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Best Apple Watch apps we've used in 2019

Best Apple Watch apps we've used in 2019

It’s been an interesting year for even the best Apple Watch apps. In the spring it seemed as if the Watch had lost its sparkle, with many big-name apps either languishing or being pulled from the Watch altogether. The problem wasn’t that Apple Watch apps are a bad idea, though. 

Far from it, as our selection here demonstrates. It was that sometimes, apps were designed to answer the wrong question: “could we make a Watch app?” but not “should we?”

Now, watchOS 6 is set to bring an App Store to your Apple Watch for the very first time. That may encourage app developers to take the Apple Watch more seriously, so 2019 may be a big year for great new apps on your wrist.

The Apple Watch 4 is proving pretty popular too, and that's why you're probably here checking out the new apps. In fact, it's one of the best smartwatch options out there, and now we're at the fourth generation it's becoming a particularly accomplished smart option for your wrist.

Our favourite apps, the apps that are still here after a bumpy year, both should and could have been made. They exist because they’re useful, or because they’re entertaining, or because they make your life that little bit better. 

In this round-up you’ll find apps for podcasting and procrastinating, for getting fit and getting stuff done, for messing around and for sorting stuff out. 

Before you get into our list remember to head into the Apple Watch main app on your iPhone - that's where you'll see a list of the apps already installed on your phone that can also be transferred to your Watch. If you see any you like the look of here, you'll need to download them to your iPhone first.

And make sure to check this article weekly, as we'll add a new app each week, highlighted below.

Apple Watch app of the week: HomeRun for HomeKit

HomeRun has been around for a while to make it easier to control HomeKit devices from your wrist. The latest version, 1.2, is a significant upgrade. It’s all about routines, complications and Siri shortcuts.

The previous version of HomeRun enabled you to create custom complications for your Apple Watch. Version 1.2 expands that to the Siri watch face, and both the Infographic and Siri complications now benefit from the app’s new Routines. 

Routines enable you to create different events for different times of the day and to change the complication or Siri watch face accordingly, so the button or link that appears at 8am will be different from the one that appears at lunchtime or home time.

To create a Routine you do three things: specify when it should start, specify which scene it should activate and specify which icon and color the shortcut should have.

If you’ve got a really complex life you can have multiple different complications, each attached to a different Routine, and you can also specify what should show up as a Siri shortcut at different times. It’s clever and genuinely useful stuff for anybody who likes to get things just-so, and a great demonstration of how cool Apple Watch apps can be.

Best Apple Watch apps for fitness and running

There's no denying that the main thrust of the Apple Watch since the second model is for fitness: it's packing GPS, heart rate, water resistance and improved sensors to make the most of the fact people like to work out with this thing - it even connects to gym equipment.

This list of Apple Watch fitness, running, wellbeing and health apps are nearly all must-have - if you're going to do one thing with your new Watch, use it to become a healthier you in mind and body.

Tag Heuer Golf

You may know Tag Heuer for its reassuringly expensive timepieces, but you might not know about its prowess in making smartwatches for golfers. With the new Golf app, the company brings its golfing talents to your Apple Watch.

The main iPhone app is free, but the Apple Watch companion is only available to subscribers. If you subscribe, you get most of the features of the firm’s smartwatch: maps of nearly 40,000 courses worldwide that tell you where the hazards are, shot distance measurement and real-time statistics. You can track not just your own scores but those of up to three friends too.

As you’d expect, the companion iPhone app is well designed and makes good use of the information from your Watch: it can show you not just how well you performed today, but how well you performed in your last 20 rounds or all time. It’s packed with stats: the best score to par, the longest shot, the putts per hole… there’s probably a section rating the garishness of your trousers too.

The price might seem steep but golf doesn’t come cheap – and when you consider that you’re getting much the same feature set as a watch that can cost four figures, it does represent comparatively good value for money.

Fabulous - Daily Motivation

We were going to write about this ages ago but we couldn’t be bothered. Boom boom! If you’re struggling to get stuff done, Fabulous hopes to help.

It’s an odd little app that does a little of everything: health tracking, yoga, exercise advice, mindfulness, dieting and psychology. It’s based around making little but significant changes to your life: helping you clear your head or work your abs, tracking your health or fitness goals and reminding you to stay hydrated.

If you’re watching your weight the app also has a weight loss program inspired by the Atkins and HCG diets. The app claims to be based on “major scientific studies” but of course you should always seek medical advice before embarking on any diet.

The bulk of the work happens on the iPhone app, with the Watch app as a simple companion reminding you what to do and enabling you to tick off the items on your daily schedule. As is often the case with fitness apps, the main features are reserved for subscribers: to access the personal coaching feature you’ll need to pay a monthly or yearly subscription.

