Thanks to Android Wear 2.0, downloading the best apps can transform your smartwatch experience. Your Android Wear smartwatch will be able to take you away from your smartphone and generally make your life that little bit easier.
Still, some Wear apps that sound promising just don't cut it once downloaded. So to save you time, we've rounded up the ones we think are worth your time. With Android Wear 2.0 around and growing by the day, we're starting off with the apps that have been enhanced for the new OS, often adding features that let them better stand alone from your smartphone.
Essential reading: Best smartwatch 2018
Many still have Wear 1.0 versions, but you won't benefit from the enhancements of their native-running updates.
The overhauled Foursquare app on Android Wear 2.0 is a delight to use, with easy navigation helping you find the best food, drink and activities in your local area. There's 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
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 yes, there's automatic check-in.
Strava has given its app an update for Android Wear 2.0, letting it work on the watch independently. For devices like the LG Watch Sport, which include 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's Fit app.
The first standalone podcast app for Android Wear, 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 favorite apps are available.
Free, Download Wear Casts app
The ride-hailing service is available for Android Wear 2.0 as 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.
Free, Download Uber app
Facer Watch Faces
There's no end of watch faces to browse through on the Android 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 Android Wear face customizer app. And while you can build your own, Facer has also partnered with watchmakers like MVMT to provide exclusive watch faces too.
The world's most famous streaming music service has made its way onto Android 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.
Even on Wear 2.0 you'll still need the phone app to get Nest working, but once they're paired you can use your watch to control your home heating (assuming you do, in fact, have a Nest thermostat of course). So what makes it better on Wear 2.0? Rotational input, friends. Assuming your watch has a digital crown like the LG Watch Sport and Style, you'll be able to use it to adjust the temperature. It's the little things, eh?
Free, Download Nest app
Glide's phone app wants to make sending and receiving video messages as basic as texting, and on the Android Wear app, enhanced for Wear 2.0, you can watch video and hear audio from your conversations. You can also send back audio if your watch is rocking a mic like the LG Watch Sport's.
Free, Download Glide app
If you want to keep track of your food intake, Lifesum gets even more handy on Android Wear 2.0 as 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 more simple.
Free, Download Lifesum app
WhatsApp supports Android 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 Android Wear - stickers included.
Free, Download Telegram app
Despite the small screen size and limited input options offered by Android Wear devices, there are some pretty neat games for Google-powered smartwatches, including PaperCraft. The game is set in space but your ship is made of paper and so are all the bad guys you have to blast your way through. A lot of fun if you've got a bit of time to fill.
Free, Download PaperCraft app
There are several music player options for Android Wear but we like CloudPlayer because it comes with a fantastic Android app as well. You can use it offline or with OneDrive, Dropbox and Google Drive, and it essentially lets you build your own personal Spotify with your own MP3 files. The Android Wear app gives you instant control from your wrist.
Free, Download CloudPlayer app
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 IF Android Wear app enables you to automate a host of tasks such as sending automated SMS messages by tapping your smartwatch.
Free, Download IFTTT app
Your wristwatch might not be the ideal device for getting through large chunks of reading but if you do have to browse through an article or two then Wear Reader is the perfect option, giving you the ability to read ePub, PDF, Word and plain text documents one word at a time. You can set your own word rate and there's a handy night mode available too.
Free, Download Wear Reader app
Hole19 is one of the most comprehensive Android golf assistants and the Android 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
If wanting to be able to send SMS messages is high on your list of 'tasks I need to be able to do on my smartwatch' then Wear Messenger is well worth considering and offers a useful alternative to Google's own app. It comes with several keyboard options, voice input, customisable alerts and the option to send quick responses to your contacts.
$1.98, Download Wear Messenger app
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 now 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 Android Wear app that'll let you see your lists with a beautiful interface.
Out of the many fitness tracking apps that work with Android Wear, RunKeeper is one of the best options for tracking the miles you're putting in around the park. It's the app's comprehensiveness that's most impressive – it monitors pace, distance, elevation and calories burned, and works with your walks and cycling trips as well as your runs. And now, with Wear 2.0, it can work without your phone to make use of the watch's GPS.
Free, Download RunKeeper app
A no brainer: the popular notes and reminders app (which you probably have on your phone already) has been reworked to give you glanceable info on your Android Wear watch. Everything is clean and simple with some full background images, but otherwise it's just checking off to-dos with taps and adding new reminders with voice control.
Wear Audio Recorder
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.
Wrist-based computing lends itself to quick, uncomplicated actions – such as checking off items on a to-do list, for example. Enter the aptly named Todoist, already a well-respected app for smartphones and the web, which makes the switch to Android Wear seamlessly, enabling you to bring up and clear your list of current tasks with a few taps of your finger.
Free, Download Todoist app
If you're looking for something akin to the relaxation exercises available on the Apple Watch, then Calm could be the Android Wear app you're looking for: it helps you to meditate, relax and even sleep more soundly, and you can choose between different times and sessions for the exercises (anything from two minutes to a 21-day course).
Free, Download Calm app
Sleep As Android
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 an Android 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.
Aeris Wear Weather
One of the best weather apps we've seen for Android Wear is Aeris Wear Weather. It brings with it a choice of classy weather widget options, a live satellite view, short-term and long-term forecasts, severe weather warnings and more, right on your wrist. The main Android app is very useful as well, although some features do require an in-app purchase.
Google Maps does a fine job already on Android 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
This simply turns your smartwatch into a viewfinder for the camera app on your smartphone, so you can set up your phone for a selfie and then use your Android Wear screen to check you're in shot. You can also access features like the flash settings, self-timer and zoom, and there's also the option to take the shot from your wrist.
$1.99, Download PixtoCam app
Until Google builds a Pixel 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
Once limited to Apple Watch, one of the most advanced heart rate apps out there has made its way to Android 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
Shop for recommended Android Wear watches on Amazon
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