Garmin’s Vivoactive 3 has popped up in Amazon’s Spring Sale, slashing 52% off the smartwatch that scored a solid 4 out of 5 score in our review.
You can currently pick the Garmin smartwatch up for £134.99, which is down from £279.99. The deal is only available on the black and white models, but there are savings on the gunmetal and rose gold options too if you’re willing to spend a bit more.
The Vivoactive 3 offers the best of Garmin’s sports tracking features and also includes smartwatch staples like notification support and Garmin Pay so you can make payments from your wrist. It lacks a built-in music player, but the good news is that the Vivoactive 3 Music is also on offer too. It’s dropped to £169.99 from £299.99, which is a big £130 off the usual price.
Wareable verdict: Garmin Vivoactive 3 review | Vivoactive 3 Music reviewThe Vivoactive 3 launched in 2017 and the 3 Music followed a year later as Garmin’s smartwatch answer to Apple, Fitbit, Samsung and Google’s Wear OS watches. While they’re sports watch first and foremost, we praised their improving smartwatch powers in our reviews. Despite not being the latest models, these are still smartwatches we’d comfortably recommend.
The cut-price Garmin Vivoactive deals are only available for one day, so if you want in, you’re going to have to act fast to bag one.
Garmin’s Vivoactive 3 has popped up in Amazon’s Spring Sale, slashing 52% off the smartwatch that scored a solid 4 out of 5 score in our review.
Garmin for a long time had nestled the Connect IQ app into its mainline Connect app. It was hidden away in the menus and opened up an in-app browser to allow you to download apps and faces for your Garmin watch.
It worked, but it all felt a bit bolted on. Garmin is fixing that with the brand new Connect IQ app, which is a full-blown Garmin app store for both iOS and Android that makes it easier to download faces and apps for your smartwatch.
Read this: The best Garmin IQ appsThe existing Connect IQ Store had a lot of problems. For one, it wasn’t mobile friendly, making it difficult to use. It was also a bit rudimentary. Each app type, from watch face to data field, only had three sortable options: most popular, most recent and highest rated. That made discovering new apps difficult – which was already difficult thanks to ease of use and it being nestled away in a menu.
The new Connect IQ Store app solves that in a number of ways. First, it’s an actual app that makes it much easier to use on the go, when you might want to browse and look for a new app. Second, there are a large number of catalogs that apps are divided into. For example there are categories like Digital Watch Faces, Training Metrics, Out to Sea, Fun Watch Faces, Weather at a Glance and more.
Garmin is also including Face It! integration, which will allow you to create your own custom smartwatch faces with your own photos. The new app will also let you easier turn on or off automatic updates, managing installed apps and checking storage space.
A more usable app store is a need for Garmin, especially as it looks to create more luxury smartwatches like the Marq collection that might appeal to people more than its industrious-looking adventure watches does. The new Connect IQ app is available now in both the App Store and Google Play.
Back in March, Apple launched new bands for the Apple Watch. If you’ve been fans of its Nike Watch Sport and Loop bands, there’s plenty to look forward to in the new additions to the collection.
Apple introduced new Sport Bands (ones with the perforated design for better breathability) in new blue, papaya and spearmint shades, along with new Sport Loop straps (the soft breathable bands) in spearmint, lilac, papaya and cerulean.
It also introduced the new Nike Sport Loop with the reflective thread in spruce fog, teal tint, summit white, black and hyper grape (yes, hyper grape). All of the new bands are priced in at $49, and we’ve been fortunate to get our hands on a bunch of them and can comfortably say we think Watch owners are going to like them.
The teal tint/tropical twist Sport Band still has that stretchy fluoroelastomer material with the pin-and-tuck closure. And a recent watchOS updated added full-screen colour faces, meaning you can now theme the Watch to match the band. We also got to try on the spearmint Sport Loop that has the soft breathable nylon weave and hook-and-loop fastener. It has a very similar to feel to one of our new faves, the hyper grape Nike Sport Loop.
The good thing about all of these bands is that they do work with older Watch models too and not just the new 40mm and 44mm Series 4 models. We also tried all of them out on Series 3 (as you’ll see from some of the pictures) and they attach/detach just as easily as they do on the newer Watches.
All of the new bands are up for grabs from Apple’s website now, and if you don’t fancy spending big on a new strap for your Series 4, Series 3 or older Watch, you can always check out our round-up of the best Apple Watch bands too.
Trick out your Apple Watch with these cheap bands
If there’s one smartwatch that’s not short of apps, it’s the Apple Watch. Compared to what Google, Samsung and Fitbit’s smartwatch app stores have to offer, the Apple Watch apps clearly wins on quantity and quality.With features like GPS, LTE and a waterproof design for swim tracking, there are so many reasons for developers to want to make apps for Apple’s smartwatch. This has only been further enhanced by the great features of watchOS 5, and the larger display on the Series 4.
Wareable verdict: Apple Watch Series 4 reviewBut which Apple Watch apps should you download first? We’ve scoured the App Store, tested hundreds of apps, and outlined our favourites below – starting with the 10 best.
Still need another Apple Watch app fix? Be sure to also check out our roundup of the best Apple Watch sleep tracker apps, the best Apple Watch apps for running, Apple Watch apps for cycling and Apple Watch golf apps.
Trick out your Apple Watch with these cheap bandsWareable’s 10 best Apple Watch appsPressed for time? Then check out our top 10 must-have Apple Watch apps, covering a broad range of categories.Best workout tracker: StravaThe champion of fitness apps has fully embraced GPS tracked running and cycling on Apple Watch. It took a while to get here, but after testing the app out on the road, results are good: distances are nailed onto dedicated running watches and the experience was stable and reliable. Live pacing is not so strong and we found that aspect a little sluggish, and sadly there’s no live Segments data, but for serious runners and cyclists, it’s the best on the App Store. It’s also a standalone app, so don’t be afraid to head out without your iPhone.
Free, iTunesBest weather app: CARROT WeatherTo help save you from White Walker attacks or being fried to a crisp by the sun, CARROT Weather dishes up a gorgeous Apple Watch app interface, packed with information and snark. The app’s ‘AI’ laughs at your misfortune when it’s pouring down, but you can at least customise icon slots to your liking – assuming you subscribe to the app’s premium IAP. Worth every penny.
£4.99 + IAP, iTunesBest for sports fans: ESPNYou’re in the world’s longest and most pointless business meeting with no idea about the progress of your favourite team’s latest game. Enter, the Worldwide Leader in Sports, ESPN, which will keep you updated on the scores from your chosen team in almost any sport. Add in a decent helping of breaking news alerts and complications that can keep you in the know at a glance, and there’s no better solution for sports fans.
Free, iTunesBest Apple Watch productivity app: Things 3We’re deep into GTD (Get Things Done) territory with Things, a to-do manager turned up to 11. On iPhone, it fast becomes the hub for organising your entire life, sorting items into Today, Upcoming, and Anytime views. The Apple Watch app is for properly focussing on your current tasks, which can be displayed as a complication, ticked off when complete, and added to when something urgent looms into view.£9.99, iTunesBest workout app: CARROT Fit
The CARROT series puts a new spin on tired app categories, and this one’s all about the 7-minute workout. The malevolent CARROT AI puts you through your paces, doing ‘Celebrity Face Punches’ and ‘Dragon Mating Dances’. Start your workout and your Apple Watch can become a heads-up display, so you know what exercise you should be doing – or can pause things for a bit if your body’s about to break. Plus, if you’re a CARROT Weather user, you get another weather complication! Yay for working around Apple’s complication rules!
£3.99, iTunesBest Apple Watch game: Rules!Rules! gives you a daily mini-game challenge, which is all about memorising rules and tapping relevant cards. Easy! Only it isn’t, because several rounds in, you’ll be juggling a bunch of rules in your head (“Tap ascending”; “Reds if you see green”; “No animals”), which must be dealt with in reverse order, all the while knowing that a single incorrect tap ends your game. With watchOS 5, the app’s far more responsive, boasts more levels, adds haptic feedback, and bundles the cutest complication you’re ever likely to see.
£2.99, iTunesBest Apple Watch notes app: Cheatsheet
If you’re the kind of person forever forgetting important details – the office Wi-Fi password, a new phone number, your own name – Cheatsheet lets you make a tiny list of quick notes and shove them on your Apple Watch. Each item can have its own icon, making it easier to spot, and you can set items to appear on your watch face as a Complication. Note that the Apple Watch app requires you buy the one-off IAP – but doing so also unlocks iCloud sync and other goodies for the iOS app.
Free + £2.99 in app purchases, iTunesBest Apple Watch wellbeing app: Streaks
For forming habits – in a good way – there’s nothing better than Streaks. On your iOS device, you define up to 12 habits (although the interface prefers six). These can be one-off or timed tasks; each can be assigned to a specific day or to be completed a certain number of times per week or month. It’s all very flexible, and the Apple Watch app becomes a means to get a brain buzz as you track tasks, run timers, and mark everything complete.
£4.99, iTunesBest Apple Watch audio recording app: Just Press RecordOn iPhone, Just Press Record is a very efficient app for making quick recordings: tap the record button, capture some audio, stop the recording, and your audio then syncs to the cloud. This is all now on your wrist too, and you can even record without your iPhone around. Your recordings will transfer into the cloud and there’s even a complication that’ll launch you into a recording automatically.