Attain by Aetna

Would you be willing to share your fitness data with your healthcare provider in exchange for the odd reward? That’s what Attain appears to be about. We say “appears to be” because in order to get it you need to be an Aetna customer and sign up for the app via its Attain By Aetna website.

The app is designed to make health recommendations, such as telling you when it’s time to get flu shots or refill your prescriptions, and to help you live a fitter, healthier life. Data will be encrypted and shared with both Aetna and Apple, but it isn’t currently used to make decisions about your coverage or the cost of your coverage.

The app provides a range of fitness targets based on your age, sex and weight, and it enables you to score points by achieving those goals. You can achieve goals based not just on steps taken but on activities such as swimming or yoga too.

As anyone who’s watched dreadful game shows knows, points mean prizes – and in this case those prizes include “gift cards from popular retailers” and even a brand new Apple Watch. We’re willing to bet it will take more than a quick run around the block to qualify for that one.

ActivityTracker Pedometer

We’ve covered ActivityTracker before, and it’s had some significant updates since we last looked. In addition to support for the Apple Watch 4, the latest iPhones, iOS 12 and watchOS 5, it boasts four new complications for the new Infograph watch face and an updated engine to more accurately record activity times.

As before, the main app is designed to track your activity without using your phone or watch’s GPS features, so it’s less demanding on battery life. It uses your device’s motion processor to record and calculate steps taken, stairs climbed, calories burned, distance traveled and active time, and you can see how well you’re doing on an hourly, daily, weekly or monthly basis.

You can also import your historical data from Apple’s Health app so you’re not starting from a clean slate of data.

If you subscribe to the Pro version for a modest $4.99 / £4.99 / AU$7.99 it offers complications for instant stats on your Apple Watch and synchronization of steps between iPhone, Watch and the Health app. Pro users can also move data from one iPhone to another. Whether you subscribe or not the Watch app gives you an overview of the last hour, day and week in the form of attractive and effective graphs.

Slopes

Late in 2018, Apple introduced improved snowboarding and skiing tracking for the Apple Watch Series 3 and later. That’s been a boon for snow apps such as Slopes, which can use the improved APIs to gather more useful information than ever before.

With Slopes you can track your speed, vertical, distance, lift vs trail time and more, getting the information you need right now on your wrist and sharing that data with the iPhone so you can analyze it later.

Slopes is very clever. It automatically detects runs and lifts, it can replay your runs in 3D with heat maps showing your speed on each bit of the run, and it even integrates with your photo library to automatically display photos you took on your skiing or snowboarding trips. The app also integrates with the Apple Health app, recording details of your workouts and the calories you’ve burned.

As with many sport apps the core version of Slopes is free but there’s also a premium subscription that introduces extra features. Here that means live run-by-run breakdowns, unlimited run and lift stat breakdowns, premium maps and even virtual 3D mountains to show you where you’ve been. An annual pass is a very reasonable $19.99/£12.49/AU$17.99.

Strava

Strava is one of the most popular running and cycling apps around, but it’s always required you to have your phone or a non-Apple smartwatch to track your travels and record your vital statistics. Not anymore.

If you have an Apple Watch 2, the Strava Apple Watch app can use its GPS to record your run without requiring you to strap a phone to anything. The interface isn’t as pretty as the iPhone app’s interface, but when you’re running or cycling that doesn’t matter: the information you need is presented cleanly enough and the app is simple and straightforward to use.

The main app is free and offers essential features including distance, pace, speed, elevation and burned calories, and there’s a premium service for $5.99/£5.99/AU$9.99 per month or $59.99/£54.99/AU$89.99 per year that offers more detailed post-exercise analysis, live performance feedback and personalized coaching - although not through the Watch.

However, if you’re someone who uses the premium features like Beacon on the main app, you might not find Strava on the Apple Watch to your liking compared to using it on the phone.

Nike Run Club

The ongoing love-fest between Nike and Apple continues to bear fruit: the latest iteration of the Nike Run Club app introduces some welcome improvements. 

It now integrates with Siri Suggestions, which means the app can now suggest good times for a run based on your previous runs (the feature is off by default so it won’t nag you if you don’t want it to), and there are new Apple Watch complications including one for the Infograph face that shows how far you’ve run this month.

There’s hardly a shortage of running apps in the App Store but Nike’s budget is a bit higher than most, so the app feels a lot more premium than many others. It tracks and stores all your runs thanks to your Watch’s built-in GPS, enables you to listen to audio guides as you run, offers a range of challenges to keep you motivated and has good social sharing features, so you can turn your friends into cheerleaders. 

