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The 5 best Apple Watch apps: Upgrade your watch experience

What is the best Apple Watch app? ZDNet researched and compared several apps and determined Apple's own Wallet app is a must-have app for your watch. It's free and keeps both money and tickets available at just the touch of a button.
lena-borrelli-author.jpg
Written by Lena Borrelli, Contributing Writer on
Reviewed by Elyse Betters Picaro

There are a ton of options out there for the best Apple Watch app, which is why we searched the App Store to find the best ones. From gaming to meditation, there is something for everyone.

These are the best Apple Watch apps to simplify your life and bring peace and enjoyment to you every day.

Apple Wallet app review | Best Apple Watch app

Cost: Free

The Wallet app is an easy way to keep your money available at just the touch of a finger. You can use a variety of funds, like Apple Cash and the Apple Card. You can even store your transit cards. It is a simple matter to add and remove cards, but the app is not just for your credit card and banking details. You can also store your driver's license or ID, digital keys, and even employee badges to save you those precious minutes when you are running late. If you are a student, you can easily access your student ID cards. When you have a trip coming up, store your boarding passes, hotel booking information, and tickets in the app. You can also store the information for your best rewards credit cards, giving you another simple way to earn. 

Pros:

  • Free to use
  • Easy financial management
  • Quick access to tickets 

Cons:

  • Some trouble with face recognition
  • Has had cyber hacking issues
Audible review | Best Apple Watch app

Cost: Free; in-app purchases apply

Audible takes the standard reading app and elevates it, adding audiobooks to the mix. If you are not much of a reader or simply cannot wait to hear that next chapter, an audiobook could be the perfect solution. In addition to your standard titles, Audible has its own Audible Originals, further ensuring that there is plenty of content for you to read and hear. It is not just about audiobooks, either. You will also have access to podcasts, some exclusive to the platform, plus short stories read aloud to keep you on the edge of your seat. If you want to finish your book when you get home, Audible is compatible with a number of devices, including iPhone, iPod touch, Kindle, Sonos, and Fire TV. 

Pros:

  • Free to download
  • Easy reading on the go
  • 24/7 support

Cons:

  • May not have all titles
  • Will need to pay for some content
Headspace review | Best Apple Watch app

Cost: Headspace requires a membership that costs $69.99 for the year with a 14-day trial. You can also opt for a monthly plan for $12.99 per month with a seven-day free trial. Student and family memberships are also available.

Millions of users subscribe to Headspace, our pick for the best Apple Watch meditation app. In fact, Headspace claims to have reduced stress in users within just 10 days. Choose from multiple settings, including sleeping, meditating, moving, waking up, and focus mode. For better sleep, there are specially curated audio soundtracks, sleep exercises, and sleepcasts, all designed to improve your sleep. There is plenty to do during the day, too. Meditations help you find calm throughout the day, plus there are workouts to get the heart pumping, then meditations to help you find calm. If you need a quick mental boost, check out the inspiration videos available at any time. One special feature is that this is an app sensitive to pronouns, specializing in inclusive language so as not to isolate any user.  

Pros:

  • Excellent meditation resources 
  • Mindfulness and sleep tools
  • Inclusive language

Cons:

  • Requires membership
  • May be limiting for some users
Nike Run Club review | Best Apple Watch app

Cost: Free; in-app purchases apply

Nike Run Club is an excellent app for running, giving you an extra exercise boost. You will enjoy your own built-in coach to keep you on the move and keep you company while you reach those new fitness goals. It also tracks your stats so you can see your progress. You can view your pace and distance while viewing details like location, elevation, and mile splits. It will even track your heart rate, giving a well-rounded portrait of each workout. After your run, you can go back and see exactly how far you progressed in your workout. Nike Run Club also gives you wellness tips so you can begin living a healthier life. Connect with local friends and other runners to challenge one another or simply find support.  

Pros:

  • Fantastic fitness tracking
  • NRC and Spotify integration
  • Some features free

Cons:

  • Subject to occasional glitches
  • Some measurement irregularities
Tiny Armies review | Best Apple Watch app

Cost: $0.99

Unlike most games, Tiny Armies is made specifically for your Apple Watch, making it our pick for the best game for Apple Watch. It is a fast-paced game to keep you completely tuned in, allowing you to simply swipe to annihilate the enemy. There is vivid scenery along the way, too, like steep mountains and lush forests. Connect with international friends via iMessage or play face-to-face while hanging out with your bestie. Don't worry if your friends are not available to play; there is the option to play solo, as well, putting the power in your hands. If you want a bigger screen, you can continue the fun on your iPhone, iPad, or via iMessage. 

Pros:

  • Specially formatted for the Apple Watch
  • Exciting game features
  • Free to download

Cons:

  • May be troublesome for big fingers
  • In-app purchases apply

What is the best Apple Watch app?

The best Apple Watch app is the free Wallet app, conveniently built into the Watch when you buy. It does one of the most important things you need in life - managing and organizing your finances so your debit and credit cards are just a touch away. Plus, there is easy access to all of your transit cards and IDs for easy access. However, there are many apps available, including our other picks for the best Apple Watch app.

Apple Watch app

Best for

Cost

Apple Wallet

Finances, tickets, transit cards, employee badges

$0

Audible

Reading, books

$0  (in-app purchases apply)

Headspace

Meditation, better sleep

$69.99/year

$12.99/month

Nike Run Club

Fitness, workout tools

$0  (in-app purchases apply)

Tiny Armies

Game, entertainment, fun

$0.99

Which Apple Watch app is right for you?

To help you find the best Apple Watch app for you, we offer our expert recommendations based on each app.

Choose this Apple Watch app...

If you...

Apple Wallet

Want to keep your finances in order

Audible

Like reading on the go

Headspace

Want to bring calm to your life

Nike Run Club

Want to turn your Apple Watch into your personal trainer

Tiny Armies

Want a game designed exactly for your Apple Watch

How did we choose these Apple Watch apps?

There are several considerations we make when searching for the best Apple Watch apps. These are some factors you should consider.

  • Features: Apple Watch apps come jam-packed full of features, like exercise tracking with Nike Run Club and game stats with Tiny Armies.  
  • Cost: Budget is always a concern, so we look for affordable apps that will not break the bank. Many of the best Apple Watch apps are free. 
  • Compatibility: It is also important to consider how you can access the app. While all of the best Apple Watch apps are available on your watch, many are also available on your other Apple or home devices.
  • User rating: We consider app ratings to determine user experience, while evaluating the pros and cons shared by real users.

What is an Apple Watch app?

An Apple Watch app is a program you can download and run on your Apple Watch.

How much does the best Apple Watch app cost?

The best Apple Watch app is free, charging nothing to download and use the app. 

Are there alternative Apple Watch apps to consider?

Below are some honorable mentions.

To continue the fun, consider our picks for the best gaming TV, the best gaming PC, and the best gaming monitor

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