And, brilliantly, the iPhone app now offers transcription. So you can talk to your wrist and later get a text file of what you said. It’s like living in the future. £4.99, iTunesBest Apple Watch calculator: PCalc
It’s astonishing Apple omitted a calculator from Apple Watch (maybe Tim Cook hates Casio), but we’re dead chuffed that PCalc exists to heroically come to our rescue. It has a smart interface, with operators and tip calculation just a button tap away (rather than placing these things behind a Force Touch wall). Everything’s super-responsive, and you can use the Digital Crown to adjust tip amounts. (Generously, the free
PCalc Lite also includes the Apple Watch app.)
£9.99, iTunesBest of the rest: TravelTop Apple Watch apps for directions, flight information, translations, conversions, and finding local amenities.
If you’re in one of the supported cities (which include Paris, San Francisco Bay Area, New York and London), Citymapper is a must. It zeroes in on public transport and provides precise, clear instructions on getting from place to place. You’re informed about times for upcoming buses, trains or trams, and can access an outline of the stops to expect on your journey. Citymapper’s complications can put your ETA and directions right on your watch face. The best part? It works with LTE, so if you left your phone back at the hotel you won’t have any trouble finding your way around.
You already have your commute figured out, but you need to figure out how long it’s going to take to get home so you know when to leave. ETA does that, as the app always keeps you up to date on how long it’ll take you to reach home from your current location. It’ll also let you know whether there are any delays on your route, and it’s got standalone functionality so if you don’t have your phone it’ll tap into LTE. And oh, it’s got an awesome Complication that lets you use Time Travel to see how long your commute home might take.
On iPhone, Babbel is a fully fledged translation teacher, but on Apple Watch it’s more like a game. The app figures out what’s nearby and provides quick quizzes about relevant words. If you’re close to a hotel, tap its name and you might be asked whether ‘la llave’ means ‘the tourist’ or ‘the key’.
Naturally, this isn’t going to make you fluent, but it’s a fun way to pass a few minutes; also, a ‘word collection’ feature further entertains and might get you walking about if you’re missing a few key words.
Free, iTunesiTranslate ConverseExploring the nooks and crannies of Rome and left your phone at the AirBnB? iTranslate Conversate will make it easy for you to talk to the locals. You choose the language you want to translate to and tap to begin speaking. The app will automatically pick up who is speaking what language and will translate. Be warned: The more complicated your sentences are, the longer it’ll take.
Free, iTunesIf you love your Apple Watch…Yelp
In a new area and need some help finding things to eat or drink? You’d normally turn to something like Yelp for that, and with its Apple Watch app you can now do that on your wrist. It’s extremely simple. All you do is boot up the app and choose the category you’re looking for, and then you’ll get a list of recommendations close to your location. All it’s missing is some standalone LTE action, but hopefully that’ll come along soon.
Free, iTunesApp in the Air
Self-described ‘personal flying assistant’ App in the Air now does an awful lot on your wrist. The Apple Watch app tracks your flight, gives you in-flight ‘courses’ to stop your neck seizing up, and provides gate and security wait times. Complications and Time Travel support, respectively, give you relevant and timely information on your watch face, and enable you to zip through your journey virtually by way of the Digital Crown.
Free + IAP, iTunesElk
This currency conversion app has a very usable, human approach. It knows where you are and sets the currency for you. Upon picking what you want to convert to, the entire interface becomes a space for conversion. Swipe to the left and your base value increases by ten times. Swipe the other way and it reverts.
Each digit is an editable box. Tap it and twiddle the Digital Crown to update the number within. The conversion below will instantly update. Elk’s smart, bold, and nicer to use than calculator-like conversion tools.
Free + £3.99 IAP, iTunesFitness and sportThe best Apple Watch apps for helping you get fit, whether on your bike, on foot, or in the comfort of your own home.
Pear is a personal fitness service – which you can use with or without your phone – that includes all kinds of workouts, from HIIT to yoga to spin and more. There are a variety of levels, too, so you can just take on something to lose some weight, or you can train for a marathon. What makes Pear special is that you’ll get interactive coaching from athletes while you’re doing your workouts. So instead of a generic robot yelling in your ear, it’ll be an Olympian who will use their personal stories to motivate you. Fresh.
Free + IAP, iTunesActivityTracker PedometerTo be fair, Apple does a pretty good job in its own Activity app for breaking down all the exercise you’ve been doing. But if steps are your thing, ActivityTracker Pedometer zeros in on steps, calories burned and distance travelled. Scroll down a bit and you can also peruse when during the day your steps occurred, and how today’s efforts compare with those from the past week. Handy to ensure you don’t rest on your laurels.
Free, iTunesWorkOutDoorsIn the future, little wrist-based computers might beam mapping information directly into your brain. But today, Apple Watch can barely deal with maps when you’re hiking, biking, or merely ambling. Fortunately, WorkOutDoors provides zoomable, scrollable vector mapping on your wrist. Bold colours, auto-rotate, breadcrumb trails, and live stats showcase an app very much designed for the wrist first, rather than Apple Watch being an afterthought.
The Apple Watch’s own swimming app is pretty impressive, but if you’re looking for a bit more post-swim analysis and want to have your pool workouts tracked in one place, Swim.com is your friend. It can track stroke type and count and features drills and live feedback while you’re in the pool – spitting data out into a dedicated iPhone app.
Free, iTunesViewRangerThis is one you’ll want to take on your hikes with your brand new LTE-enabled Apple Watch Series 3. ViewRanger gives you live turn-by-turn navigation and trip stats for hundreds of hiking and cycling trails worldwide. You can also download (and pay) for additional topographic maps.
Free + IAP, iTunesStreaks WorkoutThere’s no messing about with Streaks Workout, a fitness app that leaves you with no excuses. Define on your iPhone which exercises you’re happy to do, and then pick a duration on the Apple Watch. Only got minutes to spare? Go for the six-minute ‘Quick’ option. A bit of a masochist? Try the half-hour ‘Pain’ mode, which you’ll find is aptly named as the app flings semi-randomised rep sets at you for 30 agonising minutes.
£3.99, iTunesHole19A comprehensive tool for golfers, Hole19 provides you with hole routing, course stats, and a simple interface for logging your score. Once you’ve started a round on your iPhone, your Apple Watch hones the data down to what you need at any given moment: key distances; score input; and putt tracking.
Read this: Best Apple Watch golf apps to take for a roundFree, iTunesZones for Training with Exercise Intensity
Getting full marks for both the length of the name and practicality, ZTEI (as it will now be known as) is the perfect app for those who train by heart rate. It has modes for walking, running, cycling and gym workouts, and will display your live heart rate zones, as well as reporting the time spent in each zone, and spitting the data out into the Health app. You’ll also be able to use it sans iPhone, which is great for you Series 3 owners. It adds functionality that the Apple Watch doesn’t provide, which is the beauty of a good third party app.
Free, iTunesRunkeeperRunkeeper’s a great iPhone app, but there’s a lot going on. On the Apple Watch, it’s focused on key info: you start an activity, swipe between screens that show stats, cardio info and split times, and can have haptics give you a buzz when you hit set distances. When home, open Runkeeper on your iPhone and stats and a map (if you’ve a Series 2 or newer) are pushed across.
Free, iTunesSlopesHaving detailed speed, altitude and distance stats to hand when careening down a mountain on skis or a snowboard is all very well, but an iPhone’s not the best of devices to access during such occasions. Slopes therefore enables you to start recording data right from your Apple Watch, giving you important stats on your wrist, such as how much time you’ve spent zooming along on snow compared to riding boring lifts, and how high up you happen to be at any given moment.
Free + IAP, iTunesHealth and wellbeingThe best Apple Watch apps to keep you in good health, from remembering to take medication to getting a good night’s sleep.
If you’re diabetic, then keeping track of your glucose and everything around it can be difficult. One Drop wants to make that easier, allowing you to log glucose, meds, food and activity directly from your wrist. It can also integrate into HealthKit. All of this together will help you manage your diabetes better than ever before.
Free, iTunesPropeller Health
Propeller is an FDA-cleared asthma sensor that attaches to your inhaler. It can tell when you use your inhaler and send that information over to the Propeller app, which will generate insights and remind you when it’s time to use your inhaler. Insights include the ability to figure out what triggered an attack and seeing a forecast of what you can expect for the day.
This one is true to its name. There’s nothing you need to do with AutoSleep, just make sure the app is installed and you’re wearing your Watch to bed. It’ll automatically track your sleep. In the morning, it’ll send you a notification with your sleep analysis, including how you restless you were or how long you were in deep sleep.
There’s even a mode for if you don’t wear your Watch to bed, as long as you sleep right after you charge your Watch and put it on when you wake up. Although we’d argue that feature is a little pointless when you could just as easily hit a stopwatch.
£2.99, iTunesEveryday essentialsThose apps you can’t do without: calendars; timers; money management; and Wikipedia on your wrist.
