I’ve read numerous stories over the last few weeks about how the Apple Watch doesn’t seem to be useful in terms of apps, or how people are struggling to find uses for it. While I do agree there’s a lot of room for improvement, I don’t agree there aren’t any that offer tremendous utility. Here are 6 useful Apple Watch apps that I use almost every day, and wouldn’t want to live without:
I’ve talked about Todoist at length many times, so I’ll just talk about how I use it from my Apple Watch. Just like many of the Apple Watch apps I use most, I very seldom find myself hunting for the Todoist icon on my Apple Watch. Instead, I have Todoist set up as a small complication in the Modular view. To be specific, in the lower left hand corner. By doing this, I simply get a number with a circle around it. That number represents how many tasks I still have left to complete for the day. If I want to expand upon something, I can tap the complication and view more information, mark tasks as complete, and more. The Todoist app for Apple Watch gives me a quick and easy way to triage tasks without having to pull out my iPhone. And that’s all I need it to do.
* Free – Download
I’ve talked at length about healthy habits and the importance of tracking water intake. My favorite app for tracking water, both on iPhone and Apple Watch is WaterMinder. Not only is WaterMinder easy to use, it integrates with the Health app and allows me several ways to track water. I can swipe down from Notification Center on my Lock screen, launch the app, and you guessed it, track water right from my wrist. WaterMinder is one of the few apps that I allow to send notifications to my wrist. Every few hours I get a gentle tap to track my water intake so far. I scroll down and tap on how much water I want to add. Since WaterMinder lets me customize the cup sizes, I get quick access to the oz amounts for the water bottles I carry around regularly during the day. Just like Todoist, I have WaterMinder set up as a small complication (this time in the lower right hand corner of my Watch screen). This way I can see at a glance how I’m doing with water intake compared to the time of day, and I can quickly tap the icon and add water in mere seconds.
* $1.99 – Download
I’ve been a huge fan of Fantastical since it’s first launch several years ago. The natural language support can’t be matched, and the interface is simple, yet powerful. The Apple Watch complication is just the same. While the large complication is beautiful in its own right, I much prefer the small one, which sits between WaterMinder and Todoist in my bottom row of complications. I love this version because it shows me just the right amount of information in a very small amount of space. The icon of Fantastical for Apple Watch changes colors based on the calendar color of your next upcoming event. For example, if the next event on my calendar is a work event, the icon will be yellow or red (I have multiple work calendars). If it’s a personal event, the icon is blue or pink. This way I know without actually launching the calendar whether the event is personal or work-related. A quick tap on the icon and I’m taken to the list view of my calendar — this can be changed in the Settings section of Fantastical on your iPhone, as can many other behaviors.
* $4.99 – Download
I’ve recently been using MacID again, mainly due to its Apple Watch support. I don’t have an icon or anything for it on my Watch’s Home screen, because I don’t need to. Whenever I wake up my Mac from sleep, I get a tap on my wrist and a prompt to unlock it. The same goes for my iPhone. I love that I can remote lock my Mac if I walk away from it as long as I’m in Bluetooth range — which I do often in coffee shops and cafes. MacID is also useful for times when you want to allow someone to use your computer but you’re not in the same room. This comes in handy if a relative or someone else needs to use your Mac. They wake my Mac up and I’m instantly asked to unlock it. While it isn’t a feature I use often, it’s handy. It has also been a good indicator when someone is trying to get on my computer that shouldn’t (also known as tiny humans, aka children). Aside from locking and unlocking, MacID does all kinds of other fancy things like allowing you to control the volume for different sources of audio.
* $3.99 – Download
If state licenses could be digital, I’d have very little reason to carry around an actual wallet anymore, thanks to the Wallet app (previously known as Passbook). While I used to use it regularly on my iPhone, the Apple Watch has made it even more convenient. Just tap the side button two times and you’re instantly taken to your default debit or credit card. Hold your Watch near a supported reader and boom, your stuff is paid for. I’m using my Apple Watch to pay for things more often than I’m not these days, and I love it.
* Built-in to Apple Watch and iPhone
In the past I’ve always went back and forth between Apple Watch and Google Maps, mainly because Google Maps has excellent transit directions. However, after a recent trip to London, I’ve made the switch back to Apple Maps full-time, thanks to Apple Watch integration. I’ve been using Apple Maps for driving and walking directions for quite some time now, only flipping back to Google Maps for transit. Now, with Apple Maps supporting transit in several cities around the world, I can enjoy the same taps and glances I already have been while driving or walking. I recently took Apple Maps and Apple Watch for a spin on the London Underground and walked away impressed. Not only do I get taps for directions as I progress, I can scroll ahead and back using the Digital Crown, so if I don’t have service (which we know is non-existent on the Underground), I still know where to go. Oh, and as a side tip, using Apple Pay on the London Underground instead of paying for tickets at each station, or even an Oyster card, will save you a lot of money as a passing through tourist, and gives you the same benefits as any contactless card would.
* Built-in to iPhone and Apple Watch
Your thoughts? The days I forget to put my Apple Watch on my wrist, I sorely miss it. I’ve never felt that way about any fitness band or wearable before. While it isn’t perfect, it serves a purpose, at least for me. While there may not be an abundance of truly
useful Apple Watch apps just yet, that doesn’t mean some developers haven’t hit the mark. The Apple Watch is still a very young product, and one I’ll be curious to watch grow and earn its place over time. So let me know in the comments: what Apple Watch apps have you found to be truly useful and indispensable? If you can’t think of any, let me know what kind you would love to see in the future.