It’s very well designed and the Watch app doesn’t sacrifice substance for style: while visually it’s very attractive it also shows all the information you actually need as you’re pounding the pavements. It’s a really good running app.

ECG

Apple’s much-heralded ECG app has finally arrived. It’s available for free to Apple Watch users and should automatically appear in your list of available apps as part of the watchOS 5.1.2 update, but you’ll only get it in a select few territories: the US, the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam.

If you really, really want the app and you don’t live in any of those places you can get around it by changing the system region to one of the countries where it is available, although of course that will affect the other apps on your Watch too. For users in the UK it may be the only way to get the ECG app for the foreseeable future.

The app itself is simple and potentially life-saving. You simply put a finger on the Digital Crown, wait 30 seconds and the app analyzes the electrical impulses in your body; this enable it to detect some cases of atrial fibrillation. The emphasis here is on ‘some’: the app can generate false positive results, and it’s no substitute for a real doctor. However, by detecting issues that may otherwise go unnoticed it’s a useful thing for your Apple Watch to offer.

Cardiogram

We’ve written about Cardiogram before: it’s a very valuable health tracker that enables you to see how your heart is working over time, and which enables you to look for spikes related to what you eat, how you exercise and whether you’re particularly stressed at work. All you need to do is wear your Apple Watch, which checks your heart rate every five minutes. Cardiogram then crunches that data to give you an insight into what your body’s doing.

What’s interesting about Cardiogram now isn’t the app itself, but the partnerships that are starting to emerge.

In the US, Amica Life and Greenhouse Health Insurance are offering life insurance for Cardiogram users with any version of the Apple Watch: simply use the Cardiogram app and you can be eligible for up to $1,000 (around £775/AU$1,400) in accidental death cover for 12 months, with the option to purchase up to $50,000 (roughly £39,000/AU$70,000) more from within the app. $1,000 isn’t a lot in the great scheme of things, especially in America, but it’s a lot for free.

You don’t have to share data either, the insurers bet that people who use Cardiogram are more likely to take steps to improve their health than people who don’t.

As with most health things, such partnerships are subject to regulatory approval, and the Cardiogram partnership is currently available in Wisconsin, Arizona, Indiana and Georgia. Expect more states and more partnerships soon.

MySwimPro

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.

Nike Training Club

Nike and Apple are best friends forever, so it’s not a huge surprise to see Nike unveil another Watch app. This one’s really good, too. Describing itself as “your ultimate personal trainer”, Nike Training Club has more than 180 workouts covering strength, endurance, mobility and yoga, and they’re all free. There are daily personalized picks based on your previous activity, flexible training plans to help you achieve your fitness goals, and tips from top trainers.

The app splits jobs between phone and Watch. The former is where you do the planning and tracking; the latter is what you wear while you’re actually working out. By necessity as well as design that means focusing only on the information you really need right now, such as your heart rate and how many reps you still have to do before you can undo all your efforts with some cake and beer.

The app is by no means unique in its combination of Watch and workout tracking, although it does have Nike’s immediately recognizable and individual visual style. But what’s significant about this app is that none of its many workouts are hidden behind in-app purchases or pricey subscriptions. Everything in the app is free.

Round Health

The longer we’ve had our Apple Watches, the more we’ve come to appreciate simplicity: while the App Store is full of apps that offer all kinds of features, the ones we actually use every day tend to do one thing very well. Round Health is that kind of app: it’s designed to make sure you take your medicine, and it does so with the minimum of fuss. You can also have it as a complication, so you know exactly what you need to take next.

Whether it’s vitamins or medication, most of us have had that “did I take it today?” thing. That’s no big deal if you’re just topping up your vitamin D in winter, but for people taking birth control or who have serious and/or chronic conditions it’s often very important to take certain medicine at certain times.

With Round Health you can set simple but persistent reminders that make sure you take what you need to take, and it supports more complex medical regimes involving multiple medications and schedules as well as tracking when you need to renew your prescription.

The term ‘life-changing’ is bandied around a lot to describe rather ordinary apps, but Round Health is a great way of helping you stay on top of your health.

Lifesum

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.

Headspace

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.

WebMD

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.

HeartWatch

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.

One Drop Diabetes Management

We’re increasingly intrigued 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.

WorkOutDoors

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.

Streaks

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.

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.

Peak - Brain Training

From a team of developers, psychologists and neuroscientists, Peak is a great app for keeping your brain active. The Watch version offers three games, ideal for the smaller screen. Some of these seem simple at first, but they quickly become more challenging.

