16 Third-Party watchOS Apps I Use Every Day

Contra Gruber:

“I’ve long given up on using any third-party apps on my Apple Watch, and I am so much happier for it. A year or two ago I would have been ‘Hell yeah’-ing this piece by Arment, but at this point I half feel like Apple should just get rid of third-party WatchOS apps and be done with it.”

— Daring Fireball, 2/27/18

Nice hedging “half” there. I should say that Marco Arment’s complaints about WatchKit, to which Gruber was responding here, are crucial. From what I’ve read and heard from them, though, neither Gruber nor Arment uses Apple Watch enough to see how great an app platform it already is. Maybe my use cases are super nerdy, but I don’t think so — I think I simply get the everyday utility of the device and prefer it over the iPhone in many cases. (On the upcoming episode of Internet Friends, Drew and I get into this.)

It’s my general philosophy to use first-party apps whenever it is tolerable to do so. I’ve been burned by the pivots and failures of third parties enough times that I prefer the security of the long-haul design choices of the platform owner, namely Apple. Every first-party app I use on Apple Watch I use on all my devices, not just because the Watch versions of them are unfairly good.

That said, there are 16 daily use cases for my Apple Watch where third-party apps provide the best experience, many of which are use cases only possible on a watch. This is not all the third-party watch apps I have found useful enough to install for someday-maybe reasons; these are the ones I use every single day. Actually, I guess I only use Anchor Pointer 3–5 times a week, but that’s enough usage for me to count it.

In no order other than alphabetical, because I use them all constantly:

By the way, I wear a Series 3 watch, and I've used nearly all of these apps (not Overcast, clearly) out in the world, over LTE, with my phone on a charger at home.