Our lives are dictated by bills, and there’s no app better at helping you keep track of bills than Mint. The Apple Watch app, like its older iPhone brother, is a simple way to see which bills you’ve got to pay soon, how much money you have flowing in and out of your accounts and how good (or bad) your credit score is.
All of this essential financial information is huddled into three separate screens, so you can quickly slide between them to get everything you need at a glance. Best of all, everything is neat and colour coded, so you don’t have to squint your eyes trying to figure out maths.
Free, iTunesReminders NanoFor reasons best known to Apple’s developers, Reminders didn’t originally make it to Apple Watch. (Perhaps they forgot to set a reminder to make the app.) Although it’s there now, we reckon Reminders Nano may still be worth paying for. First, it handily displays your lists in alphabetical order, rather than whatever arbitrary order Apple’s app goes for. Secondly, you can use the app to add new items and even entirely new lists, which means less fishing around for your iPhone when you’re already peering at your wrist. £2.99, iTunesFantastical 2
Apple’s Calendar app is fine for reading appointments, but Fantastical 2 saves you fishing out your iPhone to add events. Force Touch to access the relevant command, and then dictate. The app’s natural-language input means it usually successfully interprets the likes of “lunch on Friday at 2pm for an hour”, making you feel like you’re living in the future. A bit.
Apple’s own Timer app is straightforward but limited to just one countdown timer. It’s no good if you need to time several things simultaneously, unless you buy loads of Apple Watches and strap them to your arm.
MultiTimer is a far more sensible choice, and even in its free incarnation provides six timers. These are defined on iPhone (colour; icon; default length) and show up in the Apple Watch app, where you can view a single timer or several at once. Pay for the in-app purchase and you can have unlimited timers – although you should perhaps ask yourself at that point if you’re getting a bit obsessed.
Free or £6.99, iTunesPennies
If you need to keep track of your money after blowing a huge amount of it on, say, a new Apple Watch, Pennies can help. The app enables you to set up multiple lists, to which you can add and remove funds as and when you need.
On Apple Watch, the app’s stripped back compared to its iPhone counterpart, but you can still discover what you have left to spend (even using a Complication as a constant reminder), and quickly deduct cash from your budget when you rashly splash out on a new Apple Watch strap you totally didn’t need.
Deliveries is pretty great on every platform, tracking goodies that are winging their way to you, and ensuring you’re not out when a courier is about to hurl that new laptop over your fence. On Apple Watch, you get the same list, location maps of where your things currently are, and handy notifications when a delivery is imminent.
£4.99, iTunesChirp for TwitterIn all honesty, we question the need to have your entire Twitter timeline on your wrist; still, Chirp provides the means to delve into an endless stream of tiny messages on your tiny Apple device. Its utility becomes clearer when you grab the IAP and unlock the full feature set, enabling you to reply to tweets, delve into direct messages, perform quick searches, and keep track of news (or gossip) by browsing what’s currently trending.
Free + IAP, iTunesTidurApple’s Timer app offers custom timers, but they lack context – it’s no good having loads of timers if you don’t know what they’re for. Tidur offers labels and colours, and you can have multiple timers run at once. Cloud sync irritatingly requires you sign up for a Tidur account, but otherwise this app’s a good bet to ensure your boiled eggs aren’t too hard while simultaneously roasting a chicken and brewing fancy tea.
Free + $3.99 IAP, iTunesDark SkyAlthough CARROT Weather sits in our best-of list, Dark Sky’s swish redesign makes it a photo finish for best Apple Watch weather app. There’s no IAP subscription here, yet you still get a great glanceable forecast on your wrist, including an imminent rainfall graph so you know you won’t get drenched when walking the dog. Twiddle the Digital Crown to see forecasts for the day and week ahead, and elsewhere revel in the fancy complications for Apple’s latest watch faces.
£3.99, iTunesV for Wikipedia
The idea of Wikipedia on your wrist is probably a bit weird, but we like V for Wikipedia a lot. The interface is smart and to the point, letting you search all of Wikipedia or just find things that are nearby. The cut-down articles it presents are short enough not to make your eyes glaze over, but give you enough detail to make them worth loading. And the app happily works without your iPhone being on, yet enables you to bookmark whatever you’d like to read later on a bigger screen.
£5.99, iTunesProductivityMake your Apple Watch earn its keep by saving you time and helping you work with our pick of the best apps for productivity.NotedThere are loads of voice memo apps for Apple Watch, but Noted grabs a place on our list for one specific feature: #TimeTags. During a recording, you can prod the hash button to add an embedded tag. On Apple Watch, these act as visual bookmarks; on iPhone, they can be tappable shortcuts within a written note that jump to specific spots in your recording. Handy for quickly getting at important bits from recorded lectures and meetings.
Free + IAP, iTunesHours Time TrackingIf you’re sitting there at half-past five wondering where the day went, start using Hours to track your time. The app can nag you to start and stop timers (defined on your iPhone) – which can be done right from your wrist. A complication means you can glance at your watch face to see which timer’s currently running, too. Unfortunately, the app won’t do your actual work as well.Free + IAP, iTunesCalzyPCalc might be the best calculator on Apple Watch, but Calzy runs it close – and it has two things PCalc lacks. First, operator buttons appear on the same screen as the numbers, which if you’re precise when tapping and dislike PCalc’s swiping might prove preferable; but also the app can show an ongoing, multi-part sum, which you can edit before stabbing the equals sign.
Differentiating itself from standard to-do apps, Productive is all about creating and tracking habits. You create lists on your iPhone, concentrating on repeating tasks that improve your life but are easy to let fall through the cracks. These are assigned to morning, afternoon or evening on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, or specific days.
Using the Apple Watch app, you can quickly get at your lists, the interface smartly starting by displaying the most relevant set. Tap on a task to mark it as done (or skip it), without ever bothering with your iPhone – thereby making yourself that little bit more productive. An aptly named app, then.
Free + IAP, iTunes1Password
The 1Password app provides the means to bring across some of your passwords or secure notes to Apple Watch. These are accessed via big, friendly buttons, and you can lock everything behind a four-digit PIN. (If you’re feeling especially paranoid, force-quit the app after use: hold the side button until the power screen appears, then press-hold the button until 1Password closes.) Note that 1Password is free to download, but you’ll need the ‘Pro Features’ IAP for the Apple Watch app.
Free + £3.99 per month, iTunesDrafts 5
On iPhone, Drafts bills itself as the place where text starts. This is fair enough, since it’s a speedy and dependable note-taking app with comprehensive sharing options. Now, text can start on your wrist, through Siri dictation. Captured text is sent to your inbox, and any selected item can be appended/prepended to another, archived, deleted, or have tags added. It’ll work when your iPhone’s gone walkabout, too, and sync your new content when your devices are reunited.
Ambition’s all very well, but sometimes it’s the simpler apps that grab hold – and Clicker is certainly very simple. Post launch, you tap to increment a number on the screen. Force Touch and you can subtract or start from scratch. That’s it. Complication support leaves your number front and centre, so you can keep tabs on group numbers, days since an event, or exercise laps – at least up until the maximum supported number (2,147,483,647 – which is a lot of laps).
Free, iTunesEntertainment and gamesPodcasts, stargazing, games and more – your Apple Watch can be a boon when you want to have fun.
Night SkyYou know those smartphone apps where you hold your device to the sky, and discover the stars you’re looking at? Night Sky is the same – but on your Apple Watch. Sure, it’s a mite simpler, but configure the thing by aligning the moon on your wrist with the one overhead, and you’ll become a digital Brian Cox, illuminating anyone nearby with facts about the heavens.Free, iTunesOvercast
We reckon Overcast is the best iPhone podcast player, in part down to its excellent built-in effects for boosting voices and smartly removing silences. On Apple Watch, Overcast is essentially a remote for the iPhone app, giving you fast access to play/pause and seek buttons, and showing what’s up next. Force Touch loads a handy three-button screen that lets you delve into your subscriptions, toggle effects, and recommend the current show if you happen to like it.
There’s still that sense of living in the future when it comes to Shazam. Waggle your phone about while a song plays in the background, and the app will reveal what it is. Now, you don’t even have to have your phone if you’ve got a Series 3 – just wave your arm around to reveal a song’s title, as well as lyrics, just in case you want to leap on to the table and wow your friends with your vocal prowess.
Free, iTunesSky Guide
On iPhone Sky Guide is the most beautiful and accurate star and constellation guide, so this is money well spent. On Apple Watch, the companion app gives you a calendar of upcoming events, and optional notifications regarding what’s about to occur in your location, so for example you can catch the International Space Station zooming overhead. Recent software updates also boosted performance and added a complication that supports Time Travel and offers a very accurate Moon phase.
£2.99, iTunesLifeline 1 & 2
The conceit behind
Lifeline… is you’ve somehow received a communication from a stranded astronaut, and Taylor needs your help in order to survive. The story plays out in real-time, with you making decisions on Taylor’s behalf.
In short, it’s a Choose Your Own Adventure – and many games have since ‘borrowed’
Lifeline’s basic structure. But for our money, this title’s smart writing still elevates it beyond the competition. Once you’re done with that, Lifeline 2 has a story that’s twice as long as the original, about a woman named Arika’s quest to avenge her parents. There’s also Lifeline: Silent Night to try.
