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The best Wear OS apps for your smartwatch
For the longest time, Wear OS was considered an inferior platform in the wearable world. But thanks to a recent resurgence fueled by Google and Samsung’s efforts, it’s well worth a look. When looking at the best smartwatches, it’s clear that the OS is an ever-improving alternative to the Apple Watch platform. It still has a lot of work ahead of it, but there are plenty of apps available right now. To help you fill out your wearable experience, we’ve rounded up the best Wear OS apps for your wrist.
The best Wear OS apps
- AccuWeather is the best weather app on Wear OS. You get all the data you’ll need right on your wrist, from alerts to current conditions and forecasts.
- Bring Grocery Shopping List is a great grocery list app that helps you keep tabs on multiple products across several shopping lists using a card and tile aesthetic.
- Facer has a dizzying number of watch faces available. It’s a must-have app if you’re never quite satisfied with your device’s dial.
- Fat Finger Scribble Calculator is an incredibly effective calculator for Wear OS that lets you quickly perform simple mathematics equations by drawing on your watch’s screen.
- Google Keep is the first app you should consider installing if syncing notes across your watch and smartphone is important.
- Google Home is fairly basic at present, but it does let you command and control various smart home equipment from your wrist.
- Google Maps is an indispensable mapping app and the best you can get on Wear OS, especially for inner-city navigation on foot.
- Google Messages lets you read and reply to messages on your Wear OS device.
- NavMusic is an excellent offline music playback app for Wear OS that lets you upload your music to your watch and listen to it through Bluetooth headphones.
- Outdooractive is a great guide app for those seeking nearby hikes or navigating trails.
- Runkeeper is another stellar Wear OS app for those living active lifestyles. You can track runs, walks, cycles, and more from your wrist.
- Simple Wear is a useful little app for controlling settings and opening apps on your phone from your wrist.
- Wear Casts lets you subscribe to, download, and play podcasts directly from the watch.
Price: Free / Up to $2.99
- Excellent weather app with basic info
- Also includes weather alerts for US residents
AccuWeather was one of the first weather apps with Wear OS support. The app handles all the basics, including current temperature, forecast, radar, weather alerts (US only), and smaller stats like humidity, wind speed, etc. It works well on both Wear OS and your mobile device. There aren’t a lot of downsides. Note that the free version has advertising, but you can pay for the pro version to remove it. Otherwise, both versions are basically the same.
Bring Grocery Shopping List
- A grocery shopping app with an excellent design
- Create multiple shopping lists
Bring is a shopping list app. The app comes with a good design, plenty of options, and Wear OS support. You can make separate lists for separate activities. In addition, it uses a card and tile layout. It feels fresher than most other grocery app lists. There are plenty of note-taking apps on Wear OS, but this one is very charming. It’s also free to download with no in-app purchases or ads. Google Keep is another great app for this kind of stuff, or if you need a more general note-taking app.
Price: Free / Varies
- Loads of watch faces at your fingertips
- Free options and premium faces
Facer is one of those apps frequent customizers will love. It features a plethora of watch faces to install and caters to those who want premium and free dials. Users can also tinker and create their own watch face if inclined. Facer partners with several other companies and brands to make bespoke and limited edition faces, calling back to your favorite show or options from established designers The app can be overwhelming at first, but it’s well worth grabbing for its remarkable list of choices.
Fat Finger Scribble Calculator
- Perform basic arithmetic by drawing on your screen
- More advanced equations, like square root, also available
We tested quite a few Wear OS calculator apps and, to be perfectly honest, few were any good. Fat Finger is an exception. It’s a simple calculator where you draw the numbers you want to work with. The app works with simple arithmetic and some slightly advanced stuff like square roots. That’s about all it can do for now, but the developer seems to have more complex stuff on their task list for future updates. It’s fun, it works, and it’s not too expensive.
- Essential for Google stalwarts who frequently note
- Your entire list of notes available on your watch
Google Keep is one of those Google apps you should definitely have on your Wear OS watch. Depending on your device, it may already be installed. But if it isn’t, we recommend grabbing it. You’ll gain access to all your notes, be it a shopping list, contact details, or a book you’re planning to purchase. Keep is also free and integrates well into the new Wear OS interface.
