8 ‘killer apps’ Apple Watch owners need

The best Apple Watch apps are immediate and essential

Apple, Apple Watch, iOS
Credit: Apple

I always say the future of the Apple Watch will be built one app at a time, one year on, what are the killer apps for the smartwatch?

Apple Pay

This is the app I use the most on Apple Watch. I use it to pay for public transport; to buy groceries; at almost every shop; when I’m eating out or when I’m having a quiet drink with friends. Apple Pay on Apple Watch has save me at least twice when I’ve forgotten to bring cash with me. I think it’s great. The convenience and ease-of-use makes this a go-to solution, though I would like supermarket loyalty cards to be built into the exchange in some way. If you don’t use Apple Pay on the Watch yet, you really should. (Free).


Another app that has stood the test of time is iTranslate. I’ve used this when traveling through Europe and I can’t stress how much help it has been. The app can translate what I say from English into over 90 other languages. All I need to do is record my words (tap the mic button) and then those words will be translated and displayed on the screen – but I tend to use the speaker button to make the Watch “speak” the translated message. Yes, it isn’t going to help me translate in depth conversation, but if I want to buy a meal, ask about something on the menu, or pick up product pricing or clothing sizes, it’s incredibly useful. (Free).


I can’t claim to be the most active man in the world. Partly this is because I spend way too much time in front of my Mac/iPad writing articles about technology, digital health and the need to exercise; and partly this is because I’m lazy and have you seen the cost of gym membership? All the same I get a lot out of Activity app, it tells me when I should stand up; the circles help me get a grip on just how unfit I’m becoming and the step counter – well, I do try to walk at least 10,000 steps each day. Apple’s really onto something with Watch as a fitness tracker, and as new features, sensors and interesting new ways of using this information are developed this will play an ever more important part in your day. (I also use BeatTune on my Watch to check my heart rate). (Free)


Despite not being as active as I want to be, I do try – and I’ve found Streaks to be a brilliant app to help improve how effectively I manage to build better habits. The principle is simple – think of just a few habits you want to improve and the app will provide you with a bunch of tools to help you build better habits. Want to walk more? Read more? Win more Apple Design Awards? (Streaks won one this year). Every time you complete a task your streak is recorded, and the app works with Apple’s Health app to help you track what you do and hopefully improve your habits. It’s a neat way to help you successfully make significant lifestyle changes. (Free)


I don’t do email using my Apple Watch, though as I have some VIP contacts and look out for notifications when new messages from them come through. I also take and make calls and handle messages using the Watch – I find calling particularly useful as the mic is good enough that I can continue working while I chat. Messaging is pretty good too – you can create your own canned responses and you can also dictate unique responses into the Watch. (In the system)


The Uber Apple Watch app is a great way to get a ride fast without needing to pull your iPhone out on an unfamiliar street. I imagine we’ll see similar apps appear from other such services, and fully expect London taxis will introduce their own take on this app – and why wouldn’t they want to compete? (free)


This app uses the motion tracking sensors in Apple Watch to monitor your sleep patterns, passing the data over to your iPhone where you’ll find the insights you need to help improve your sleep. (free)

Dark Sky

I still think Dark Sky on Apple Watch is absolutely the best up-to-the-minute weather app you’ll find. It offers lots of detail and a host of additional info with a single swipe. ($3.99)

I hope you’ve enjoyed this short collection – what are your favorite apps for Apple Watch?

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