Best Wear OS apps: 29 smartwatch apps everyone needs

Supercharge your wrist with this selection of must-have apps
Essential Wear OS apps – tested
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You've got a brand new Wear OS watch and you're looking for some apps to use on it. We get it, it can be a bit of a hassle to know where to start – especially if you're new to the ecosystem.

While the name has evolved over time from Android Wear to Wear OS, getting those apps onto your smartwatch hasn't.

To get apps on your wrist, you can either browse the Google Play Store on your phone or the web, or use the Play Store app on your smartwatch.

So whether you own a Fossil Q Explorist HR or Emporio Armani Connected, or are rocking a Fossil Sport or Skagen Falster 3, read on for the best apps for you.

7 Minutes Daily Weight Loss Home Workouts

7 Minutes Daily Weight Loss Home Workout

If you want to start exercising using guidance from your wrist, then this is one of the best Wear OS apps for the job. The interface is clear and friendly, even on a small screen, there's a good selection of activities to pick from, and the companion phone app does really well at logging all of your regular exercise over time.

Citymapper

Citymapper

Google Maps does a fine job already on Wear, but if you're in a part of the world that enjoys Citymapper coverage, this app is arguably even better for getting around via public transport. You can get live updates on buses, trains and trams, as well as precise directions right on your wrist. You need never be stuck at the wrong stop again.

Free, Download Citymapper app

Shazam

Best Wear apps: Essential downloads you need in your smartwatch life

Until Google builds a watch that automatically detects songs for you, you're still going to want to identify that catchy song in your local bar or Target. For that, there's no better option than Shazam on your wrist. You simply tap, wait, and enjoy your new addiction.

Free, Download Shazam app

Calm

Calm

One of the areas where the Apple Watch excels is in the relaxation exercises you can run from it, and with Calm you can get a similar sort of functionality on your Wear OS watch – though you do need to be a subscriber ($70 per year) to run meditations from your wrist. Calm stats can be viewed and synced for free.

Free, Calm

Google Maps

Google Maps

As we've already mentioned, Google has made sure its own apps have a high level of spit and polish on Wear OS, and Google Maps is no exception. You can get directions to places right on your wrist, as well as launch a new set of directions – complete with step-by-step instructions – without touching your phone.

Free, Download Google Maps

Read this: How to use Google Maps on Wear OS

Dark Sky

Dark Sky

There are plenty of weather apps out there for Android and Wear OS, but few are as impressive as Dark Sky, which specialises in smart forecasting for the next few hours. From detailed hyperlocal readings of current conditions to radar maps, it's packed with features – though a $3 per year subscription is required.

Free (subscription required), Dark Sky

Todoist

Todoist

Being able to tap off items on your to do list from your wrist is very satisfying, and Todoist makes it possible. The Wear OS app is polished, but sticks to the basics of letting you browse your lists and add new tasks when needed – it's really the accompanying Android app that makes Todoist stand out.

Free, Todoist

Outlook

Outlook

While it's fair to say you're not exactly going to be able to power through your inbox on a tiny smartwatch display, the Outlook app from Microsoft is one of the best smartwatch apps at keeping you up to date with incoming messages and upcoming calendar events – and it might even tempt you to switch over from Gmail.

Free, Outlook

UV Index Now

UV Index Now

As summer approaches, you'll be headed out for some fun in the sun. However, too much sun can be dangerous, so it's best to keep track of UV index. UV Index Now will do that for you, and it'll also give you advice based on your skin type, like telling you what time in the day to put on some sunscreen.

Free, Download UV Index Now

Google Keep

Google Keep

It's perhaps no surprise that Google has some fine apps for Wear OS, and near the top of that particular pile is Google Keep. The note-taking app finds the perfect balance between usefulness and simplicity – all your notes sync over swiftly from your phone, and you can create new notes and lists from your wrist.

Free, Download Google Keep

Foursquare City Guide

Foursquare City Guide

The overhauled Foursquare City Guide app on Wear OS is a delight to use, with easy navigation helping you find the best food, drink and activities in your local area. There are a handful of complications to choose from too, meaning you can get straight to the top coffee spots in the area with one easy tap.

Free, Download Foursquare app

Strava

Strava

Strava's app now works independently without your phone, if needed – for Wear OS devices with both built-in GPS and LTE, this means you can now track your runs and biking sessions sans smartphone. It also gives you another fitness platform to choose from besides the default Google Fit Workout app. It's one of the best fitness platforms out there – and an essential Wear OS app to download.

Free, Download Strava Running and Cycling GPS app

Wear Casts

Wear Casts

The first standalone podcast app for Wear OS, Wear Casts lets you download podcasts to, and stream from, the watch. The app will create playlists too, and let you know when the latest episodes of your favourite apps are available. You can finally go out and enjoy your podcasts without taking your phone along.

Free, Download Wear Casts app

App in the Air

App in the Air

If you're flying, you're not going to find a better assistant than App in the Air. It gives you all your flight information right there on your wrist, including real-time boarding and flight status. You'll also get airport tips and maps. Oh, and it works offline, and comes with its own Wear watch face. And yes, there's automatic check-in too.

