It's a new day for Wear OS. Apps are no longer sidecar-style programs that share data back and forth from your phone. Instead, the apps are installed directly on the watch and run completely independently of the phone. This means apps need to be able to do everything on the watch, so design and functionality matter more than ever. Here's a look at the Wear OS apps that work best in this new world!
Note: This list will be constantly updated with new great Wear OS apps when they're made available!
Citymapper is the ultimate transit app. With offline maps and real-time departure listings, you'll be able to go anywhere and get there using any means you like — bus, subway, train, ferry, taxi, car share, bike share and walking are all covered.
Covering a long list of cities on six continents, CityMapper is great for travelers as well as locals. It's also a stand-alone Wear OS optimized app so you can leave your phone at home or in your bag. That explains the Editor's Choice award in Google Play and the placement on the Best Apps of 2017 list!
Your phone has a camera and your watch has a pretty nice display. Pair the two together and you have a remote camera you can view from your wrist.
With LookBehind you have full control over your phone's camera, including zooming, rotation, and flash. It even shows the phone's battery level so you know if you need to plug things in. the app costs $0.99, but it's totally worth it!
Google Fit has received a substantial update with Wear OS, and it's great for everything from basic daily step tracking up to runs and gym workouts. The interface is very well situated to show you snippets of information on the small watch, then give you deeper looks at everything in the Fit app on your phone.
After using the new Fit it's clear to see why Google is so proud to promote it in Wear OS.
It doesn't matter if you need to take a quick note for yourself or you'd like to document something discretely, the ability to use the microphone on your wrist can be powerful.
The Recordr app makes it super easy to grab audio, and when it's recorded you can keep it on the phone or quickly transfer it to the watch in case you need to share or push to Drive.
The ability to quickly check off boxes in Keep is not only great for feeling productive, it's a solid reminder system that doesn't require a calendar.
As great as Keep can be on the phone, on the wrist you get a quick glance at lists when the Always-On display is enabled and plenty of space to check off boxes when you're mobile.
This app is one of the few set up to act as an advanced receiver instead of a smaller version of the app. Instead of the full Facebook Messenger experience, this watch app shows up as a normal notification but gives you more options when responding to people hitting you up on Facebook.
The only downside here is you get a Messenger icon taking up space in your drawer that doesn't actually do anything, but that's a small price to pay for more Messenger features.
Find my Parked Car
Finding your car in a big parking lot has never been easier with GPS on your phone, and the only way that can happen faster or more conveniently is from your watch!
This setup is simple and leaves little to the imagination. Drop a pin to mark your parked car, and if you're far enough away that you need GPS there's a button to throw you immediately into Google Maps for navigation.
We highlighted Wear Casts in late 2017, and with good reason: this is the first standalone podcast app for Wear OS. There's still a companion on the phone side to make it easier to subscribe to certain podcasts, but everything else can be handled from the watch side. You can download episodes, control playback, and change your sync settings. If you're a heavy podcast listener with a Wear OS watch, give Wear Casts a try!
Update March 2018: Added more great apps to our list!