How to Add Apps to Apple Watch (watchOS 10)

* This article is from our Tip of the Day newsletter. . *

Most apps on the Apple Watch need to be downloaded via the iPhone before you can download them directly from the App Store. However, if you've downloaded the app previously and it's still in your iCloud, you can re-download it to your Apple Watch without your iPhone. But did you know that you can automatically download the companion watchOS version of an app you’ve added to your iPhone? You can also turn this feature off and choose only specific apps to download to your Apple Watch if you'd like to save space. Here's how it works!

Why You'll Love This Tip:

  • Choose to turn automatic companion app downloads on or off for your Apple Watch.
  • Download apps in your iCloud directly from the App Store to your Apple Watch without using your iPhone.

How to Re-Download Apps from the App Store on Apple Watch

System Requirements

This tip requires an Apple Watch running watchOS 9 or newer and an iPhone running iOS 16 or newer. Find out how to update to the latest OS.

While you need your iPhone to download most apps on the Apple Watch from the App Store, you can re-download previously downloaded apps to your Apple Watch even if your iPhone is out of reach. If you like learning about using Apple devices, be sure to sign up for our free Tip of the Day!

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  1. On your Apple Watch, tap App Store.

    Open App Store
  2. If it's your first time opening the App Store on your Apple Watch, tap Continue.

    app an app to apple watch
  3. Search or select an app you'd like to download to your Apple Watch.

    apple watch app store
  4. Tap Get.

    Tap Get to download app
  5. Double-click the Side button to install the app.

    Double Click Side button to install
  6. Enter your Apple ID password to confirm.

    Enter Apple ID password

The app will re-download to your Apple Watch. This can take a few minutes, so be patient and don't turn off your Apple Watch.

How to Turn Automatic Companion App Downloads On or Off

When you download an app to your iPhone with this feature turned on, if there is an Apple Watch version of the app, it will automatically be added to your Apple Watch's app library. This is a great feature for the convenience of having many similar apps on both devices. However, you may choose to save your Apple Watch storage or simply declutter the apps you have installed on the watch. Here's how to turn the feature on and off. 

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

    download apps on apple watch
  2. Tap My Watch.

    apple watch app store
  3. Tap General.

    app download on apple watch
  4. Toggle Automatic App Install on or off, depending on your preference.

    app store download apple watch
  5. Tap the Back button.

    app store on apple watch
  6. Under Available Apps, tap Install next to the apps you want on your Apple Watch.

    use apps on apple watch
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Author Details

Rachel Needell's picture

Author Details

Rachel Needell

Rachel Needell is a Feature Writer at iPhone Life, and a poet and author. With 10-plus years of experience working with Apple devices, she specializes in all-things iPad and is a Notes App expert, having worked on both the 2023 iPad Guide and the Notes App Guide. You can usually find her writing in the Daily Tip newsletter as one of our senior Tip writers. Rachel received her Master’s degree in English Literature in 2021 and her most recent work appears in the Winter ’21 edition of New Note Poetry. When she’s not obsessing about Apple products, you can find her voraciously reading fantasy books with her cat in Asheville, North Carolina.