get TripIt to monitor your mailbox automatically, which makes things even easier. If you’re in the US, it even tells you when it’s time to head for the airport.
The phone app stores your itinerary and key documents, and the Watch app lets you know what’s important right now - so if you’re about to board a flight you’ll see the flight number and departure time, if you’re checking in you’ll see a booking reference and so on.
Things get really clever with the Pro subscription ($48.99/£38.99/AU$77.99), which adds live flight notifications, seat tracking and alternative flight finding should your plans change.
That’s probably unnecessary for most people, though: the free version of the app includes all the essentials you need for any kind of travel.
- Lose It!
- Free / in-app purchases
If your Watch strap is feeling a little more snug than it used to, this app may be the answer: it’s designed to help you achieve your weight loss goals “without the unsustainable gimmicks, fad diets, restrictive foods, on-site meetings, or large price tags of other weight-loss companies.”
It tracks the calories you’ve consumed and the goals you’ve set, focuses on nutrition as well as overall calorie intake, works happily with other fitness apps and trackers and provides an online peer group where everybody encourages each other to achieve their ideal weight.
It also enables you to set exercise goals and focus on general wellness, so it’s not just about losing weight.
The Apple Watch app doesn’t replace the phone app completely - for example, you’ll need your phone handy if you want to use the barcode scanner to automatically record what you’re eating, and the team-based features such as group challenges are phone-based - but it’s a great way to focus on your goals, monitor your progress and keep your motivation no matter how sorely tempted you may be.
The program is $39.99/£29.99/AU$62.99 per year but you can explore the app for free without signing up.
Microsoft earned well-deserved death stares from many Watch users when it bought and retired the excellent Sunrise Calendar iOS app, but its Outlook app is worth adding to your wrist.
It’s from the new, interesting Microsoft, not the staid bore of old: it works well, looks great and won’t crash your watch.
Outlook is a combined email and calendar app that connects to Microsoft Exchange, Office 365, Outlook.com, Hotmail, MSN, Gmail, Yahoo and iCloud, and its main claim to fame is the focused inbox: instead of showing you everything emailed, it shows the most important stuff only and learns by watching your swipes.
It’s particularly good in a corporate environment, where its talents cope admirably with endless meeting requests, time changes and backside-covering email traffic, enabling you to prioritize things that matter and forget about things that don’t.
That doesn’t mean it’s only for corporate types, though. Outlook is a really, really good email app and boasts a useful Complication that enables you to see what’s next on your schedule from the main Apple Watch display. If you have a busy life, a busy inbox or both it’s a very useful app to have on your arm.
- Mount Burnmore
- Free / in-app purchases
Fitness fanatics look away now: for those that find exercise really boring, and their get up and go often gets up and goes while they stay sedentary. Mount Burnmore could be the answer to that lethargy: it turns fitness into a game.
The concept is quite clever. Mount Burnmore depends on “active energy”, which it pulls from the Health app: the more calories you’ve burned, the more active energy you have in the game.
When you have sufficient energy you can attempt to solve the game’s puzzles, which involve finding routes around the titular mountain, collecting in-game items and smashing things with a pickaxe.
There’s a Complication that enables you to see your progress without launching the full game, and the app makes good use of the Digital Crown to help you navigate around larger levels later in the game. There are also leaderboards to compare with other players and in-game challenges to win freebies.
It’s bright, breezy and a bit brash, and we suspect it’s best suited to older children rather than grown-ups - although if you do give this one to the kids you might want to disable in-app purchases, as they can be used to buy in-game items.
- Free / in-app purchases
Sometimes the best way to learn new things is to have fun, and that’s particularly true of languages: we can’t remember a taught word of the languages we rote-learned in school, but we can remember all the swear words and rude ones our peers snickered about on the bus home.
Babbel takes a more mature, but no less effective, approach to language learning, using data from the check-in service Foursquare to tell you about nearby words you need to find and translate on its Watch app. For example: you might learn the foreign word for a type of drink when you’re at a coffee shop.
The main iPhone app is more formal but still concentrates on real-world language, so you’re more likely to learn how to ask if somebody’s married or if they want some wine than tell them that your aunt’s pen is in the garden.
It’s proven to be effective and has more than a million subscribers, making it one of the most popular language learning tools around.
Just watch out for those in-app purchases, though: each language pack costs money, but some cost a lot more than others.