There are workouts to test memory, focus and problem solving – all of them fun, engaging, and the ideal to while away the daily commute. 

Runtastic Six Pack Abs Workout

If you've been meaning to get that six-pack tummy but just don't have time to go to the gym, this iPhone app has high-quality videos of avatars performing crunches, situps, stretches and core twists that you can do in your own time on your bedroom floor, say.

Initial workouts with Runtastic are free, more come as in-app purchases. And if squinting at your precariously perched iPhone isn't doing it for you, the Watch app means you can see an animation on your watch, with vibrations on your wrist to start and end a set. It's easy to use and works well. Now you'll have to find another excuse not to work out.

MyFitnessPal

Information is power and if you're trying to lose weight, calorie tracking is a good way to stay focused. MyFitnessPal works out a daily calorie allowance based on how much weight you want to shed. Eat a meal and your allowance is spent, take exercise and you earn credit.

The Watch gives you a running total of remaining calories and how that breaks down into protein, carbohydrates and more. It can integrate with your steps total so you don't have to add those manually. It's simple but convenient and helpful.

Walkmeter GPS Pedometer

If walking's your thing, Walkmeter helps track your every step, showing your perambulations on a map and generating detailed graphs. The Watch app has clear data reporting and you can start and stop a walk from your wrist using the Watch's Force Touch actions.

Apple's own Workout app does a lot, but this app has more detail and the mapping detail on the iPhone is great. The app is free but for full Watch performance you need to upgrade to the Elite version for $9.99/£9.99/AU$14.99. There's a lot here, including training plans and announcements as you hit targets or distances.

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.

Lose It!

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.

Mount Burnmore

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.

Happier

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.

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Best Apple Watch sleep apps

It's worth noting that there aren't a lot of apps for sleep tracking, as the Apple Watch can't really last overnight on battery.

That said, there are some clever apps to do it, and many people are now on their sequel Apple Watch and can even have one for the day and one for the night - so sleep tracking with your 'Night Watch' is possible.

AutoSleep Tracker

There are plenty of sleep tracking apps in the App Store, but AutoSleep is among the best. Now in version 6 it delivers more information than you could ever ask for, with good use of color-coding to prioritize information. 

AutoSleep presents its analysis in three key areas: Sleep, which as you’d expect tells you how long you slept for; Quality, which tells you how restless you were; and Readiness, which is an attempt to predict how well you’re going to cope with the day’s demands based on your recent sleep history. The interface is strongly and deliberately reminiscent of Apple’s own activity tracking, with the same use of colored rings to show what you’ve achieved.

The Watch app even works if you don’t wear your Apple Watch to bed: simply touch the Watch in the morning and AutoSleep knows you’re up. If you do wear it to bed, though, the app will analyze sleep quality based on restlessness, time awake and heart rate – and you can adjust the sensitivity if you’re a very restless sleeper. It integrates with Apple Health and Siri Shortcuts, and it also works as a complication for your chosen watch face.

Best Apple Watch apps for music, podcasts and audiobooks

SoundHound

Music discovery, you say? Isn’t that what Shazam is for? The answer to that is yes, but also no – because while Shazam does a brilliant job of finding songs based on listening to the currently playing music, it doesn’t attempt to recognize your humming and singing.

That’s SoundHound’s speciality. It promises to identify that song that’s driving you crazy: all you have to do is hum or sing a reasonably accurate version of it and SoundHound will do the rest. As you’d expect, it’s extremely hit and miss.

That’s not all SoundHound offers, though. It brings up the lyrics of the song it has matched, which is helpful if you fancy singing along, and if your Watch is the cellular version you can recognize songs and grab lyrics without needing a connection to your phone.

On your iPhone the app also offers a few features that Shazam doesn’t. You can bookmark songs and add them to Spotify playlists, and there are some useful voice-controlled features such as “okay Hound, show me lyrics for…” or “okay Hound, play today’s top songs.” 

It’s that voice control that really elevates SoundHound over rival apps, as it turns the app into a voice-controlled hub for pretty much any musical task.

Pandora

  • Pandora
  • Free (requires Plus or Premium subscription)

Spotify isn’t the only streaming music giant to bring offline listening to the Apple Watch. If you’re in the US (the service isn’t currently available to international listeners) Pandora does it too. It has released a brand new app that enables you to listen offline, and rate and control your music without having to reach for your phone.

The app itself is free, but you’ll need a paid-for Plus or Premium subscription to use it: like Spotify, the free tier doesn’t support offline music. Offline listening requires watchOS 5 or later. Plus subscriptions are currently $4.99 per month and Premium subscriptions are $12.99.

