Some of the best smartwatches around run Wear OS (formerly known as Android Wear), and there are loads of apps that add all sorts of handy capabilities. These apps do more than just bring notifications to your wrist — they can entertain you, track your fitness and health, and help you to stay organized.
So, 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 watch.
One of the most useful apps to have on your wrist is Google Pay. You can simply put your watch close to the terminal and pay for your ticket, drink, or whatever else you’re buying 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 Google Pay.
This is an 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.
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 indeed. 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.
Bring! Grocery Shopping List
Incredibly 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.
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.
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 that was updated for Android Wear 2.0. It also supports emojis, stickers, and themes.
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.
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 sporty 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 out there. 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’re not in love with 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.
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.
If by IFTTT
Let’s be real, app developers aren’t mind readers who know exactly what functions you need, so why not create your own with IF by 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 little 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 or access your gym.
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 on 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.
Medisafe Meds and Pill Reminder
Everyone can use a gentle reminder to take their medication, 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!
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 new anthem 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, weight loss, etc. — 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 actually 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.
Eat24 is an easy way to grab some food. It offers up a list of local restaurants that support pickup or delivery to your home. In case you’re feeling especially lazy while making an order or waiting for your Eat24 order to arrive, there’s now an app to help simplify the process. You can look at recent orders, and get notifications on your deliveries and other information at a glance from the app.
Sleep as Android
Sleep as Android is an extension of the same, awesome sleeping technology in the regular Sleep as Android app. Just as the original app 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 smartphone charging while your Android smartwatch serves as a sleep monitor for the smartphone’s tracking technology.
If you use two-factor authentication for your Google account, then Authenticator Plus is a must-have. This app keeps a copy of your two-factor keys right on your smartwatch and is linked through the Authenticator Plus app on your smartphone. This means you can get two-factor authentication codes without even taking out your smartphone — you can just glance at your watch discretely and easily. Your codes will be always in reach, and with two-factor authentication, your accounts will remain safer than ever.
Foursquare City Guide
With a fresh design for Android Wear 2.0, the Foursquare app is one of the easiest ways to find great places to eat, drink, and be merry in the city you’re in. It works without your phone, and you can filter by all sorts of different categories to find the exact spot you want.
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