I love my Apple Watch without shame. It keeps me off my phone when I don’t really need to be on it, while still keeping me up to date. That’s because of the Watch-unique apps I have installed, which range from utility and habit-tracking apps to just plain fun distractors.
There are plenty of options out there when it comes to Apple Watch apps, but here are five of my (and the internet’s) favorites.
Personally, I’m a huge yoga fan. It’s a great, low-stakes way to get my body moving, but I’m definitely not an expert. Start With Yoga comes highly recommended by Tech Radar for beginners like me. The Watch-optimized display and vibration alert for pose changes helps you stay away from your phone while getting the instruction you need. The app comes with five pre-loaded routines and the ability to craft your own on the paired iPhone app, without some of the more advanced poses you might see in other yoga courses. (Like I said, it’s perfect for beginners.) And the latest update sends your workout data to Apple Health, which is useful for overall health tracking.
2. Headspace (Free, in-app purchases)
If I didn’t have Headspace, I would have a much harder time falling asleep at night. The Apple Watch app is also really useful during the day as a reminder to take mindful breaks. It’s not as full-fledged as the phone app, but I like that it has smaller, more manageable breathing exercises; meditation practices; and even little walking routines to break up the workday. I get a little anxious if I’m away from my computer for too long because I feel like I’ll miss something important, but these bite-sized practices give me a much-needed break without taking up too much time. I do think the paid access, which costs $12.99 a month, gives you the best content, but the free version lets you try it out before you fully commit.
This one doesn’t change my everyday routine so much as enhance it. If you’re into planets and stars, or just even vaguely think they’re cool, this app is awesome. I don’t know much about astronomy myself, but I don’t need to: Night Sky has a feature that identifies what’s worth looking at. Just point your Watch at the sky, and it will tell you what constellations and planets are up there. You can even set up notifications for future astronomical events, like eclipses or space station flyovers.
I know, it sounds dumb to get a separate, paid-for weather app when Apple devices already have built-in weather apps. But if you’re someone whose life is fairly affected by the weather —maybe you need to adjust your outfit to rain or snow daily? — Carrot Weather might be more accurate, and it’s definitely more fun. According to MacWorld, the app takes forecast data from several places, like Weather Underground and Dark Sky, and can give you things like real-time precipitation warnings. On top of that, the app is kinda sassy. It delivers your info in an evil robot voice, displaying notifications in your Watch with useful but snarky phrases like, “I hope you like sunburns” on a hot day. I didn’t know I wanted my weather to be a little mean to me, but sign me up, please.
A lot of us aren’t exactly commuting to offices right now, but plenty of us do still take public transportation. And if we ever make it back to the office, this app will be even more relevant. Citymapper is obviously geared toward major cities, so if you’re a suburbanite, this isn’t for you. The app grabs public data feeds from city transportation agencies to tell you when trains and busses are coming, which train or bus you should transfer to, and where to go once you get off, all displayed on your wrist. I hate holding my phone out and looking lost, so this more discreet method is really appealing to me. The app works in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, and Houston, to name just a few.