The updated iPhone app brings support for Siri Shortcuts, and it also integrates with the Messages app so that you can send and receive songs without leaving the Messages app. There’s even an Apple TV app that uses the same subscription.

Pandora is a good way to get hold of not just music but podcasts too. Discovering new content, whether music or podcasts, is simple thanks to a good selection of recommendations and playlists, and if you go for the Plus subscription you can create unlimited personalized stations as well as up to four stations for offline listening.

Pocket Casts

Pocket Casts is a firm favorite among podcast users, with 8 years of constant improvements under its belt. Now in its seventh incarnation, it’s one of the best ways to stay on top of your podcast pile. It’s also eminently sociable with support not just for the Apple Watch but for Chromecast, Sonos, CarPlay and AirPlay.

Although the app is perfect for beginners, there’s a lot here for serious listeners, including excellent filters, automatic downloads, listening history and extensive notifications.

Version 7 enables you to listen to individual episodes without subscribing, streamlines the user interface, has excellent archiving that retains your playback history and supports Siri Shortcuts. There’s been a big effort to improve discovery, so the app makes it much easier to find new podcasts it thinks you’ll like as well as the podcasts you’ve found for yourself.

As with other apps of this ilk most of the heavy lifting is done by the iPhone app, with the Watch app there to provide access to the features that make sense on your wrist: playback control, of course, but also speeding the podcast up or down, trimming silence and boosting the volume. You can see what’s next, browse new releases and scroll through the podcast charts too.

Spotify Music

At last! Spotify finally makes its way to the Apple Watch with an app that does everything you might expect it to do. It plays music! It pauses music! It connects to other devices via the magic of Spotify Connect! It gives you playlists! It has a shuffle button!

The one thing it doesn’t do, though, is stream: the music you hear via your Watch is coming from your iPhone, not directly to the Apple Watch. We’d expect that to change in future versions of the app. It hasn’t been optimized for the larger display of the Apple Watch 4 either, so it looks a bit odd on the most recent models.

We’re big fans of and subscribers to Spotify: its catalog is enormous and it’s enormously sociable too, with apps for every conceivable platform. Being able to pay once for an ad-free subscription that works on your phone, tablet, Watch, TV, console and in the car is a fantastic thing.

While the ad-funded version isn’t too annoying we think the higher quality and convenient offline listening features (already available on iPhone but coming soon to the Watch app too) of the paid-for Premium version are well worth the money.

Overcast

If you love to listen to podcasts and you don’t already have Overcast, you’re in for a nice surprise: it’s a superb app, and its Watch integration is particularly well thought out.

In addition to the usual controls and lists of shows and episodes, it gives you quick access to two really useful features: Smart Speed, which can make the podcast play more quickly without turning into Alvin and the Chipmunks; and Voice Boost, which can make indistinct speech noticeably clearer and compensate for podcasters who can’t pick a single spot in front of the mic.

If you’ve ever strained to hear something only for the host to move closer to the mic and nearly blow your eardrums out, you should be rushing to the App Store already

Overcast is free, or $9.99/£8.99/AU$12.99 without the ads. We’d recommend going for the ad-free version, because while the advertising isn’t too invasive this is an app that’s been put together by people who really care about the end user experience, and paying for the full app is a great way to ensure that they’ll keep on caring. 

Castro Podcasts

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.

Audible

You may know Audible already: it’s the Amazon-owned audiobook service that enables you to devour books on the move, in bed or anywhere else you can get comfortable. The catalog is vast, books are often narrated by very big names and the overall quality is very high. And now, you can use it without taking your phone with you thanks to its Apple Watch app.

The app is compatible with every Apple Watch made so far and enables you to transfer audiobooks to your Watch, provided of course that you have enough available storage.

It’s important to note that Audible doesn’t stream to your watch: you need to sync your audiobook(s) from your iPhone, which can take a while over the Watch’s desperately slow connection. But once the book has been transferred you can play, pause, fast forward and rewind. You could listen via the Watch’s speaker but we wouldn’t recommend it; Audible is best experienced on a decent pair of wireless headphones.

We think the Audible Watch app is best suited to environments where you don’t want to have your phone: the gym is the one that springs immediately to mind: we can’t be the only people who’d rather listen to a book than pumping techno on a treadmill.

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Best Apple Watch apps for photo and video

Lens for IG

Here’s good news for Instagram fans mourning the discontinued official Watch app: Lens for IG is designed just for you. It’s a wrist-based Instagram client that enables you to do pretty much everything bar upload photos to the service, and because Apple Watches have bigger screens now it’s actually nicer to look at than the original official app was - at least if you have one of the larger models.

