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Every built-in Apple Watch app, ranked

Susie Ochs | May 11, 2015
The apps that come with your Apple Watch run the gamut from super useful to superficial, but no matter what you think of any of them, they're not going away. On your iPhone, you can just make a folder of the un-deletable Apple apps (looking at you, Compass and Tips), so at least they're out of sight and out of mind. But the Apple Watch doesn't support folders, and you can't hide or delete any of its 20 built-in apps.

You can take screenshots on your Apple Watch by pressing the Digital Crown and the button at the same time, and those PNG files are quickly synced back to your iPhone, but don't become visible on the Apple Watch itself unless your synced album is Camera Roll or Recently Added.

Verdict: B- Apple's insistence on putting your photos on all your devices makes sense, but this app needs a couple of updates before it's truly great. How about a Force Touch option to flip the display around, so I can show off the photos to a person standing in front of me? The ability to text a photo, or save a photo attached to an incoming text or email, would be great too.

15. Calendar

The Calendar app is certainly nice to have on the Apple Watch, but it could use a few improvements too. You can use Force Touch to switch between a day planner view and a list view, and the Apple Watch app for iPhone lets you toggle alerts on and off for upcoming events, invitations, invitee responses, and shared calendar alerts.

Managing your calendar events happens entirely on other devices: your iPhone, iPad, or Mac. All you can do on the watch is look at your calendar. You can't change the time of an event, edit its name, invite other people, or even tap an address to open it in Maps. The interface is easy to read, but otherwise on the dull side.

Verdict: C Alerts work well, but the inability to send addresses from calendar events to Maps feels like a pretty big oversight. I was able to use Siri on the Apple Watch to create a new event, but only on my default iCloud calendar, not on my Exchange or Gmail calendars, no matter how nicely I asked.

16. Stopwatch

I use the Stopwatch feature inside the Clock app on my iPhone a few times a year at most, but the Stopwatch app on the Apple Watch has a much flashier design. Force-touch the screen to select Analog, Digital, Graph, and Hybrid mode — Digital more closely resembles the iPhone's implementation, but Hybrid looks the coolest. You can even switch between the views while the stopwatch is running, and it'll keep on ticking.

Verdict: C The Stopwatch app doesn't save previous times on the watch itself, or send them to the iPhone for safe-keeping. And I keep mixing its icon up with Timer (see below), which looks nearly identical.

17 (tie). World Clock, Timer, and Alarm

These apps have slick designs too, but not quite as neat as Stopwatch — and they're all things you can do just fine with Siri. So in my humble opinion, these apps don't need to take up three separate icons on my home screen. Plus, I mix up Stopwatch and Timer's icons all the time. I wish I could hide these icons from the home screen and either use Siri to launch the apps, or just ask Siri what time it is in another city, and have her set my alarms and timers for me.

 

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