Free, Download App in the Air app

Uber

Uber

The ride-hailing service is also a standalone app, so if you have LTE connectivity you won't even need to have it paired to a phone. The app lets you call a cab and check the status of your ride, although it doesn't have the full functionality of the smartphone app just yet.

Free, Download Uber app

Wear Audio Recorder

Best Wear OS apps: the smartwatch apps you need

If you're in a lecture or an interview, or someone is just spouting hilarious nonsense on the train, you can quickly record the sound around you using this app. It lets you sync to both Google Drive and Dropbox, and you can even record with the screen display off to save a bit of battery.

Free, Download Wear Audio Recorder app

Pulse SMS

Pulse SMS

The default Android Messages app has a Wear OS component, but if you need something different then Pulse SMS comes highly recommended: in fact, it lets you get at your texts from any device and through a web browser, if you're prepared to pay for the privilege. Subscriptions start at $0.99 a month, but a free trial is available.

Free (subscription required), Download Pulse SMS app

Facer Watch Faces

Facer Watch Faces

There are no end of watch faces to browse through on the Wear store, but that's not to say they're all good. Perhaps you want to make one of your own, in which case Facer is at hand with its excellent Wear face customiser app. And while you can build your own, Facer has partnered with watchmakers like MVMT to provide exclusive watch faces too.

Free, Download Facer Watch Faces app

Spotify

Spotify

The world's most famous streaming music service has made its way onto Wear at last, though it's not quite the full Spotify experience. You can't search, but you can browse through a list of your playlists and recently played songs/albums to play them again with a tap of the screen.

Free (subscription required), Download Spotify app

Glide

Glide

Glide's phone app wants to make sending and receiving video messages as basic as texting, and on the companion Wear OS app you can watch video and hear audio from your conversations. You can also send back audio if your smartwatch is one of those fully featured models rocking its own mic.

Free, Download Glide app

Lifesum

Lifesum

If you want to keep track of your food intake, it's hard to get anything better than Lifesum. You don't just get to track independently on your wrist, but you also get complication widgets for the watch face. Keeping tabs on those calories is now simpler and easier than ever before.

Free, Download Lifesum app

Telegram

Telegram

WhatsApp supports Wear but still doesn't have a standalone app, so if you're looking for something more functional, Telegram is a great choice. It offers a full messaging experience across your different devices, and works nicely on Wear – stickers included.

Free, Download Telegram app

IFTTT

IFTTT

IFTTT stands for 'If This Then That', and enables you to link apps together to create applets to perform certain actions – for example, IF your weather app says it's going to rain THEN tell your Philips Hue lights to turn blue. The IFTTT Wear app enables you to automate a host of tasks such as sending automated SMS messages by tapping your smartwatch.

Free, Download IFTTT app

Calculator for Wear OS

Calculator for Wear OS

Simple but useful, the Calculator for Wear app does exactly what it says on the tin, presenting you with a simple calculator for your wrist. The buttons are easy to hit, the colour scheme and layout are easy on the eye, and there are even scientific functions to make use of. You can control it using your voice as well.

Free, Calculator for Wear OS

Hole19

Hole19

Hole19 is one of the most comprehensive Android golf assistants and the Wear extension provides distance details for more than 34,000 courses around the world. The app itself is extremely in-depth, but as getting your phone out on the course is a big no-no, you'll be better off making use of the distance scoring features on your smartwatch.

Free, Download Hole 19 app

Bring! Shopping List

Bring! Shopping List

If you live with other people, or work with other people, and you ever need to coordinate buying things for the home or office, you know how frustrating it can be to create and share shopping lists. Bring! makes that easy, allowing you to easily create and share lists with family, friends and colleagues. It's also got a spiffy Wear app that'll let you see your lists with a beautiful interface.

Free, Download Bring! Shopping List

Sleep As Android

Best Wear apps: Essential downloads you need in your smartwatch life

We're big fans of Sleep As Android, which lets you monitor your sleep patterns just by placing your smartphone on your mattress at night. If you have a Wear watch then the app can give you even more data on how you're sleeping: activate the wearable option inside the phone app and you can then start sleep tracking from either device.

Free, Download Sleep As Android app

Cardiogram

Cardiogram

Once limited to Apple Watch, one of the most advanced heart rate apps out there has made its way to Wear. Using its DeepHeart AI, Cardiogram is able to track your heart rate and give you trends based on that information. In the future, that may involve the detection of dangerous conditions like atrial fibrillation and sleep apnea.

Free, Download Cardiogram app

Healthy Recipes

Healthy Recipes

You may rely on your phone or tablet to give you recipes while you're in the kitchen. That's great, but sometimes your hands are all messed from wet flour and eggs and you really don't want to get your gadget gunky. That's where Healthy Recipes for Wear OS comes in. You'll get step by step directions right on your wrist, and images are included.

Free, Download Healthy Recipes app