Finding and downloading apps for your Apple Watch used to be a cumbersome process. You'd have to open the Watch app on your iPhone, launch the App Store for your Watch, and then download the apps you wanted both for your phone and watch.
No more. With watchOS 6 or higher, the Apple Watch now sports its own dedicated App Store. That means you can browse, search for, and download apps for your watch right from your wrist. Grab both free and paid apps and see which apps you've downloaded in the past and which ones need updating. And you can snag just the Apple Watch version of an app without having to also download the iPhone version.
Upgrade to watchOS 6:
First, make sure you're running watchOS 6 on your Apple Watch. On your iPhone, open the Watch app and go to General > Software Update. If you have watchOS 6 or higher, you're all set. If not, allow the latest update to download and install.
Set Up Options:
Next, you'll want to set up a few options for the new App Store and app downloads for your watch through your iPhone.Open the Watch app on your phone. Many apps designed for the iPhone also work on the Apple Watch. Let's say you're downloading such an app on your phone and you want the watch version to automatically install and appear as well. At the General screen in the Watch app, turn on the switch for Automatic App Install.
Next, go to the My Watch section in the Watch app on your phone. Swipe down the screen and tap the entry for App Store. If you download watch-compatible apps onto another device, such an iPad, and you want those apps to be installed on your watch, turn on the switch for Automatic Downloads. Then, if you want the apps on your watch to automatically get new updates when they arrive, turn on the switch for Automatic Updates.
Control Settings on Your Watch:
You can also control certain settings from your watch. On your Apple Watch, go to Settings > App Store. Here, you can turn the switches for Automatic Downloads and for Automatic Updates on and off.
Download a Watch-Compatible App:
With Automatic App Install and Automatic Downloads enabled, you can download a watch-compatible app on your iPhone or iPad, and the app will pop on your watch to try this, open the Watch app on your iPhone. At the main screen, tap the icon for App Store. You'll see a message that the App Store is now on the Apple Watch. Tap the button to Discover Watch Apps on iPhone. The iPhone App Store then opens to show you watch-compatible apps. Tap an app that interests you. Check your iPhone and then check your watch, and you'll see the app in both places.
Use the App Store on Your Apple Watch:
To use the App Store on your Apple Watch, tap the Digital Crown to get to the Home Screen and then tap the icon for App Store (it's the one with an A in the foreground with a background of blue). You now have a couple of options. Browse through a list of recommended and featured apps. Swipe up and down on your watch screen to view the list. The list is divided into a few sections. The first section displays featured apps. The second section shows your health and fitness apps to help you close your activity rings. The next sections offer more categories of apps, such as Discover New Complications and More to Explore.
Search for an App:
Alternatively, you can search for an app by name or other criteria. Swipe to the top of the screen and tap the Search field. At the next screen, enter your search name or term by dictating or scribbling it. To dictate it, tap the Dictate button. Speak your search term and then tap done. To draw your search term with your finger, tap the button for Scribble. Draw each letter one after the other and then tap done. You can then view the search results by swiping up and down the screen.
To download a free app, tap the Get button. To download a paid app, tap the price button. The first time you try to download an app, a screen pops up asking you to sign in to Apple Store. Tap the button for Password. At this point, you must enter the password for your Apple account. You can choose to do this by drawing the characters in your password or by entering it on your iPhone. To draw each character of the password, tap the Scribble button and type each character of your password. To more easily enter it via your phone, tap the keyboard icon.
View Purchased Apps and Check for Updates:
To view your purchased apps and check for updates, swipe all the way down in the App Store app on your watch. Tap the Account button. At the next screen, tap the Purchased button and then tap the My Purchases button to see the apps you've downloaded. Go back to the Account screen and tap the button for Updates to see if any app updates are waiting for you to install.