"The watch is really about convenience," said Ray Wang, principal analyst and founder of Constellation Research. "You're not going to spend so much screen time on your watch.”


Wang is speaking for most of us Apple Watch users, who have found the arm candy to be a lifesaver in most cases.


“So I think the secret of building a good Apple Watch app is to think of it as an accessory in addition to something. Very few people use it as a standalone unless it's for fitness or health, or some kind of monitoring."


Apple Watch just celebrated its fifth anniversary and it’s a time of app-y celebration. When Apple Watch launched in 2015, it had 3,000 apps available to download; today, there are 20,000, with 21 built into the device. With many more apps popping up each day, Wang believes the most useful tools are the ones for checking messages, the weather, and reminders.


Take a look at some of the top native Apple Watch apps that the great people of CNET have so kindly provided:

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

  2. Cycle Tracking:
    Women can use the Cycle Tracking app to log details about your menstrual cycle, including flow information and symptoms such as headaches or cramps. Using that data, the app can alert you to when it predicts your next period or fertile window is about to start.

  3. ECG:
    If you have an Apple Watch Series 4 or later, you have an electrical heart rate sensor that works with the ECG app to take an electrocardiogram (sometimes called an EKG by cardiologists).

  4. News:
    The News app will help you keep up with current events on the fly, showing you stories that it selects based on your interests. However, it's not available in all areas.

  5. Breathe:
    The Breathe app helps you remember to take a few minutes each day to do just that: breathe (which might be especially handy after checking that News app). You can also check your heart rate during those breath 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 swipe around on the watch face and move through the Apple TV menu options, and play or pause shows.

  7. Camera:
    You can't take a picture with your watch itself. 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 get everyone in that big group shot.

  8. Walkie-Talkie:
    The Walkie-Talkie app lets you use your watch as a walkie-talkie to chat with another person wearing an Apple Watch. You also have to accept an invitation to connect with someone through the app -- they can't just start talking to you.

  9. Voice Memos:
    Like on the iPhone, you can use the Voice Memos app on your Apple Watch to record personal notes and things to remember while on the go. The voice memos you record on the watch will automatically sync to any other iOS devices where you're signed in with the same Apple ID.