- A must-have app for smart home users
- Control your thermostat, smart lights, and more from your wrist
Google Home is a recent addition to Google’s wearable app bouquet. As a result, the app remains a little thin on features. Nevertheless, what it does have is worth adding to your Wear OLikest like the phone app, users can control devices in their smart home, be they thermostats, smart lights, or smart speakers. We expect this app to pack on features in the future, so expect it to get more comprehensive in the coming months.
- A free, reliable mapping app
- App includes directions, local business information, and more on your wrist
- Great for navigating areas on foot (even without your phone)
Google Maps is another easy pick for the best Wear OS apps. It’s probably the best navigation app on the platform and definitely the best navigation app on a smartwatch platform. You’ll find most of the same features as the smartphone version; that includes directions, local business information, and a lot more. Admittedly, it’s a little difficult to follow directions on your wrist while driving. We encourage our readers to exercise the utmost caution while using this app on the road. We have no doubt it’ll continue to improve both in general and on Wear OS.
- Receive and respond to messages from your wrist
- Quickly send messages to saved contacts while on the run
Google Messages is our final recommended Google app. Again, it might be baked into your device when you get it, but it’s also an excellent replacement for the messaging app on some devices like the Galaxy Watch 4. It’s effectively a mirror of the Messages app on your phone that lets you read and reply to messages. You can also start a new message if required or send a voice message if your hands are tied. This makes it endlessly useful for those who are constantly running errands.
- NavMusic lets you listen to music stored on your watch
- An excellent alternative for those with big music libraries
- Includes controls for sorting and searching
NavMusic is an excellent local music player for Wear OS. It lets you download music straight to your Wear OS device and stream it to Bluetooth headphones offline from the Internet. It has controls for play, pause, skip, and seek, support for Bluetooth controls, playlist support, sorting, and search functionality. It won’t blow your socks off, and it’s not super in-depth like some Android music players, but it’s definitely more than enough to jam out with your wrist.
Price: Free / ~$2.88 per month / ~€5.76 per month
- Find and download hiking routes from your watch
- Features turn-by-turn notifications when out on the trail
- Includes a nearby route finder
Outdooractive is an app for those who trade their office for dusty trails on the weekend. The app lets hikers (and trail runners) search for and download maps of various routes around them. Once on the trail, the app includes useful turn-by-turn navigation, duration, distance counters, and an elevation meter. You can also view your exact location, just in case you get into trouble.
Price: Free / $9.99 per month / $39.99 per year
- Excellent fitness app for multisport enthusiasts
- Allows users to set fitness goals and monitor them
Runkeeper is among the most popular fitness apps. It also has one of the better Wear OS apps. The app keeps track of your running and exercise. You can set goals for weight loss, running pace, etc. It also supports biking and virtually any other activity aside from running. The Wear OS app is a good extension of the main service. Like most, it doesn’t have every feature, but it has enough. The full experience requires a subscription, though, which we think is a little expensive. Strava and Lifesum are also excellent Wear OS apps in this space. Of course, if you want it for free, Google Fit is still the best free fitness app for older Wear OS devices.
- Controls elements of your phone from your watch
- Quickly view your phone’s battery life, switch Wi-Fi on or off, and even lock your device
Simple Wear is an essential app if you prefer to keep your smartphone in your pocket while wearing your watch. It allows users to adjust settings, view important details, and check the battery life of their phone. The app’s surprisingly comprehensive and does come with a few additional apps and permissions demanded to support its functionality. If you’re a fan of this app, consider grabbing Simple Weather too.
- Comprehensive podcast app on your wrist
- Search for, download, and play podcasts without your phone
There are plenty of excellent podcast apps. Podcast Addict and Podcast Republic come to mind. But if you want a standalone podcast platform that fits on your watch, this is it. Wear Casts lets you search for, download, and play podcasts from your watch. Hook up your Bluetooth headphones to your device and go for a run, or play an episode out loud to entertain friends.
Yes. Wear OS is based on Android but the OS is optimized for use on smartwatches.
The Google Pixel Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and 5 are the premier Wear OS watches. Watches from the Fossil Group and Mobvoi also use Wear OS. Few devices from other companies, like Suunto and Oppo also rely on the OS.