So 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.
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. We've explained how to install apps in the link below.
Essential reading: How to install apps on your Wear OS smartwatch
We also need to talk about Wear OS 3.0, which is the latest update of Google's smartwatch operating system and is arguably the biggest update to the platform. It's been built by Google and Samsung and part of that work involves rebuilding some well-known apps for smartwatches that will can run on Wear OS 3.0. Currently, that's just the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, but the likes of the TicWatch Pro 3, Fossil Gen 6 and TicWatch E3 will also be able to download and install them.
Whether you've got a smartwatch that runs Wear OS 2.0 or Wear OS 3.0, we've picked out the apps we think you need in your life and let you know which ones have been given the latest Wear OS treatment.
- Check out our full guide to Wear OS.
7 Minutes Daily Weight Loss Home Workouts
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.
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
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, enjoy your new addiction and even sing along with the lyrics
Free, Download Shazam app
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 to download (subscription required), Calm
Phone & Watch Battery Monitor
This is just a really useful app to have at your disposal. Especially when you've got such short battery life to play with. It offers a way to closely keep tabs on battery drain, giving you a better sense of what features are hitting it the hardest. It will also give an idea of how long the battery is going to last you, so you know when to hover close to the charger and the latest version now also lets you view charging status of your smartwatch from your phone.
Swirl Launcher for Wear
If you're not a fan of the launcher that Google offers as standard on its Wear watches, this standalone offers an alternative that blows it up to fill your screen sends those icons swirling around your screen. You can tap to stop them in their tracks and select when you're ready to start using them. It's a bit of fun and it's free to use, which is always a bonus.
Sometimes the apps with the simplest features are the ones that you end up loving the most. This calendar app definitely fits that criteria. Optimised for both square and round watches, you can view your month for free and will have to pay to delve into individual days and see more details of your big appointments. It's now also added the option of a dark theme and while there's a lot of calendar apps for Wear OS, this is the one we think stands out for the right reasons.
Wear Audio Recorder
If you're Wear OS smartwatch is packing a microphone, Wear Audio Recorder lets you put it to work outside of chatting with Google Assistant. There's options to adjust the quality of the audio recording and will work when the screen goes to sleep and uses a nice big user interface that's easy to hit record and stop when you're done.
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.
If you've got a Wear OS 3.0-friendly smartwatch, there is a rebuilt Google Maps app, which will give you access to a dark mode, offer the ability to start navigation from the watch and looking for a new destination to navigate to via voice or text.
Free, Download Google Maps
Read this: How to use Google Maps on Wear OS
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, Download Todoist
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, Download Outlook
UV Index Now
If you're heading out for some fun in the sun, this really handy app will help make sure you stay safe in those rays. It offers forecasts for UV index in your current location and gives you advice based on your skin type, like telling you what time in the day to put on some sunscreen. Plus, you can set up UV Index alarms to make sure you're not staying out too long soaking up the sunshine.
Free, Download UV Index Now
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
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's app 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.
Google does offer a Strava Wear OS 3.0 app, which along with a user interface tidy, will let you track activities including hikes, run and even E-bike rides with support for audio cues and turning on auto pause for runs and cycling sessions.
If Google's Workout app doesn't cut it for you (it probably won't), then you can try out Strava instead.
A 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 - Trip Planner
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.
Uber - Request a ride
The ride-hailing service is also a standalone Wear OS app, so if you have LTE connectivity on your smartwatch, you won't even need to have it paired to a phone to put it to good use. 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. What is here though, works well enough to make it a worthy addition your Wear watch.
Free, Download Uber app
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 a month, but a free trial is available.
Free (subscription required), Download Pulse SMS app
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. If you own a Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, then you'll also be able to get in on the watch face collection action.
The world's most famous streaming music service has finally added the ability to store playlists for offline use, as long as you have a Spotify Premium account and that functionality is available on the Wear OS 2.0 and the Wear OS 3.0 versions of the app. On top of that offline playlist support, you also get served up controls for wherever your music is playing and discover something new to listen too.
Free (subscription required), Download Spotify app
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 microphone.
Free, Download Glide app
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. This one is also available for Wear OS 3.0 compatible smartwatches, offering a revamped look with dedicated screens to track your key food tracking stats.
Free, Download Lifesum app
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 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
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
Standalone Golf GPS by Hole19
Hole19 is one of the most comprehensive Android golf assistants and the Wear extension provides distance details for more than 40,000 courses around the world. The app itself is extremely in-depth now comes in standalone form to use your watch GPS to work your distances. You can also sync over golf courses, when signal on your connected phone is a sketchy..
Bring! Grocery 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.
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 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.
Cardiogram: Heart Rate Monitor
Once limited to Apple Watch, one of the most advanced heart rate apps out there has made its way to Wear and has started to be preloaded onto a lot of new Wear OS watches. Using its DeepHeart AI, Cardiogram is able to track your heart rate and give you trends based on that information. For Wear OS, you can view heart rate variability measurements during workouts and take control of how frequent you heart rate is measured, if you're worried about more frequent monitoring hitting your smartwatch battery hard.
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.
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