£1.99, iTunesTrivia Crack
More or less a stripped-down asynchronous Trivial Pursuit, Trivia Crack has you clash brains with someone online, choosing from six categories of questions, and collecting little characters as you go. Sounds have also been added, plus you no longer have to start games on your iPhone. Note that this doesn’t mean you can then use your iPhone to cheat and look up answers. (Well, you
can, but you definitely shouldn’t.)
Free + IAP, iTunesTiny ArmiesAn Apple Watch game with ambition, Tiny Armies is turn-based strategy on your wrist. If you’re expecting a Civilization (or even a Polytopia), you might be disappointed. But there’s surprising depth here as little armies respond to your swipes, carving their way through a ‘fog of war’ in randomised single-screen arenas, and wiping out opponents. Perfect when you fancy a spot of conquest, but only have a minute to spare.£0.99, iTunesTamagotchi ClassicDevs are also looking to the past to find games that work on a smartwatch and Bandai Namco has launched Apple Watch support for the Japanese virtual pet game you thought you’d put behind you.
Check on your Tamigotchi’s status and health meter, get alerts and take care of it directly from the Watch with a menu of its needs including meals, snacks, toilet and light.
£3.99, iTunesMore Apple Watch guidesSet up your Apple WatchHow to use the Apple WatchExtend your battery lifeThe best Apple Watch appsSet up Apple Pay on Apple WatchApple Watch untethered guideAdd music to your Apple Watch
Snapchat is still a hugely popular social network, and one of its more popular features is Bitmoji. It’s a fun digital avatar you can use to convey your mood, where you are and what you’re doing. It’s become a cornerstone for parent company Snap, and now it’s letting Fitbit in on the fun too.
Fitbit is bringing Snapchat’s Bitmoji to your wrist with free new watch faces for the Ionic and Versa. The watch face will dynamically update throughout the day, and your Bitmoji will use new animations to tell you what’s going on.
Read this: How to choose the best Fitbit for youThere are a number of things your personal Bitmoji can do. It’ll wave when you start your day and go to sleep when it’s time for you to sleep. It’ll also react to your activities, so if you hit a fitness goal, it’ll throw confetti. If you sit in one place for a long time, maybe binge watching TV, it’ll relax. It’s like a Tamagotchi for your wrist, but one you feed with steps.
It’ll also react to the weather, so if it’s raining outside it’ll hold an umbrella. And yes, it’ll mirror what activities you do. So if you’re running on a treadmill, it’ll run on a treadmill. If you log some food, it’ll turn into an avocado (this is clearly the weirdest one).
Fitbit says there are a number of other hidden animations you can find, too. We’re hoping it’ll carry around Fitbit Badges when you acquire them. All of this works with integrated APIs from both companies powered by Snap’s Snap Kit developer platform.
While it may sound a little silly, it turns out that these little avatars can have a significant impact on people caring more about engaging with their wearable. James Landay, a computer science professor at Stanford, explained to Wareable last year that once people figure out health routines, they can abandon wearables because they believe they’ve figured it out.
One potential way for wearable companies to combat abandonment is through fun games or incentives. That could be as simple as the Apple Watch’s Activity Rings, or as silly as seeing and finding cute Bitmoji animations reflecting your actions. Seeing as how Bitmoji has kept people on Snap’s platform, it’s likely Fitbit thinks the new watch face will bump or maintain engagement on its popular smartwatches. Plus, it gives it a leg-up in attracting a younger crowd.
The new Bitmoji watch face is available to download now.
Swatch has triumphed in a legal battle with Apple over the use of its “Tick Different” slogan, which it used to promote its NFC-enabled watches.
In April 2017, Apple brought a lawsuit against Swatch for use of the slogan, arguing it infringed its ‘Think Different’ ads, which ran from 1997 until 2002.
Read this: Everything we know about Swatch’s smartwatchBut Reuters reports that Apple’s attempts were unsuccessful. The court ruled in favor of Swatch, which argued that Apple’s slogan was not known well enough in Switzerland to be owed protection.
The court said that Apple had not provided sufficient documents to make the case that the slogan was well-known enough in Switzerland. Apple would have had to prove that at least 50% of customers associated “Think Different” with the company.
Swatch CEO Nick Hayek also asserted that the “Tick Different” slogan was based on one from the 1980s: “Always different, always new”.
That said, this isn’t the only time Swatch has ostensibly copied Cupertino. In 2015 it won the trademark for the slogan “One more thing” – a well-known phrase often said by Steve Jobs during product launches.
So who knows – maybe Swatch is just trolling Apple with all of this. If it is, it’s doing a damn good job of it. The Swiss watchmaker is expected to soon reveal its very own line of smartwatches to go up against Apple, which will run on a platform it’s currently dubbing Swiss OS.
As for the time being, this ruling ends what has been a long legal case between the two companies – though certainly not the longest Apple has been involved in.
So you’ve got a fancy new Apple Watch – congratulations. But now prepare to supercharge your experience with our list of essential Apple Watch tips.
The good news is that watchOS 5, Apple’s latest smartwatch operating system, is one of the more comprehensive on the market. This makes for a steep learning curve, but there’s a great amount of opportunity for customisation.
Be ‘appy: The best Apple Watch apps to downloadTo give you a fast start, we’ve rounded up 46 essential hacks to help make the current Apple Watch even more useful, including improvements introduced through the most recent updates. From adding music to trimming unwanted notifications and even taking screenshots, your experience will be richer for reading this list.Trick out your Apple Watch with these cheap bandsOrganise, and use, the app dockApple ditched glances way back in watchOS 3, and now you view all currently open apps by touching that side button. You should totally use this dock, stacking it with your most used apps. Why? Because these are the apps your Watch will prioritise when pulling in information and background refreshes.
You can customise the dock in your companion Watch app. It can be set to pull in the most recent apps you used, which works a little bit like multitasking on the iPhone. Or, you could turn it into a proper dock with your favourite apps. If you choose the latter, you can easily customise which apps appear.
If you’d like to customise the dock on the Watch itself, you can do so by clicking the side button, then 3D touching an app and tapping “Keep in Dock.”
Apple still doesn’t offer its own built-in sleep tracking mode, which means it can’t quite match Fitbit, Garmin and others for offering the complete fitness tracking experience straight out of the box, but there are a bunch of apps that can bring the feature to the Watch. We’ve picked out the best sleep tracker apps for the Apple Watch so you don’t have to go hunting for them on the App Store.
In order to make sure you’re getting the most out of your Apple Watch, you’re going to want to update it regularly. This is fairly straightforward to achieve, and you should get a pop-up on your iOS device each time there’s an update ready. To check on iOS, head to the My Watch tab in the Watch app, tap through to General and then go to Software update. Follow the instructions and and, voila, you should be on your way. Just make sure to keep the Apple Watch on charge throughout.
Also, considering there’s different ways to force one, and you may need some troubleshooting tips, check out our full guide on how to update Apple Watch.
Apple Music streaming now comes directly to your Apple Watch thanks to cellular support, but you can still add MP3s and pair it with some AirPods for music. You’ll need to head over to the companion Watch app, then over to the Music section.
Here, you’ll see a few options. You can have a couple of ever-updating playlists automatically sync music to your Watch when it’s charging. You can also manually add in songs by artist, album and playlist just below that. Thankfully, Apple has made this process much, much easier than before. Previously, you had to create a playlist first before syncing over any music.
Of course, you should get a good pair of Bluetooth headphones to listen to the music. In fact, when you start playing a song on your Watch and there are no Bluetooth headphone connected it’ll throw up a little pop-up box asking you to sync some headphones.
There’s also the Apple Watch Spotify app, too, in case you’re wondering what to do if you’re not an Apple Music subscriber. You’ll be able to add and play music to your Spotify library from within the app.
If you’re fully kitted out with all the Apple gear, there’s also a way that you can use your Apple Watch to skip typing in a password on your Mac to get access, so long as you have a mid-2013 or a newer Mac that’s running macOS Sierra 10.12 or later. If you want to pair the two together, the first thing you need to is make sure they are both signed into the same iCloud account.
Your next step is to head to your Mac and choose System Preferences, then Security & Privacy and click the General tab. Here, you’ll be able to set the Apple Watch to unlock your Mac. Make sure two-factor authentication is enabled as well on your Mac (head to System Preferences > iCloud > Account Details > Security).
Check out our full guide on unlocking the Mac with Apple Watch.
If you’re overburdened by notifications, you can wipe your recent history by swiping down from the top of your screen to access a chronological list. Once displayed, you can banish them all by long-pressing the screen then tapping Clear All. If you’re looking to manage your notifications and need more detailed help, though, check out our full guide on how to clear all notifications, which also includes tips on deleting texts and turning them off altogether.
Setting an alarm on the Apple Watch isn’t actually as straightforward as it may seem – sure, going into the Alarms app on the watch itself and twiddling around with the Digital Crown is easy enough, but there’s plenty to delve into. For details on how to set an alarm on the Apple Watch and keep it silent, or even set up Nightstand Mode, read our full guide. Timers, on the other hand, are actually very straightforward. No matter what event you’re clocking, simply heading into the Timers app and toggling how much time you want to track is about all there is to it.