The app starts on your iPhone, but sensibly enough it doesn’t try to compete with the iPhone Instagram app: it’s there purely to connect your Watch app to the Instagram service so you can still get your Insta fix when your phone isn’t in your hand.

There are seven sections to the app – Home, Stories, Activity, Explore, Messages, Profile and Search – and they all do what you’d expect. Home is where your timeline lives, and if you tap the comments button you can use Scribble, emoji or the built-in, gesture-based keyboard to write a message.

It’s fun, but it’s also very new and like many version 1 apps it suffers a little from bugs such as crashing. But then, it’s free so you can forgive the odd issue and the version history shows a pattern of regular updates to squash bugs and solve problems.

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.

HomeCam for HomeKit

You can probably guess what this one does from the title: it’s an app for cameras that use Apple’s HomeKit. The app is a remote viewer that enables you to check multiple cameras simultaneously, and if your hardware supports features such as temperature and air quality monitoring you can then take action by invoking other HomeKit devices such as connected air conditioners or heating.

It can also combine data from multiple devices together, so for example you could overlay temperature data over a live camera feed, and it’s fully compatible with the new Siri Shortcuts feature in iOS 12, which enables you to create automated actions. You can also use it to control HomeKit features such as the lighting in a room, and you can add a Today widget for even faster access from your lock screen.

The main action happens in the iPhone and iPad app, largely because of screen real estate: the Watch has many good features, but a giant screen isn’t one of them. That means the Watch app shows a single-camera view. 

It can use your Watch’s microphone and speaker as an intercom (again, if your camera hardware supports audio), but it’s best suited for quick camera checking when your iPhone isn’t handy.

FiLMiC Pro

  • 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.

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Best Apple Watch apps for notes, passwords and making life easier

Dashlane Password Manager

Dashlane is one of the most popular and most highly rated password managers on iPhone and iPad, and it works on Apple Watch too. It doesn’t give you passwords, though. It uses your Apple Watch as an authenticator for two-factor authentication for your desktop or mobile device.

When you want to access a site or get a stored password, you’ll be asked to enter the six-digit code that appears on your Apple Watch. Codes automatically expire after 30 seconds and only display if you’re logged into Dashlane on your phone. If someone tries to access Dashlane without the correct code, they won’t be able to get in.

The app is free for a limited number of passwords: once you get beyond 50 logins you’ll need to shell out for a subscription. 50 might sound like a lot but if you use a lot of websites you’ll soon blast through that number. The paid version also provides a secure VPN service on your phone or tablet.

It’s hardly the most exciting Apple Watch app, we know, but it is useful: it’s a great example of using the Apple Watch sensibly instead of trying to cram in apps that don’t work on its limited screen real estate.

Voice Record Pro

You want to record something, but your iPhone isn’t handy. No Voice Memos for you! But that’s okay, because Voice Record Pro enables you to record on your Apple Watch instead.

It’s the companion to a fully-featured iPhone app with support for Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, Box and iCloud Drive for audio import and export, and with a good range of features including adjusting the volume, gain, pitch and speed; adding effects such as echo, reverb and distortion; converting files between different formats and editing ID3v2 tags to label MP3 files.

The Apple Watch bit is considerably simpler but still useful for capturing ideas or even conversations, although of course you’re limited by the little microphone in the Watch: while it’s perfectly fine for audio notes, don’t expect to be recording studio-quality sound.

You can play, record or trigger recording on the iPhone app, and when you’re recording on your wrist there’s a good simulation of a traditional VU meter to help you see if you’re being too loud or too quiet. It’s easy to navigate around your recordings and you can delete any ones that you don’t want to keep.

The app is free, with an in-app purchase option to remove ads from the iPhone version.

Google Keep

You may remember in 2017, when Google pulled its various Apple Watch apps. But now, it seems Google is back in the wristy business. This month the Google Keep app was updated with a new feature: support for the Apple Watch.

Google Keep is essentially Apple’s Reminders for people who prefer Google’s way of doing things, and like Reminders it uses the cloud to sync with desktop and online versions of the app. You can use it to create, edit and share notes and to-do lists, to include photos and audio in notes and in a clever touch, to record voice memos and have Google automatically turn those memos into editable, searchable text.

That feature is included in the Apple Watch app, but you can’t use your Watch to edit existing notes – although you can create new ones either via your voice, via scribbling or by entering emoji. You can also archive or prioritize notes by using Force Touch.

The app keeps things simple by showing you the ten most recent notes, and while you can do dictation there’s no Siri integration. There isn’t a Watch face complication either. Here’s hoping that Google adds such features in later versions – assuming, of course, it doesn’t decide to stop supporting the Apple Watch in the future.

