The Apple Watch is already an impressively capable device. But just like the iPhone, you can do even more with it by taking advantage of third-party apps available on the App Store.
A lot of third-party apps charge a recurring subscription to let you use them, but here are our favorite Apple Watch apps you can use for free. This list covers everything from Apple Watch web browsers to advanced heart monitors.
- 12 Ways to Fix When Your Apple Watch Is Unable to Install watchOS Updates
- Everything You Need to Know About Using the App Store on Your Apple Watch
- Can’t Install Apps on Your Apple Watch? How-to Fix
Due to its very small screen size, you won’t find many Internet browsers on your Apple Watch. Generally speaking, browsing the web on your wrist isn’t a great experience, but there are times when it’s more convenient than using your iPhone. For those times, you can use Parrity.
This Apple Watch web browser uses your iPhone to load websites in the background before rendering them for a smaller screen and sending them to your Apple Watch.
Scroll through a page with the Digital Crown, interact on elements with a tap, and enter a new web address using Siri or Scribble.
As you might expect, the experience is a little slow and jarring, but Parrity still offers an impressive way to view almost any website on your Apple Watch.
Download: Parrity (Free)
2. My Water
One of the easiest ways to lose weight and improve your health is to make sure you’re drinking enough water. But it’s easy to lose track of how much you’ve drunk throughout the day, or to forget to pour yourself that extra glass in order to meet your goals. That’s where My Water comes in.
This free app keeps track of your water intake throughout the day, letting you quickly add drinks or view your intake percentage from an Apple Watch complication. It’ll sync everything you drink with the Apple Health app, if you choose to let it.
My Water can track a wide range of drinks, from coffee to coca-cola, and works out the water percentage of each of them. It then compares that to your target amount—based on your gender, weight, and activity levels—to decide how much more you need to drink for the day.
With an optional premium subscription, you can edit the preset drinks into a different order or into different sizes. But My Water offers plenty of options to get going without a subscription.
Download: My Water (Free, subscription available)
Overcast is one of the most popular podcast players on iOS, and it comes with an equally exceptional Apple Watch app to use.
The Overcast Apple Watch app lets you stream any of your subscribed podcasts from your iPhone or download up to 20 episodes from a single playlist to listen to them offline.
Although there aren’t any spectacularly useful Overcast complications, you can control playback from the Now Playing app or the Overcast app itself, which lets you adjust the speed and read the entire show notes for whatever you’re listening to.
Overcast is free to use because it’s funded by ads, but you can eliminate adverts with a yearly subscription if you prefer.
Download: Overcast (Free, subscription available)
Apple introduced sleep tracking to the Apple Watch with watchOS 7, but third-party apps still do a much better job at breaking down your nocturnal habits.
With SleepWatch, you can get information about the times you went to sleep and woke up, how restful the sleep was, what your heart rate was doing while you slept, and how close you are to meeting your sleep goals.
This free Apple Watch links with the Health app on your iPhone to sync any sleep tracking data you’ve already collected. It also gathers information about your age, height, and weight to determine the best amount of sleep for you.
SleepWatch will automatically track your sleep, asking how refreshed you feel in the morning, to help you improve your sleep as much as possible.
A premium subscription gets you extra features, like the ability to set smart alarms on your watch. You also unlock sleep report cards and you can view correlations between sleep quality and changes in your lifestyle.
Download: SleepWatch (Free, subscription available)
Weathergraph is only available for the Apple Watch (though you can use an iPhone to download it) and presents the weather in a colorful, easy-to-read graph.
This graph shows different icons and lines to represent the cloud cover, precipitation, and temperature over time, flicking between a 12-hour and a 5-day view.
One of the best aspects of Weathergraph is the huge number of complications it offers—especially with a premium subscription—which let you adorn your Apple Watch face with all sorts of data about the current weather.
Many of these complications are available to use straight away with pre-made Apple Watch faces. This makes Weathergraph one of the best Apple Watch weather apps.
A premium subscription even unlocks Dark Sky forecasts, for improved accuracy in your location. Though the app is still definitely worth using without a subscription as well.
Download: Weathergraph (Free, subscription available)
6. Night Sky
Stargazing is even better with Night Sky on your wrist. This excellent app labels every star in the sky, pointing out constellations, satellites, and even planets.
With the Apple Watch app, you can lift your wrist to the sky to view Night Sky’s annotations beside the very stars themselves. As you angle your wrist, you can target different celestial objects to learn their names, then look them up in the iPhone app for more details.
Night Sky is available for free with extra features available as part of a premium subscription.
Download: Night Sky (Free, subscription available)
7. Nike Run Club
Although the Apple Workout app offers everything you need for most workouts, you can take your running a step further with Nike Run Club.
This app uses a bold, prominent design to show your distance, heart rate, and pace while you’re on a run. Then displays a minimalist map of your route when you finish up.
It’s easy to view all your recent runs in the app as well as starting a new run; you can even set a distance, duration, or speed goal for a new run.
If you need more help with motivation, Nike Run Club offers distance challenges, lots of community support, and even coaching plans.
From the Apple Watch, you can also start an audio-guided run to keep pushing you every step of the way.
Download: Nike Run Club (Free)
Nobody wants to sort through their entire inbox on an Apple watch, but Spark makes it easy to keep your messages organized and merely glance at their contents.
It splits your inbox into three sections, based on who your messages are from. So you can look at just the emails from an actual person if that’s what you prefer.
Then you can read an entire message, before choosing to Reply, Snooze, Archive, or Delete a message directly from your wrist.
Spark is one of the best and most popular email clients around, allowing you to add multiple email accounts to a single app. Best of all, it’s available to use absolutely free.
Download: Spark (Free)
9. Heart Analyzer
The Apple Watch is a fantastic tool for keeping track of your heart rate, and Heart Analyzer makes the experience even better.
This iPhone and Apple Watch app presents you with colorful charts representing all sorts of different data about your heart rate: BPM, resting average, maximum and minimums, blood oxygen saturation, variability, recovery, and more.
Chart your metrics across the past day, week, or month (with a premium purchase) to get a clear picture of what your heart’s doing at all times throughout the day.
You can also view a massive number of these metrics and charts as complications, to get a picture of your heart health with a quick glance.
Download: Heart Analyzer (Free, premium version available)
Get up to speed on all kinds of topics by reading Wikipedia entries on your Apple Watch. MiniWiki makes these (often exhaustive) entries easier to read by stripping out the links and images, leaving only the text.
This way, you can scan through an entry to get the gist of a topic in mere moments.
With MiniWiki, you can search for Wikipedia entries using Scribble or dictation, then save entries to your bookmarks for later reading. You can also check out random entries or take a look at the most-read entries right now.
If you’re expecting to lose your Internet connection (or you’re going to be without your iPhone for a while) you can also download entries directly to your Apple Watch for reading offline. Though you need to pay for the Pro version to unlock this feature.
Download: MiniWiki (Free, premium version available)
Which Third-Party Apps Do You Use?
All of these apps should be available to download and install on your Apple Watch for free. Some of them require a subscription or premium purchase to unlock extra features, but you can access all the basic functionalities for free.
The easiest way to install apps on your Apple Watch is to download the counterpart app on your iPhone, then the app should automatically appear on your watch as well.
Check out this guide if you’re having any trouble installing apps on your Apple Watch. And be sure to let us know all your favorite third-party apps in the comments!