There are thousands of apps for Apple Watch. The tiny snag is that most of them aren’t much cop.
Why? Well some misunderstand how a wearable is best used, and demand you spend far too long with your wrist in front of your face; others misfire on ergonomics or usability.
Others briefly impress, but that’s not good enough for us. We want apps that are clever and well-designed but also that we return to on a regular basis.
That, then, is what this list is all about: the best Apple Watch apps we’re actively using.
Runkeeper (£free + IAP)
A long-time favourite of healthy folks, Runkeeper also happens to have a snazzy Apple Watch app. If you have an older Apple Watch, Runkeeper will happily communicate with your iPhone, providing updates on your current progress as you wheeze your way around a circuit that suddenly appears to be a million miles in length.
Got an Apple Watch Series 2? Turn off Run With Phone and the Runkeeper app will use your wearable’s GPS to build a map of your journey. Great for checking out routes of successful runs. Not so much if your old route involved a sneaky bakery pit-stop that you were dead set on no-one ever discovering.
Most Apple Watch apps are designed to feed you information while you’re awake. Sleep++ is almost the opposite – grabbing information while you’re snoozing. Broadly speaking, it’s designed to track motion, thereby figuring out how restless you are – and when. If it turns out you’re always rolling about at 3am, it might be worth seeing if your neighbour’s performing impromptu guitar solos around that time.
With watchOS 3’s Background Refresh, Sleep++ is now more responsive when you wake, enabling you to immediately analyse last night’s sleep. And although you might wonder when you can charge your Apple Watch if you wear it overnight, the developer notes that shouldn’t be a concern.
Productive (£free or £2.99)
On the iPhone, Productive is designed to help you build good habits. You create individual habits and say how often you want to do them. The app then builds daily schedules, split into morning, afternoon and evening.
The Apple Watch app is a basic companion – but a smart one. On launch, it’ll switch to the relevant list, enabling you to quickly check through your schedule. Finished a task? Tap Done and wear a smug grin. Don’t fancy doing one today? Tap Skip and perfect your guilty face for a bit.
Just Press Record (£2.29)
The idea behind Just Press Record is to make capturing voice memos insanely simple. On Apple Watch, the app starts off as a massive microphone button. Prod it to start recording. When you’re done, the recording lurks on your Apple Watch until it next connects to your iPhone, at which point it transfers. Easy.
Using the Apple Watch app, you can also peruse and playback recent recordings. The only snag is there’s no background playback, so it’s best for shortish memos. Still, that’s a small niggle when using it makes you feel like you’re living in a trashy sci-fi flick.
Weirdly, Notes has yet to make its way across to Apple Watch, but fortunately Drafts ably fills that particular void. The app enables you to capture new notes by dictation, which are then hurled into your Drafts inbox. Alternatively, you can append or prepend whatever you input to an existing note – for example, to update a diary or shopping list.
If you don’t fancy talking at your Apple Watch, you can use the new watchOS 3 Scribble feature to write notes instead. Also, your inbox is browsable and your notes are readable on you Apple Watch, saving you from having to keep heading to your iPhone.