OmniFocus 3

The Omni Group is well-known and well-loved for its productivity apps, and version 3 of OmniFocus is available not just for iPhone and iPad but for the Apple Watch too. It’s an extraordinarily useful project and task management app, but while it’s very powerful it’s also very easy to use.

It also manages to pack a lot of information into the screen of your Apple Watch with good use of icons, numbers and bulleted lists. You can display a quick overview as a complication in the Utility Watch face, or call up the app directly to get an instant picture of what you need to care about now and in the immediate future.

The standard and pro versions of the app are free trials, and you can then unlock Standard for $39.99/£38.99/AU$62.99. That gives you almost everything OmniFocus can do, but if you want to add customization options you can go Pro for $59.99/$54.99/AU$89.99 (if you go for Standard first and want to upgrade later, that’s $19.99/£19.99/AU$30.99).

The customization enables you to create custom filters to create a custom perspective on your project, and you can reorder the Today’s Forecast to give you the information you want exactly as you want it.

Calendars 5

You may know Readdle already: it’s the developer behind the superb Spark email app, as well as the popular and useful PDF Expert. Calendars 5 has been around for a while, but the Apple Watch support only arrived in December 2018. As we’ve come to expect from Readdle apps it’s well-designed and useful without unnecessary gimmicks or eye candy.

The app works as a Watch face complication and as a dedicated app. It also supports Siri, so you can ask it to tell you what you’ve got scheduled or create a new item with just your voice. The app works with both iCloud and Google calendars for easy syncing, and it works both online and offline.

The iPhone app is great too, with natural language input and support for the kinds of things you need a calendar app to do such as complex recurring events (for example, a class that runs every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday), custom alerts and event invitations.

The app also includes a good task manager that enables you to track and clear your various to-do and task lists. It’s good on the iPad, too, where it takes full advantage of the big screen to give you a birds-eye view of your week or month.

Fantastical 2

Getting Fantastical 2 up and running on your watch can be time consuming, but it’s worth it: one of the very best iPhone calendar apps around develops even more powers when you add its app to your watch.

You can also add it as a complication, which means you’ll see details of your schedule right there in the watch face.

To actually make it work you’ll need to install Fantastical to your watch and then open the iPhone app, not the Apple Watch one. This is where you specify what information should be sent to the watch, and the options are extensive.

You can choose from events, calendars, reminders and lists, include a map of the event location, show end times and specify how reminders should appear, and you can even specify what should happen if you tap on the Fantastical 2 complication on your watch face.

It’s that kind of thought and attention to detail that makes us love the app so much.

The best thing about Fantastical 2, though, is that it understands you. Force Touch the app, tap on Add Event and Siri starts listening.

It knows what you mean by “lunch with Dave”, automatically putting the appointment at 12 noon, and it knows that if you say “to-do get dinner on the way home” you’re adding an item to a to-do list. Siri’s voice recognition performs brilliantly when it’s limited to such a specific set of instructions.

SimpleCommands

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.

IFTTT

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.

1Password

  • 1Password
  • $3.99/£3.49/AU$5.99 monthly subscription

A reliable and secure password manager is a must-have in these days of security breaches and hacks, and 1Password is one of the best. And it turns out that it’s also one of the best password managers you can use on your Apple Watch.

Our favorite apps don’t just port entire iPhone apps across. They think about what you’re actually likely to need on your wrist, and do that instead. In the case of 1Password that means you choose the pieces of information you want available on your Watch, so for example you might want details of a few logins, one credit card and a couple of notes, or perhaps the PIN codes for everyday locks.

If you’ve ever frantically scrolled through an iPhone app or contacts list to try and find the PIN for a bank card you don’t use very often, the appeal should be obvious.

Where 1Password gets particularly clever is in its support for team and family accounts, so you can share sets of information with everybody who needs it. And if a site you use has been compromised, 1Password will alert you to change your password. It’s great stuff, and comes with a glowing recommendation from Apple.

Drafts

On the face of it, and by face we mean Apple Watch face, Drafts doesn’t seem to offer much for six quidbucks: it enables you to dictate text and save it for later. But it turns out that it does an awful lot...it just does it in a really simple way.

On the iPhone, Drafts is designed to make it easy to capture ideas, thoughts, to-dos or anything else.

It has an email-style interface for easy navigation and it enables you to send your Drafts to a whole bunch of other apps and services: email, message, apps in your Share sheet, social media and so on.

It supports Markdown for easy formatting, and it hooks into the iMessage app to provide stored “snippets” of text and/or emoji for instant replies.

