How to Download Apps for Apple Watch

By Marc Saltzman

While Apple Watch OS is a brand-new platform, expect the development community to fully embrace it right out of the gate. If the incredible success of Apple’s App Store is any indication — for iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch) and OS X (Mac) computers — developers will want to capitalize on Apple Watch. Imagine the millions of customers who are wearing this new gadget on their wrists and the different ways they’re going to want to customize that experience with apps.

In case you weren’t aware, developers make 70 percent on paid apps, with the remaining 30 percent going to Apple. Thus, an opportunity exists to make some serious cash by creating a must-have app for Apple Watch.

“The more you wear Apple Watch, the more you’ll realize just how personal a device it is,” says Apple on its website. “Because with so many different apps available, you can choose the ones that are most relevant to you and create a customized experience.

“There are already apps for airlines, department stores, social networks and more that take advantage of the unique opportunities the wrist brings. And with new apps being built for Apple Watch every day, this is just the beginning,” adds Apple.

How does one go about downloading apps?

From the App Store — but not the same App Store as the one on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac nor can you download apps for Apple Watch through iTunes on a Windows PC or Mac. It’s a separate store solely dedicated to Apple Watch.

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And no, you can’t download apps on the watch itself. But the Apple Watch App Store is built into the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.

To use the Apple Watch App Store on your iPhone, follow these steps:

  1. On your iPhone, tap the Apple Watch app.

    The black icon with a silver Apple Watch is preinstalled with iOS 8.2 — and no, you can’t delete it from your iPhone (even if you don’t have an Apple Watch). Tapping the app launches the App Store for Apple Watch.

  2. Tap the Featured tab along the bottom of the screen to see some recommended apps to get you going.

  3. Find apps to download based on what’s featured or by category.

    For example, you can tap the See All tab beside Get Started to open up a list of popular apps. Alternatively, tap the Search tab in the lower right of the iPhone screen if you’d prefer to look for something by keyword instead of browsing.

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Many of the Apple Watch apps are free, and most require a nearby iPhone to get the most from them. In fact, remember Apple Watch apps always have a companion app for iPhone; therefore, you need to have enough storage on your iPhone — not just on the watch.

For any App Store you like to shop at, it’s a good idea to read the full description of the app and check out the screenshots before you download to ensure it’s for you before you waste your time, data, and, perhaps, money. Also, read reviews by those who’ve already used the app.

After you download Apple Watch apps, they automatically sync to your watch. In other words, you don’t need to do anything to copy apps over to the watch. The moment the Apple Watch and iPhone are synced over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, whatever you downloaded is transferred to your wrist.

But if you want to manage the apps on your Apple Watch, including ones you no longer want or perhaps to tweak the layout of them, you need to use the Apple Watch app on your iPhone. Simply launch the Apple Watch app on your iPhone and then tap My Watch, where you can uninstall apps you no longer want on your Apple Watch.

Unless you have a generous data plan, only download large apps on your iPhone when you’re in a Wi-Fi hotspot. A couple megabytes is fine if you’re using cellular data, but anything larger than that should be done using wireless broadband. Some games can be a couple gigabytes in size (1 gigabyte is roughly 1,000 megabytes).