Apple made several improvements to Siri in watchOS 5, and most of them are in the Siri watch face. Through machine learning, Siri will now be able to serve up more contextual information, such as showing heart rate after a workout, or sports scores if your favourite team is playing.
However, waking Siri and chatting with the assistant has also improved. No longer do you activate things through “Hey Siri” – you simply need to enable the new wrist-raise option which automatically kickstarts the assistant. If that’s too Dick Tracy for you, pushing and holding the crown will also make Siri pipe up.
Read our full guide on things to ask Siri on your Apple Watch.
Take a screenshotAll Apple Watch devices can take screenshots when you push the Digital Crown and the action button below it at the same time. Images are then saved to the camera roll on your iPhone. This is not set as default, though. To enable screenshots, head to the Watch companion app and then go to General. There, you’ll be able to toggle Enable Screenshots on or off.
One of the big new features on the Series 4 is the ability to take an electrocardiogram (ECG). Or, well, it’s available in the US. It’ll take some time to roll out internationally. It’s an important feature that can help detect if you’ve got atrial fibrillation, so it’s worth checking out at least once. It can even be helpful to take before you head for a yearly checkup.
Discreetly view the timeIf you want to check in on the time without raising your wrist, you can slowly twist the digital crown upwards and it’ll brighten up the screen gradually to let you peek in, rather than fully illuminating the watch screen.
Change the wrist-raise actionThis tip came from complaining to golf app developer Hole19 about constantly having to reopen the app while out on the course. Didn’t we feel like fools.
In the Apple Watch settings menu, turn on the Wrist Raise feature. Below, you’ll have a couple of options under ‘On Screen Raise Show Last App’. You can choose to show the last app while you’re in session, within two minutes of last use, within one hour of last use, or always. Now, when you raise your wrist you’ll see the last app you were using.
You can also do it from within the Apple Watch app on your iPhone. Just go to General and then Wake Screen, you’ll have the same couple of options to choose from.
Get some bandsOne of the things Apple really pushes with the Apple Watch is bands. There are new bands released every few months, with new colours to match the season, and your wardrobe. That’s why we recommend having a look at what’s out there and taking advantage of the customisation options.
Read this: The best third-party Apple Watch bandsAnd if you don’t want to splash the cash on Apple’s bands, there are always third-party options. Despite new case sizes with the Apple Watch Series 4, your old bands will still fit, too – a handy design trick from Apple.
Struggling to swap them? Check out our how to change Apple Watch bands quick guide.
As with many third-party apps, Apple also lets you halt run tracking when you get interrupted or have to stop at a set of traffic lights. You can now enable automatic run pausing simply by heading to the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, heading to the My Watch section and then selecting Workout. Here, you’ll be able to toggle on Running Auto Pause.
Unlock Watch from your iPhoneIf you didn’t do this in the initial setup process, you can still unlock your Apple Watch and iPhone at the same time without having to hammer in a passcode (if you’ve set one of those up). To do this, go to the Watch companion app, where you can toggle the Unlock with iPhone feature on or off. You need to be wearing the Watch for this feature to work, though.
Turn on heart rate notificationsApple is taking heart health more seriously, and one of the newer features is a notification when your heart rate is detected as lower or higher than it should be. You can enable it in the heart rate section of the companion app.
Read this:Apple Watch heart rate monitor essential guideWhen you turn it on, you’ll be asked to choose a threshold. Then, your Apple Watch will only alert you when you go past the threshold and appear to have been inactive for about 10 minutes. On top of that, it’ll look for signs that your elevated/falling heart rate is a longer-term problem, rather than a temporary blip brought on by something terrifying – like a horror movie.
If you find yourself getting stressed in the day, you may find it useful to tap into the Apple Watch Breathe app. This allows you to follow the on-screen instructions and focus on your breathing for a select amount of minutes. It’s a handy wellness feature from Apple, and you can edit details such as how many breaths per minute you want to take, how many notifications you receive and how prominent the haptic feedback is through the Watch app on your iPhone.Chain together your workoutsYou triathlete, you. To date the Apple Watch has let you down, but it’s gotten better, and you can now chain together workouts, which means less time rubbing those sweaty fingers around the screen. If you want to jump from one type of workout to another, rather than stopping the current one, swipe right and tap the + button to add a new one on.
Sharing Activity ringsApple’s answer to Fitbit, Garmin and the rest of the fitness tracker fraternity is its Activity platform. That’s where all of your daily movements are recorded. In its latest iteration you can now share activity progress with other Apple Watch users. To do it, you need to add friends, which has to be done by going to the dedicated Activity app on your iPhone. You can then select Sharing and hit the + icon in the corner to add contacts.
Jog on: The best Apple Watch running appsBack on the Apple Watch, go to the Activity app and swipe right to see Activity data from your friends. You can also comment on workouts to keep them motivated, or to make fun of them. Either way, it’s your call.
The move goal is your calorie benchmark for each day, and while it’s a satisfying one to tackle, that battle gets a little old if it’s set too high or too low. Every so often, the Watch will nudge you to let you know how you’re getting on, but did you know you can alter the number directly from the watch?
Simply go to the Activity app and Force Touch the rings – you should see the move goal pop up and allow you to adjust. This is really handy for when you steadily want to ramp up your targets.
Use pictures as watch facesBy default, the Apple Watch selects images from the Favorites folder on your iPhone – something we’d never thought to use before. So go and tag some images in iOS using the heart button at the bottom. When you use the photo album watch face it will randomly select photos from the folder. You can tap the face to cycle through images.
Essential reading: Best Apple Watch faces to try outAlternatively, you can now turn those photos into trippy designs with the kaleidoscope face. On your iPhone, you should now now see a ‘Create Watch Face’ option in the action menu on any picture. This will let you stick a picture on your Watch either as is, or in kaleidoscope form.
Control music playbackWe’ve already talked about how to add music to the Apple Watch, but what about controlling it on other devices? Well, if you’ve updated past watchOS 4.3, you can control the music playback on the Apple HomePod or iPhone straight from the Watch. Of course, iPhone users could briefly do this after watchOS 4 first launched, though it was swiftly removed after music streaming was re-added to the smartwatch through watchOS 4.1.
With many users enjoying the control, though, and the HomePod entering more homes, users are now one again able to select tunes, alter volume and skip all from the wrist.
Change AirPods volumeIf you want to change the volume on the AirPods without taking out your iPhone, you have to ask Siri. Convoluted to say the least, but if you have an Apple Watch, you’re in luck.
When you’re playing music on a Watch running on watchOS 4 or later, whether it’s from your iPhone or Watch, you can glance at your watch to see what’s “Now Playing.” All you have to do is rotate the Digital Crown to raise and lower the volume. It couldn’t be more convenient.
Enable Fall DetectionApple made a big deal about Fall Detection during the Series 4 unveiling, but the feature actually isn’t turned on by default. When it is, the Watch is able to detect falls and offer automatic assistance.
However, unless you’re above 65 years old, or you haven’t specified your age inside the Health app, taking a hard fall won’t activate the new feature. To enable it no matter your age, head to the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, tap the My Watch tab, go through to Emergency SOS and toggle the Fall Detection option.
Apple itself indicates that physically active people are more likely to trigger false positives, but only you can decide whether the potentially incessant notifications are worth it.
Check your data usageIf you’ve got a Series 3 or Series 4 with cellular, you may want to keep an eye on your data usage. You never know whether something will tip you over your monthly plan. Alternatively, it’s neat to see how little data the Apple Watch actually uses.
You’ll have to head over to the companion app, checking in on the cellular menu option to see the information. Once you do, however, you’ll find out how much data you’ve used in the current period and which apps are using that data.
Check in on storageThere’s a decent amount of room on the Apple Watch to accommodate apps, emails and music. If you want to see how much storage you have to play with, head to the Apple Watch companion app, go to General and then select Usage. Here, you’ll be able to get a breakdown of how much space apps are taking up.
Change text sizeIf you find yourself constantly squinting at your wrist to read the Watch’s notifications, you can change the text size. Simply go to Settings > Brightness & Text Size then configure it to whatever’s comfortable for you.
Eject water after a swimFrom Series 2 onward, the Apple Watch is waterproof and includes an eject mode to get rid of any water that’s left lurking inside after you’ve gone swimming. If you want to manually use this feature, swipe up from the main home screen to view the Apple Watch Control Center. Look for the water droplet icon and press it. You’ll then be prompted to twist the digital crown to eject the water.
It’s actually a good idea to tap the droplet button before getting in the shower or pool (but don’t worry if you forget) as it also locks the screen, preventing it from confusing water droplets for your fingers.
Ping your iPhoneLose your iPhone? Good thing you have your Apple Watch on because it can help you find your handset in a pinch. Swipe up to bring up the Control Center, look for the ‘Ping iPhone’ button and tap to be reunited with your iPhone. If you tap and hold the ‘Ping iPhone’ button, your iPhone’s LED flash will blink, giving you a visual guide in case the speaker gets too muffled.
Reply from the wristApple doesn’t have a keyboard on the Apple Watch (and probably never will), but there are other ways you can respond to texts and emails. Apart from using custom responses, you can either tap the microphone to dictate replies with your voice, or scribble them letter by letter. That’s a little tasking, but Siri is getting better at voice detection, and when you’re paired with some Bluetooth headphones with a mic, the experience is much smoother.