Bringing Drafts to the Watch makes it even faster. Tap on the microphone icon to capture and it does just that - but it also enables you to add to existing drafts using either your voice or the Scribble input, which means it’s brilliant for those moments when you think of something really clever to write or something you’d missed from your to-do list. It’s the kind of app you’ll quickly learn to love.

Hours

  • Hours
  • Free / in-app purchases

Many of us need to track the time we spend on specific tasks, but the team behind Hours rightly point out the three big pitfalls of time tracking: we forget to start tracking in the first place, forget to stop when we change tasks, or just forget to stop the timer(s) altogether. Hours hopes to address that by making it really, really easy to start and stop and switch.

The iPhone app is a very beautiful thing, with a visual timeline that makes it easy to see what you’ve been up to. The Watch interface is much simpler, but just as effective: you can see the list of tasks with a timer icon for each, and if you tap on a task you can add a verbal note as well as starting or stopping the timer.

There’s a Complication for instant access, and the app will prompt you from time to time to see if you want to keep the selected timer running.

The standard version is free and ideal for self-employed or freelance types, but the $7.99/£5.99/AU$12.99 upgrade to Pro adds multi-device synchronization, web access, reporting and data visualizations, team creation and management, and online backup, which means it’s a great team tool too.

Just Press Record

One of the most useful things about the Apple Watch is that it enables you to do things without having to take your phone out of your pocket or bag. Just Press Record brings that handiness to voice recording, enabling you to capture bright ideas, rambling monologues or memos when you’re out and about.

The interface is just a big red button with a picture of a microphone on it, and as you might expect you tap it to start recording. The phone app can transcribe your recording to turn it into text - which means your recordings become searchable by keyword - and it recognises formatting commands such as “new paragraph” and “comma”.

To use it is to feel like you’re living in the future: we remember when dictation and transcription required a powerful PC and endless patience, and now you get much better results with a watch. Isn’t technology brilliant?

In addition to its recording and transcription features, the app syncs automatically via iCloud, so you can access it on all your devices - including macOS, for which there’s a separate app - and it uses the Watch’s own local storage so that you can record even if your phone isn’t currently connected.

Evernote

Organize your life better with Evernote, the brilliant note-taking app which saves photos, text, recipes, bookmarks, voice notes and more. On Apple Watch you can set reminders and check off tasks easily enough.

You can dictate new notes for those brilliant ideas you mustn't forget just by tapping the Plus button or Force Touching the screen. The Watch app can search existing notes using voice – though this wasn't as reliable as I'd have liked. Even so, if you're an Evernote fan it brings an extra level of convenience.

OneNote

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.

Knock

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.

Find Near Me

Guess what this does. Go on, guess. Yep: it finds things near you. Sadly that doesn’t mean the TV remote, your keys or the gaming controller – whoever finds a way of doing that which doesn’t involve sticking Bluetooth tags to everything will become a trillionaire – but it does mean cash machines, bars and coffee shops. The only in-app purchase is $2.99/£2.99/AU$4.49 to remove adverts from the iPhone app.

It works exactly like you’d expect. First, you choose the category of thing you want to find. Then, you scroll through the results. And to finish, you tap the one you want to find out more about. From there you can then be guided on foot, in the car or on your bike.

The app makes extensive use of Google Maps, and that means it’s only as good as the Google Maps data: some users report inaccuracies such as long-shut businesses. If you’re wondering why you can’t just use Google Maps and cut out the middleman, it’s because Google canned its Apple Watch app last year: if you want Google Maps on your wrist, you need a third-party app that hooks into it. Like this one.

Deliveries

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.

Clicker

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.

Stocard

One of the things we hoped Apple’s Wallet/Passbook app would deliver was an end to purses and wallets full of loyalty cards: our purse is so packed with the damn things that if we sit down with it in a back pocket one of our buttocks is a good six inches higher than the other. Wallet hasn’t quite changed that yet, but Stocard has a pretty good try.

Stocard enables you to scan and store your loyalty cards (and some other cards such as some membership cards; generally speaking if it has a barcode or QR code on it, Stocard can probably digitize it), and then access them from your iPhone or Apple Watch when you’re at the checkout.

Whether it works or not depends on the store infrastructure: until recently the self-scanners in Tesco didn’t like it, but now that they’ve been upgraded they scan happily. The cards are automatically added to your Apple Wallet as well as kept inside the Stocard app.

The main benefit for you is convenience, as not only does Stocard reduce the amount of cards you have to carry without forcing you to miss out on loyalty points, but it also provides you with details of relevant special offers as you shop.

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