The best apps for Apple Watch are the ones that come with your smart watch

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Angela Lang / CNET

We just celebrated the fifth anniversary of the Apple Watch back in April, and it's clear that the device that was originally intended to be an iPhone for your wrist, packed with third-party apps, has become a useful fitness tracker. And its native apps have proven to be more useful than any app you can download. While companies like Amazon, eBay, Target, and TripAdvisor no longer support Apple Watch apps, it doesn't really matter – we have our phones, tablets, and laptops to verify. What matters is the built-in activity tracker, messages and phone apps – the things we want to have on hand for a quick and convenient look.

"The watch is really about convenience," said Ray Wang, principal analyst and founder of Constellation Research. "You're not going to be spending as much time in front of the screen on your watch. So I think the secret to building a good Apple Watch app is to think of it as an accessory as well as something. Very few people wear it independently unless it's for be in shape or for health, or some kind of monitoring. "

Read more: The best iPhone apps of 2020

When the Apple Watch launched in 2015, it had 3,000 applications available to download. Today, there are more than 20,000 apps, 21 of which are built into the handheld device. While watches were not a highly sought-after accessory overall in 2015, the Apple Watch proved to be a useful tool for checking messages, weather, and reminders, Wang added, all of which are already built into the device.

Here are several native Apple Watch apps that you may not be using yet.

Quickly switch apps on Apple Watch.

Jason Cipriani / CNET

1. noise

If you have an Apple Watch Series 4 or later, you can use the Noise application to measure the ambient sound in your environment. If the decibel level has increased to a point where your hearing could be affected, the app can notify you with a tap on your wrist.

2. Cycle monitoring

Women can wear the Cycle tracking app to record details about your menstrual cycle, including information about the flow and symptoms like headaches or cramps. Using that data, the app can alert you when you predict your next period or the fertile window is about to start.

3. ECG

If you have an Apple Watch Series 4 or later, you have an electric heart rate sensor that works with the ECG application take an EKG (sometimes called an EKG cardiologist). You will also need an iPhone 6S or later, and both the phone and the watch must have the latest version of iOS and WatchOS, respectively. It is also not available in all regions.


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4. News

The News app will help you keep up to date with current events on the go by showing you stories you select based on your interests. However, it is not available in all areas.

5. Breathe

the Breathing app It helps you remember to take a few minutes each day to do exactly that: breathe (which can be especially helpful after reviewing that News app). You can set or mute Breathe reminders, or just open the app when you want help to pause and relax. You will see an animation that encourages you to inhale and exhale along with it, for 1 to 5 minutes. You can also check your heart rate during those breathing sessions.

6. remote

If you have an Apple TV, you can use your watch as another remote control, assuming both devices are connected to the same Wi-Fi network. Use the Remote app to scroll the clock screen and scroll through the Apple TV menu options, and play or pause programs.

7. camera

You cannot take a photo with your watch. But with the Camera app, your watch can act as a remote control for your iPhone's camera. Use it to help take selfies or start recording on your phone across the room, so you can finally catch everyone in that big group.

8. Walkie-Talkie

the Walkie-Talkie application Allows you to use your watch as a walkie-talkie to chat with another person using an Apple Watch. Press a button to speak and release it to hear the answer. The app is not available in all regions, and both participants must have connectivity through a Bluetooth connection to the iPhone, Wi-Fi or cellular. You must also accept an invitation to connect with someone through the app; they can't just start talking to you.

9. Voice Notes

Just like on the iPhone, you can use the Voice Memos app on your Apple Watch to record personal notes and things to remember on the go. Voice memos you record on your watch will automatically sync to any other iOS device you're signed in to with the same Apple ID.

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The future of native Apple Watch applications

The collection of native Apple Watch applications is far from complete: we've been waiting a built-in sleep tracking app since the Watch was launched. One of the main obstacles seems to be battery life, which may not last long enough to keep you up all night on a single charge. While third party options As AutoSleep Tracker, Sleep Tracker Plus Plus and Sleep Watch are available for Apple Watch, competitors from Samsung and Fitbit have offered sleep tracking for years.

Now it is rumored that a sleep tracking application for the next Apple Watch 6 – Hopefully this is another example of Apple waiting to enter the market until its final product is perfected.

The Apple Watch Series 6 will also likely bring more native health capabilities. Apple has increasingly entered the field of medical research with the watch, partnering with hospitals and research agencies to study heart health and women's health. Series 6 is rumored to track SPO2, which would allow the watch to measure your blood oxygen levels, similar to your heart rate. Smart watches Fitbit and Garmin have a similar ability already.

Additions like glucose control and blood pressure are another frontier, but they are likely to be further in the future.

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