Force restartApple says to do this action as a last resort, so if you’re left with no choice then hold the Digital Crown and side button together for 10 seconds. Just like restarting your iPhone, the Apple logo will pop up and your watch should restart.
Get your next Apple Watch fixCover to dimIf your Watch is set to notify you or ring with sounds, but you’re in the middle of a meeting or situation where loud dings are rude, you can turn on ‘Cover to Mute’ in the Sound & Haptics settings. Then simply cover your watch for three seconds for it take effect.
Use third-party complicationsAdded to the mix in watchOS 2 (but we’ll forgive you if you’re new to this), information can be drawn from third-party apps into watch faces. On the Series 4, the main faces for these are Infograph and Infograph Modular – where you’ll get spots for eight and six complications respectively. On other Series, you’ll have the Modular, Utility and Chronograph options.
Press and hold the watch face to cycle through the selection of faces, and tap Customize to enter an editing mode. Swipe to the right to make the areas that can be customised appear in boxes. Tap the area you want to change, and then use the crown to scroll through options – this is where those third-party complications can be added. Most can be turned off if you prefer the minimalist look.
If you don’t want to deal with the Watch’s tiny display, you can also do this on your iPhone via the Face Gallery in the companion app.
Use Theater ModeHave you ever sat in a dark cinema, moved your arm to get a little more comfortable and then seen a beacon go off on your wrist? That was your Apple Watch. To avoid being a public nuisance in the cinema, just swipe up on the watch face and click the Greek theatre faces to enable Theater Mode, which will keep your Watch’s display off during your film.
Do some gym-based cardioApple GymKit is rolled out, and while it’ll take a while for gyms across the world to get in the necessary equipment, the process has begun. Essentially, GymKit allows you to tap your Apple Watch to an NFC terminal on cardio equipment, which will then perfectly sync up all your exercise data.
Transfer a call to your iPhoneReceived a call on your Watch, but want to continue it on your actual phone? No problem. Accept the call from the smartwatch and swipe up to send it over. Seamless.
Get your podcast onThe Podcast app was one of our most requested features for watchOS 5, and we’re finally getting it. With the update, you’ll be able to listen to your favourite shows on the go, with them syncing up with your iPhone and Mac. Handily, that means you can pause halfway through an episode on one device and pick up on another.
Master the Workout appApple’s Workout app got another upgrade in watchOS 5. After it already had a new look last year, including a whole bunch of new workouts, like High Intensity Interval Training, skiing and snowboarding, the big addition this time around is automatic exercise detection.
Read this: Apple Watch Activity and Workout app explainedHowever, this doesn’t work quite how you would expect. The Apple Watch will sense what kind of workout you’re doing, but it won’t automatically start tracking it without you doing anything. Instead, it sends you a notification telling you that it thinks you’re working out, and it’ll remind you to start the tracking. Once you’ve done so, it’ll give you retroactive credit for the amount of workout you’ve already done. Similarly, if you forget to end a workout it’ll prompt you to do so.
As for new workouts, yoga and hiking are finally in the list. Yoga’s algorithm is built off your heart rate, while hiking takes pace, heart rate, and elevation gain into consideration. Put the watch in power reserve modeDraining power too fast? Swipe up on the main watch screen to bring up the Control Center. The first icon displays current battery status. Press this to reveal the Power Reserve button.
And if you’re finding this to be a consistent problem, it’s worth finding out how to get more out of your device throughout the day. Read our 15 tips to improving Apple Watch battery life.
Trim notificationsBy default, the Apple Watch will show any notification that appears on your iPhone, but you can turn each one off individually to quell the digital noise. In the iPhone’s Apple Watch app menu tap Notifications and scroll down to ‘mirror iPhone alerts from’ and start turning off those annoying offenders.
Set up for left handersThe Digital Crown isn’t best placed for south paws, who generally wear their watch on the right arm. However, you can have the Apple Watch flip its controls so that the crown works on the bottom left instead of top right. In the iPhone companion app go to General > Watch Orientation and then choose your preferred wrist and Digital Crown position.
Reorganise your appsThankfully, there are a couple of different ways to organise your apps. You can keep the old honeycomb grid (shown above) if you want, and if you do choose that way, know that it’s much easier to fire up the companion app, head over to App Layout and organise it all there, instead of on the watch itself. If you want to be done with the honeycomb grid, you can also switch over to a list view. On the Watch, just force touch on the app selection screen to choose the grid view option.
Make Mickey and Minnie speakSay you’re a bit sad, and you need a jolt of joy. You can head over to your Mickey or Minnie watch face and tap on them to hear them tell you the time in their trademark voices. You’ll need to make sure it’s on by heading to Sounds & Haptics in the companion and enabling ‘Tap to Speak’.
Trim watch facesWhile Mickey has been the face of Apple’s marketing campaign, and he’s a fun novelty, it’s virtually impossible to tell the time from his stubby arms. In fact, there are only three watch faces we actually can bear to use. Banish the rest by swiping up on any offending design. If you want one back, just press the + at the end of the list.
Delete stock Apple appsUnless you’re really invested in the stock market, you probably haven’t touched Apple’s Stocks app on the iPhone. So why would you open it up on your Apple Watch?
Back in iOS 10, Apple added the ability to remove stock apps from your iPhone. Lucky for you, deleting those stock apps also removes them from your Apple Watch.
A headline addition that landed through watchOS 4.2, Apple Pay Cash is essentially a prepaid debit card that’ll both let you pay for things in stores and pay friends. So if you owe your friends for that lunch, or you just lost a bet, you can simply open the messages app on your Watch and pay them. You can also request money from friends if they’re avoiding you.
Setting up Apple Pay Cash is simple. If you’ve got a debit card linked to your Apple Pay account, all you have to do is head to Settings on your phone, then ‘Wallet & Apple Pay’ then ‘Apple Pay Cash’. You simply agree to the terms and – voila – you’re all set up.
Check out these Apple Watch how-tosHow to use your Apple WatchHow to make an Apple Watch faceHow to stream music on Apple WatchHow to use Apple HealthHow to set up your Apple WatchHow to use Apple Watch Breathe appHow to make calls on Apple WatchHow to enable running auto pause Apple WatchHow to use Spotify on Apple WatchHow to add music tracks to Apple WatchHow to clear all notifications on Apple WatchHow to set an alarm on Apple WatchHow to update Apple WatchHow to get LTE on Apple WatchHow to use Siri on Apple WatchHow to unlock Mac with Apple WatchHow to pair Apple WatchHow to take an ECG
Amazon is dishing out the deals love on a whole host of Michael Kors smartwatches including one of its best sellers, the Michael Kors Access Sofie.
The Wear OS smartwatch is available in a bunch of different designs, including the silver, stainless steel version with clear stones on the watch bezel, which is now $229. That’s down from $395, which is a big $166 down from the usual price. You can also save money on the silver tone version, which is $170 off, dropping to $324.99 from $495.
Read this: Best smartwatches to buy nowWhile the Sofie goes big on looks, its smarts are a bit on the basic side. You’ll get all of the core smartwatch features you’d expect from something running on Google’s operating system. That means notifications, music controls, customizable watch faces and access to Google Assistant are all in tow. However, you don’t get Google Pay or tracking features like a heart rate monitor or built-in GPS. You also don’t get a waterproof design.
If you do want those features and still want a Michael Kors smartwatch, the newer Michael Kors Access Runway is also on sale, with the rose gold model dropping to $242.89, which is $50 off the normal price. The stainless steel plated version in gold and rose gold is also $60 off. These watches will get you payments, sports tracking skills and will let you jump in the pool with the watch.
Michael Kors is part of the Fossil Group, and, in addition to the deals above, you can also pick up a bunch of Fossil smartwatches on the cheap. The Fossil Q Venture and Q Explorist watches in various models all have significant price cuts. Like the Sofie, though, these don’t come with the payment support, built-in GPS or waterproof design, so that’s something to be aware of. If you don’t need those extras, these are solid smartwatches at very decent prices.
Smartwatches are in rude health in 2019, and there’s so much choice for every budget, lifestyle or design.
With top options from Apple, Fitbit, Samsung, Fossil – as well as Garmin, Huawei and LG – selecting the right one for your needs is tougher than ever.
And it all depends on what you want it for. There are smartwatches better suited to fitness, some that put more onus on looking good on the wrist, and some that bring full 4G cellular connectivity for calls and messages away from your phone. And thinking carefully about the features you need will help you get the right device, at the right price.For all the in-depth details on the all of the top smartwatches, read on for our comprehensive buyers guides, based on our living-with reviews. However, if you’re looking for a quick snap shot of the top smartwatches to buy right now, here you go:
The best smartwatch 2019The Series 4 brought about the most dramatic design changes to Apple’s smartwatch since it first launched, and the addition of lifesaving features like ECG and fall detection make it an outstanding option.The top Fitbit smartwatchThe Fitbit Versa proves that the fitness tracking heavyweight does know how to make a great smartwatch – and with new features arriving, it will only get better.Samsung’s best smartwatch The emphasis again is on health and fitness, while at the same time retaining Samsung’s most impressive features: that rotating bezel, battery life that goes beyond what most of the competition can offer and an improving operating system.Best smartwatch for less than £150A great Wear OS watch for the price. We love Mobvoi’s suite of health apps, strengthened by the built-in GPS and now a fully waterproof design. The Tic Health app is where you can see your progress from the day, presented in some very Apple Watch-esque rings.
