Some of the best smartwatches run Wear OS , and there are loads of apps that add all sorts of handy capabilities. A great Wear OS app does more than just send notifications to your wrist — they entertain, track your fitness and health, help you to stay organized, and can indirectly save your phone’s battery life, as you’re checking your wrist rather than your phone’s display.
With all of that in mind, here are our picks of the best Wear OS apps. Most of these apps still rely on a partner app on your smartphone, but a few offer stand-alone functionality. Either way, they’re all must-haves for your Wear OS smartwatch.
- Best iPhone apps
- Best Android apps
- Best fitness trackers
Ajay Kumar/Digital Trends
Spotify is probably the biggest music streaming service in the world, and it recently announced that you can now play your favorite tunes directly from your wrist. Free users will be able to use their data connection to stream music (in Shuffle Mode) or podcasts as they go, but Premium subscribers will be able to download songs and albums directly to their smartwatches, forgoing the need for an internet connection and gaining the ability to listen outside of Shuffle Mode.
Why bother downloading Spotify onto your Wear OS device? It’s just a lot more flexible. Want to leave your smartphone at home while you jog? Track your exercise and play music while you go using just your smartwatch. Smartphone running out of battery? Let your smartwatch take the strain. Need to provide music at a party? Just use your smartwatch to connect to a Bluetooth speaker, and keep track of what’s playing from your wrist.
Google Pay is an extremely useful Wear OS app. You can simply put your watch close to the terminal and pay for your ticket, drink, or whatever, without having to fumble a wallet, purse, or phone out of your pocket. As long as your watch has NFC, it’s quick and easy to set up and use. New versions let you send or request money via the Send tab and you can just tap on any purchase to split a bill with up to five people. You can now store loyalty cards, offers, and tickets and boarding passes in the new Passes tab and manage the cards saved to your Google account.
Another useful Wear app you surely want on your wrist, and it’s reassuring to be able to check on your location with a glance, especially if you’re somewhere unfamiliar and you don’t want to be glued to your phone screen.
Google Maps on Wear OS can also give you turn-by-turn directions with time estimates if you tap on the location you want and then tap the option at the bottom of the screen. While the small watch display doesn’t have a lot of room for details, it does show directional arrows with street names when it’s time to make a turn, which can be very handy if you are jogging, riding a bike, or just exploring a new area on foot.
Wear Gesture Launcher
If you like to use a lot of apps on your smartwatch, then you’ll get sick of pressing the crown and tapping in through the menu. Most Wear OS smartwatches have some shortcut options, but only a couple of buttons, so this app can prove very useful. It allows you to tap on the right side of the screen and then draw a gesture to launch an app. You can add loads of different gestures and get to the apps you want much more quickly. You might decide that drawing an M on the screen should launch Google Maps, for example. New settings options enhance action confirmation delay and ensure better connectivity between Wear and mobile. A better overall experience includes an added tasker and mobile app support.
Bring! Grocery Shopping List
Clear and easy to use, Bring is the ideal shopping list app for your Wear OS watch. You can create groups of friends, family members, or colleagues and share shopping lists for different events. It’s easy to add products via clearly labeled icons, and you can even add your own photos. A fresh new design brings updated tools for more fun and efficient meal planning and grocery shopping.
Most games for smartwatches are an exercise in frustration because of the limited screen real estate, but Infinity Loop works beautifully on your wrist. It’s a simple, relaxing puzzle game that can kill a few minutes while you’re waiting at the bus stop or in line at the store. New versions added a new button Achievements.
If you’ve been dreaming of making video calls from your wrist since the emergence of the smartwatch, then Glide is an app you need to download. You need to install it on your paired phone as well, but once you do, you will be able to receive and watch video messages on your wrist. You can also send back audio, or even record video if your watch has a front-facing camera.
You can send voice or text messages, browse your chat history, or create group chats with this accessible instant-messaging app. It also supports emojis, stickers, and themes. New versions sport a newly redesigned attachment menu with animated icons while an updated sticker panel with more than 20,000 stickers from professional artists now available. The app also added explanations and timers for quiz questions.
Here’s an app for the health-conscious that tracks your food and water intake to help you achieve the right balance. Set your personal health goals and Lifesum will guide you to success with a personalized plan that includes exercise tips. Lifesum has been working on the diary to give you more insights into your health journey. Now there are more details, more graphs, more colors, and it shows what diet plan you’re on.
If you want an alternative to Google Fit, then Strava is well worth a look. It’s available on Wear OS 2.0 as a stand-alone app that can track your runs and other sports activities. If you’re cycling or running, it’s great to be able to leave your phone at home, but still record your progress.
Keep is easily one of the best note-taking apps. Designed for quick reminders and shopping lists, Keep is a Google note service that brings those same lists and information right to your wrist. Keep will sync across devices wherever you’re signed into your Google account. It’s an easy way to track your progress in the supermarket without constantly checking a smartphone or a handwritten list.
Facer Watch Faces
If you haven’t found the watch face of your desires in the watch faces that come with your Wear OS smartwatch, then you might want to check out this app, which is packed with more than 15,000 different options. You’ll find original designs, faces inspired by movies and TV shows, and lots more. You can even design your own watch face and share it. A new and improved Facer Picker is now accessible with three taps on your watch face and improved Daily Mix visuals, complete with sound, are now available.
