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How to Find and Install Apps on Your Apple Watch


Once you get the hang of installing apps on your new Apple Watch it’s no big deal, but if you’ve just peeled the protective film off you’re probably left a bit puzzled as to how your new watch works. Let’s take a look at how to get apps from your iPhone to your watch.

If you’re smartphone veteran, be it on iPhone or Android doesn’t matter, you’re used to the routine. Open the app store application for your device, find the app you want, click “Install” and you’re done.

When it comes to installing applications on your Apple Watch, however, things are a little trickier than simply selecting the application in the App Store. Let’s take a look at how to find apps and install them on your watch.

Locating Apple Watch Compatible Apps

Not all iOS applications are inherently compatible with the Apple Watch platform (Watch OS) but there are certainly lots of developers on board with the watch. You can find apps for your watch via two methods. First, you can look for them via the traditional method in the App Store application on your iOS device or by browsing application listings on the Apple web site.

When you’re browsing apps via the App Store application any app that has a companion Apple Watch/Watch OS app will have a designation beneath it, “Offers Apple Watch App” like so.


By combining search terms like “fitness tracker” and “apple watch” you’ll quickly turn up lists of apps with the “Offers Apple Watch App” designation.

It’s far more expedient, however, to search from the actual Apple Watch application as it has a built-in App Store interface fine tuned just for Watch OS apps.


If you open the Apple Watch app and tap the “Featured” star in the bottom navigation panel, you’ll launch the watch-centric app store with suggested apps and app genres just like the full-fledged app store.

We’ve been meaning to see if there is an app for our favorite to-do list software, Todoist, so let’s search for that now with the search feature.


Great! There is a watch app! Now here’s where it gets a little tricky. The “Open” button would make it seem like we already have the watch app installed, yes? If you tap open, however, it opens the Todoist app on our iPhone and has nothing, really, to do with the Watch OS app. In order to get the app on our watch we need to install it manually from the Apple Watch app. Let’s look at how to do that now.

Manually Installing Apple Watch Apps

Continuing with the example above of the Todoist watch app, let’s look at the Apple Watch application and how to install the Watch OS app. To do so we need to open up the Apple Watch app and scroll down the main screen past the default entries like “App Layout” and “General” down into the list of Watch OS applications until we find the name of the application whose Watch OS companion app we wish to install.


Select the application.


In the application submenu you’ll always find the entry “Show App on Apple Watch”, often find “Show in Glances” (although not every application offers support for the Glances view on the Apple Watch).


At minimum you need to toggle “Show App on Apple Watch” to install the application and, if you wish, you can add it to the list of Glances by toggling “Show in Glances”.


Once it finishes installing you’ll find the application on your Apple Watch by tapping on the digital crown of your watch and selecting the app from the displayed applications, as seen above. Once the app is launched you can use the crown and/or on screen touch navigation, depending on what the developer has enabled; in the final screenshot above you can see us accessing our Todoist project list, for example.

Enabling Automatic Installation

One final tweak you may wish to enable is to toggle on automatic installation so that as you install applications on your iPhone that have companion Apple Watch apps then those apps will be automatically installed on the watch.


To do so simply open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone and select “General”.


Then under the General settings select “App Install”.


Toggle “Automatic App Install” on and in the future all companion apps will be automatically installed on the Apple Watch with no intervention on your behalf.

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