Best multi-sport smartwatchFor the first time on a Forerunner, you can store your own music as well as playlists from select streaming services straight from the wrist – alongside those rich tracking metrics you’d expect from a Garmin.
Best smartwatch…Apple Watch Series 4Apple Watch Series 4: Key specsOS: watchOS 5Display: OLEDSize: 40mm/44mmBattery: 2 daysWater resistance: 50mHeart rate: Yes (ECG)Connectivity: LTE, GPS, NFC, Wi-Fi, BluetoothWorks with: iOSPros: Bigger screen | Lifesaving metricsCons: Battery life not improved | Siri integration Feature check: GPS, swim-friendly, Apple Pay, two-day battery, heart rate monitoring.
The Apple Watch Series 4 is as close to smartwatch perfection as we’ve seen to date – it’s a powerful and versatile wearable that can offer a huge range of features. While those looking for a simple smartwatch might find the Series 4’s huge array of fitness, wellness and connected features to be overkill, it’s able to morph between fitness tracker, sports watch and serious health device at will, making it a serious crowd pleaser.
Apple’s latest Watch addition gives us the most dramatic design change since the original, bringing new 40mm and 44mm sizes (in comparison to 38mm and 42mm). That means more space to show off all the latest software features introduced in watchOS 5.
It has all the same core fitness and sports tracking as the Series 3, including built-in GPS for tracking of outdoor workouts and a swimproof design. Fitness tracking analysis may lag Fitbit, but Apple’s unique goals – signified by the closing of Move, Stand and Calorie rings – is still a powerful motivator. However, there’s still no native sleep tracking here, but this can be done via a third party app.
The headline features are the new ECG monitor that unlocks the ability for serious heart health monitoring. It’s been FDA cleared, so the feature can be used to detect heart rhythm irregularities – however, it’s only going to be supported in the US for now. You also don’t have to do that manually, and the Apple Watch continuously monitors for low and elevated heart rates, as well as AFib. There’s also a new fall detection mode that can let users access Siri to contact emergency services or an emergency contact.
The Series 4 comes packing LTE once again so you can take it out sans iPhone and still make/receive calls, get texts and all other notifications you would on your phone. A new speaker also makes Siri chats and phone calls sound louder and clearer.
Battery life is the main gripe still, and for all the improvements, Apple can still only offer 24-48 hours – which for many simply isn’t good enough.
Read our Apple Watch Series 4 review in full£399.99 (GPS), Amazon | apple.comAlso consider…Fitbit VersaFitbit Versa: Key specsOS: Fitbit VersaDisplay: LCDSize: 34mm diameterBattery: 4+ daysWater resistance: 50mHeart rate: YesConnectivity: Wi-Fi, BluetoothWorks with: iOS, AndroidPros: Attractive design | AffordableCons: No GPS | HR inconsistentFeature check: Waterproof, heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking, Fitbit Pay, notifications, app store, women’s health tracking, GPS (with smartphone).
The Fitbit Versa is the company’s second smartwatch and, along with a change in design direction, it’s crucially available at a more affordable price than the Apple Watch – it can often be picked up for around £179.99. And don’t forget – Fitbit just announced the Versa Lite Edition, which clocks in at £149.
The Fitbit Versa comes in a host of different finishes and with a big collection of bands to mix up the look. And thanks to the runaway success of the smartwatch, there’s a bustling market of straps to choose from.
The Versa offers all of the same fitness and sports tracking features you’d expect from the Fitbit ecosystem, though the big omission here is the lack of GPS. If you want to track runs and rides, you’ll need to take your smartphone with you, and the watch can piggyback your phone’s data. For many this won’t be a massive issue, but as serious runners it’s a level of complication we like to avoid.
Fitbit OS 2.0 brings a new-look UI that offers more insights into your daily data and quick reply support for Android phone users (iOS support coming at a later date). You can still download apps and a whole lot of watch faces, pay from your wrist using Fitbit Pay, and tap into Fitbit Coach. Meanwhile the new women’s health tracking has also been introduced for the first time, which is also available for the Ionic, too.
But it’s battery life that really has the power to compel buyers, as well as the attractive price. You can get five days on a single charge, which means less hassle on weekends away, and simpler sleep tracking.
Read our Fitbit Versa review in full£199.99, Amazon | fitbit.comSamsung Galaxy WatchSamsung Gear Galaxy: Key specsOS: TizenDisplay: Super AMOLED (360 x 360)Size: 42mm/46mmBattery: 4 days (42mm), 7 days (46mm)Water resistance: 5ATMHeart rate: YesConnectivity: GPS, NFC, Wi-Fi, BluetoothWorks with: iOS, AndroidPros: Intuitive rotating bezel | Slick Tizen OSCons: Bixby is lousy | App quality not greatFeature check: GPS, Samsung Pay, Tizen, heart rate monitoring.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch is the successor to the Gear S3 and is still one of the best smartwatches around today. Compatible with Android and iOS, it now comes in both 42mm and 46mm models.
Samsung treads between smartwatch and fitness tracker, also packing in a heart rate sensor alongside the GPS and its much-improved Samsung Health software. There’s also the option of LTE, if you wish for an untethered connection, with a standalone speaker for taking calls on the watch. It’s now waterproof too, adding swim tracking skills that are on par with the Watch Series 4.
The Galaxy Watch runs on Samsung’s Tizen OS 4.0 and feels like a better alternative to Google’s Wear OS right now. You still get that rotating bezel and one of the best displays you can find on a smartwatch. However, the app selection still lags way behind the Apple Watch and Wear OS devices. That said, the Spotify app is great and offers offline playback.
Battery life, we should say, is also solid, getting you 2-3 days on the 42mm model and more on the 46mm version. If you’re not a fan of Wear and don’t want an Apple Watch, this is the top option to consider instead.
Read of our Samsung Galaxy Watch reviewFrom £349.99, Amazon (42mm) Amazon (46mm) | samsung.comBest sporty smartwatch options…Garmin Forerunner 645 MusicGarmin has been putting out go-to smartwatches for sports lovers for a while now. Running, cycling, swimming, golf – Garmin has had us well and truly covered. Despite the Forerunner name, the 645 Music is more in the mould of the Vivoactive 3 Music. It’s got a similar look and also brings the music this time. This helps make the Garmin more of a smartwatch rival to the Apple Watch, Samsung Gear or Fitbit Ionic than before.
Not only are you getting enough storage for 500 songs, but you’re getting the offline playlist support for Spotify, Deezer and iHeartRadio. For transferring your own tracks, boot up Garmin Express on your computer, select the Music tab and choose from your own music to port over.
That same attractive stainless steel design is here. The 240 x 240 pixel display at the heart of the body is by no means the brightest or most vibrant you’ll find, but crucially delivers strong visibility in most workout conditions, whether you’re sweating it out indoors or outside. However, there is no touchscreen or touchpad here, so you’ll have to resort to pressing some buttons.
As far as the number of sports available to track: while it’s more of the same, there are some notable exclusions – like golf tracking and open water swimming (pool swimming is there though). Heart rate monitoring is decent if not class-leading, and it won’t keep you waiting around for a GPS signal. There’s also all the stress tracking goodies from Garmin’s fitness trackers. As multi-sport smartwatches go, this is the best in our eyes, and builds on all the good work Garmin did with its previous iterations.
Of course, we’re listing the Forerunner here as a smartwatch, and Garmin has added decent smarts. Fitness tracking is fantastic and Garmin Connect is a decent ecosystem for wellness data from steps and sleep to workouts and stress. You can get everything happening on your smartwatch mirrored to your Forerunner, from calls and alerts, and it will suck in information on weather and the like. And battery life is seriously impressive, with a couple of weeks even for power users.
Read our Garmin Forerunner 645 Music review£399.99, Amazon | garmin.comSamsung Gear SportIf you’re eyeing a smartwatch with sport in mind, it would be remiss of us not to mention Samsung’s older wearable. The Gear Sport is smaller and cheaper than the all-new Galaxy Watch, which makes for a slightly more comfortable fit in the gym or out for a run.
The 42.9mm case fits in a 1.2-inch AMOLED screen with a whopping 360×360 resolution, controlled by the rotating bezel which enables you to flit around the circular menus. It’s swimproof with 50ATM water resistance and boasts a dedicated Speedo branded swim tracking app, and there’s GPS for outdoor workout tracking. There’s an optical heart rate monitor too.
There’s a nifty Spotify app that lets you offline sync playlists – something missing from iOS and Wear smartwatches – and while Tizen lags for apps it’s got the full Endomondo, MyFitnessPal and Under Armour app suite – but Strava is still missing from the lineup.