The best podcasts are great company when you’re working out and this Wear OS app enables you to listen directly from your smartwatch. It can be set to automatically update your favorites with the latest episodes and only uses your phone to import podcasts, which means you can leave your phone at home and just take some Bluetooth earbuds and your watch out with you.
Missed the last train? No need to worry, because you can now book an Uber directly from your smartwatch. This is a stand-alone app for your Wear OS 2.0 smartwatch that allows you to order a ride, check driver progress, and get time estimates for your journey all from your wrist. There’s no need to use your phone at all.
Let’s be real, smartwatch app developers aren’t mind readers who know exactly what functions you need, so why not create your own with IFTTT? Short for the programming lingo, “If This Then That,” this app lets you create “recipes” that link two unrelated apps to create an action. For example, you can tell your new app to send a copy of every photo you take with your phone to your Android smartwatch.
Running out of space on your keychain due to the many loyalty and membership cards you accumulate? Stocard not only lets you digitize all those cards so they’re accessible in a single mobile app — it even works with your Wear OS watch to display them. This means you just need to let the cashier scan your watch, instead of physical cards or your smartphone, to collect your rewards. New versions feature an overhauled Offers section with added Card Assistant support for passes, and a dedicated scanning screen for easy checkout.
Here is a new incentive to use the latest version of Google Slides for your presentations: You can now use your Wear OS smartwatch to remotely control your slides. The only catch is that you need to first “cast” your slides to a Chromecast-enabled display, or present them in a video call, before your watch will transform into a slick presentation remote.
Start planning for your hot date tonight by swiping right or left through Tinder — on your wrist. With one of the best dating apps around bringing its features to Wear OS, you can now check out potential dates in your area, see notifications on new matches, and respond to their messages, right from your watch. Just to make it extra easy to access the app, you can even use your voice to tell Google to open Tinder on your smartwatch. While it may seem odd to use a dating app on your watch, it can be useful for getting updates on conversations or those who are trying to match with you, even if you can’t be near your phone at the moment.
Medisafe Meds and Pill Reminder
Everyone can use a gentle reminder to take their meds, whether you’re taking vitamins or caring for someone with a strict pill schedule. You’ll need to spend a bit of time entering every pill — including its color and shape — into the mobile app the first time you open it, but it’ll be well worth it when your watch buzzes and notifies you of the exact pill and dosage you need to take. No more excuses for forgetting, or taking the wrong meds. This new version now encourages social distancing due to coronavirus alongside full access pharmacy delivery services. Just order your meds through the app and get free delivery.
Don’t miss the opportunity to identify a song simply because you couldn’t whip out your smartphone fast enough. Shazam fully supports Wear OS, so you only need to hold up your wrist to Shazam a song. Your smartwatch will even showcase the lyrics, so you can sing along to your favorite tune without missing a beat.
Wear Audio Recorder
If you’ve ever had to keep track of a conversation, or just needed to give yourself a verbal note, then you’ve probably thought about digging out your smartphone to make an audio recording. Now, Wear Audio Recorder brings that very functionality to your wrist. With the app, you can quickly record and save audio messages, whether it’s a reminder to buy milk later or an important conversation that you need to record. Either way, it’s a simple tool for your smartwatch’s arsenal.
Water Drink Reminder
Despite the many benefits of drinking plenty of water each day — clearer skin and weight loss among them — most of us just aren’t downing enough H2O. That’s where the Water Drink Reminder app comes in. The app knows how much you need to drink at regular intervals throughout the day because it calculates your ideal intake amount based on your weight, day length, and cup size. When it’s time for more water, your watch will provide you with a gentle reminder.
GrubHub offers an easy way to grab a meal. It features a list of local restaurants that support pickup or delivery to your home. Aside from restaurant delivery service, GrubHub provides food ordering options, local deals and specials, and restaurant ratings and reviews. Perks, GrubHub’s newest feature, helps you find all the delivery deals and exclusive rewards.
Sleep as Android
Sleep as Android is an extension of the same, remarkable sleeping technology in the regular Sleep as Android app. Just as the original version uses your phone to track your noise and movement as you sleep, Sleep as Android for your smartwatch allows you to track sleeping patterns without leaving your smartphone on the bed. That way, you can keep your device charging while your Android smartwatch serves as a sleep monitor for the smartphone’s tracking technology.
In fact, thanks to the use of multiple smartwatch sensors like accelerometers and heartbeat sensors, this is one of the best ways to get accurate information on sleep patterns. You just need to keep your phone by your bed, and the app will do the rest!
With its fresh design, Foursquare Swarm offers one of the most simple and convenient ways to find great places to eat, drink, and have a good time in whatever city you’re visiting. The location-based app is part social network, part directory. It also allows you to see where your friends are so that you can easily make plans.
You don’t have to keep your phone nearby to use Foursquare Swarm— which affords you the chance to browse options discreetly from your wrist wherever you are. Search for items using different filters and categories to help nail down the perfect spot. It’s a straightforward way of searching for a location, especially when your alternative option is firing up a map app on your smartphone. Try out Foursquare Swarm for a simple user interface that’s accessible right from your wrist.
We will point out; You don’t have to pick one app over the other. Most people find that they receive the biggest benefits from using both Foursquare and Swarm, depending on what they’re looking for.