£169.99, Amazon | samsung.comJust announced, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active is the company’s latest sporty smartwatch. The watch has a 1.1-inch, 360 x 360 screen, 20mm interchangeable straps and weighs just 25g. The 40mm case makes it smaller than the Galaxy Watch – but it sacrifices the rotating bezel.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active still runs Tizen, and isn’t a slouch when it comes to health and fitness. It differentiates from the Apple Watch by adding a blood pressure monitoring feature as well as stress scores, both of which utilize the optical heart rate sensor. There’s still GPS on board with Samsung Health.
We’ve added the Galaxy Watch Active here because it’s a high-profile smartwatch that you should know about when making a purchase decision – but we’ve not reviewed it yet and can’t vouch for its performance. That review will be landing soon, so check back for our verdict.
£229.99, Amazon | SamsungTicwatch E2Another top budget option, the Ticwatch E2 offers access to the benefits of Wear OS in a stylish and wallet-friendly package.
The 46mm watch measures in at around 13mm thick and is only available in black. You do get a choice of interchangeable bands to make it less sporty though.
The fitness tracking as been “inspired” by the Apple Watch, and offers a neat and well-designed tracking experience. And when it comes to real sport, you can tap into Wear OS’s range of apps from the likes of Strava, Runkeeper and more.
There’s GPS built in and a heart rate monitor too, although we found the latter lacking in our stress tests. The headline feature is that it’s now swimproof and does offer decent swim tracking skills in the pool too.It’s by no means a complete fitness experience, but we like the Ticwatch’s funky design and bargain price. For casual users, is an interesting smartwatch option.
£177.99, Amazon | mobvoi.comStylish smartwatch options…Skagen Falster 2Designer smartwatches are catching on, but the majority of options out there likely come from Fossil Group’s ranks – and one of the finest among them is the excellent Skagen Falster 2. It’s a unisex watch that comes in a unisex size, although it’s undoubtedly one of the more masculine finishes in the Fossil Group line-up.
Slim and light, the Skagen challenges those who complain that smartwatches are too chunky, packing a full 1.19-inch OLED touchscreen. In terms of size, the case has been shrunk to 40mm, which as small as any smartwatch out there – and it’s extremely light too. At 0.8mm thick it’s no Daniel Wellington, but it’s as comfortable as any full-screen Wear OS watch out there.
It takes a standard 20mm strap, so you can pretty much choose anything from the analogue watch world to pimp out your smartwatch.
There are downsides for a tech perspective. It used older Qualcomm technology so battery life is mired around a single day’s use and we did notice some performance issues. But if you’re looking for style first and tech second – and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that – the Skagen Falster 2 is well worth your time.
Read our Skagen Falster 2 review£269.99, Amazon | fossil.comFossil Q Venture HRFossil Q Venture HR: Key specsOS: Wear OS Size: 40mmBattery: 1 dayWater resistance: IP67Heart rate: YesConnectivity: Wi-FiWorks with: Android, iOSPros: Beautifully designed | Google PayCons: Weak GPS accuracy | Poor Battery lifeFeature check: Works with iOS and Android, heart rate monitoring, GPS, Google Pay, swim-friendly.
Fossil Group may be holding the umbrella over a bunch of fashion houses producing smartwatches, but that doesn’t mean it’s not competing in the arena itself. And with its fourth-generation smartwatches, it’s produced perhaps the most attractive smartwatch on the market, from a fashion perspective.
Sharing some similarities with the older Michael Kors Access Sofie (our previous best fashion watch pick), the Fossil Q Venture HR wants to stand out, and fans of a more dressy watch will probably find it a better fit than those who like to keep their wrist wear understated.
Fossil is still keeping screen resolution and other specs under wraps, but we do know this generation (which includes the men’s Fossil Q Explorist HR) is the most feature-packed we’ve seen from the company. Building on the design improvements of the third-gen devices, which saw the flat tyre removed and a slimmer form factor, the Q Venture HR now also harbours some serious tech under the bezel.
There’s now a heart rate monitor, as the name suggests, for tracking beats throughout the day and during exercise, a GPS monitor to keep up with your workouts, and an NFC chip to enable Google Pay. Add to that the ability to take this underwater up to 50 metres, all on the top of the refreshed Wear OS, and it all rounds out as a very complete smartwatch experience.
Read our Fossil Q Venture HR review£249.99, Amazon | fossil.comMontblanc Summit 2 Luxury smartwatches are a thing and some of them are actually very good. It started with Tag Heuer’s smartwatches then the likes of Louis Vuitton joined the connected party too. Now Montblanc wants in.
Its first smartwatch was underwhelming but, in its second coming, the Summit 2 is a watch that delivers on design and on features.
Montblanc has modelled its second generation watch on its 1858 collection offering sleek original watch faces, a high grade construction and a top notch 1.2-inch, 390 x 390 resolution touchscreen display.
Google’s Wear OS runs the show, but Montblanc manages to leave its mark with additional apps and those watch faces we mentioned to help things feel more unique. It’s now packed with more hardware features including built-in GPS, a heart rate monitor and a fully waterproof design to add any extra layer of durability.
This is also one of the first Wear OS smartwatches to run on Qualcomm’s new smartwatch tech that offers performance improvements across the board including battery life. You’re not going to get a week out of it, but it should make it through the day and maybe a little extra.
The new fitness features might not be perfect, but it’s nice for the casual gym goer. When you’re not sweating it out, it’ll sit there looking beautiful.
Wareable verdict: Montblanc Summit 2 review£845, montblanc.comHybrid smartwatches and others…Withings Steel HRThe majority of smartwatches in our list have been full-screen devices, but the Withings Steel HR approaches things a little differently – yet is still a powerful connected watch in a package that weighs just 49g.
The analogue display shows the time on the main dial (with a month of battery life) and progress towards your step goal on the second dial – but there’s so much more going on than this.
The Withings Steel HR has a 24/7 heart rate monitor that will keep tabs on VO2 Max and it will pair up with a smartphone to track outdoor workouts via GPS, although the tech isn’t built into the watch itself. It’s also swimproof to 50m and isn’t too shabby in the pool either, tracking laps and lengths
What’s more, Withings Health Mate app is one of the best out there for keeping tabs on all your assorted health data.
It’s no slouch as a connected watch either, and will alert you to notifications on your smartphone using vibrations and the tiny OLED screen build into the bezel. This is capable of offering quick and fairly crude alerts, but can show you when a message/call/calendar alerts are coming through using quick icons.
It’s a stripped back smartwatch experience but one that’s packed into a stylish, small and comfortable hybrid that doesn’t make as many compromises as you’d think.
Read our Withings Steel HR review£189.99, Amazon | withings.comHuawei Watch GTHuawei is still going with its Watch 2, but in 2018 came back to the table with something completely different. The Huawei Watch GT packs a huge set of features but on top of a custom operating system – those are words we usually utter with a huge amount of trepidation, but the Watch GT offers two weeks of battery life, which is a compelling sell.
And it doesn’t scrimp on tech. Huawei has packed in a 1.39-inch, 454 x 454 AMOLED screen. Which is among the best we’ve played with, comfortably matching up with the vibrancy and sharpness found on the Galaxy Watch and Apple Watch Series 4
Lite OS may take away some of the deeper elements previously found in Huawei smartwatches, it’s still an impressive activity tracker with heart rate monitoring and sleep tracking.
Sports tracking on the general is good, but there is one gripe we do have: data cannot be shared with third-party apps. All of your data can only live inside of Huawei’s companion Health app. We also found the heart rate data to lag way behind accomplished sports tracking rivals.
Huawei makes big promises in the battery department: up to two weeks with normal use, a complete day of GPS tracking and up to a month with features like always-on display and GPS turned off. And it delivers. Even with continuous heart rate monitoring turned on, we’ve only had to charge the Watch GT once during our three weeks of use.
For those looking for Pebble-esque longevity, but are willing to forgo the glitz and lure of a fully formed operating system and all the apps and glamour – the Huawei Watch GT is an interesting choice.
Read our Huawei Watch GT review£199, Amazon | huawei.com
If you’re looking for a budget smartwatch, you often aren’t looking in the direction of an Apple Watch. While the Cupertino company makes one of our favorite smartwatches, it’s usually pretty pricey, not matter which model you go for.
But Amazon’s got a big deal on the Series 3 running right now, shaving $80 off both the 38mm and 42mm Series 3. The GPS version will run for $199 for the 38mm and $229 for the 42mm, while the 38mm cellular edition goes for $299 and the 42mm for $329. That’s a good chunk of money to save, and it’s enough to get you one of those sparkly new spring bands.
The Apple Watch Series 3 really felt like the breakout version of the device, due to its versatility. You’re getting cellular, which allows you to truly leave your iPhone behind as you hit the trail. It also gives you on-device streaming of Apple Music and podcasts.
You’re also getting all the other perks of an Apple Watch: GPS, a heart rate sensor, waterproofing, NFC for Apple Pay, and solid battery life.
Read this: How to set up your Apple WatchHowever, you won’t get the ECG, fall detection, or better design of the Series 4. While you’ll get some of the Series 4’s new watch faces, they are a bit hampered by the Series 3’s design. You also won’t get the complication-filled new watch faces the Series 4 has.
In our review of the Series 3, we called it the most convincing case for a standalone smartwatch yet. It’s a smartwatch that is good at pretty much everything it does – and if you’ve got an iPhone there are few better options.