The Apple Watch may be cool and trendy right now, but as developers are figuring out how to write better apps for the device, it’s becoming much more practical, too. Compared to the iPhone’s app store, though, the Apple Watch really doesn’t have a lot of options, especially for personal transportation. More are probably coming, but there isn’t much to pick from currently.
Car companies like Hyundai, Mercedes, and Telsa are rumored to have apps on the way, but for now, those are unconfirmed. One developer even went so far as to develop an app for Tesla to use for its Model S, but that’s not official yet. Just because there aren’t tens of thousands of options doesn’t mean the Apple Watch can’t be incredibly useful, though. For your convenience, here are seven apps that will help meet your transportation needs.
1. BMW i Remote
BMW is incredibly proud of the fact that its i3 and i8 cars are “fully networked,” and as a result, it’s embraced both the iPhone and the Apple Watch. The Apple Watch app isn’t wildly different from what’s offered for the iPhone, but being on your wrist makes it a bit more convenient to take a quick look. You can use i Remote to check your car’s current battery level and range, remotely lock and unlock the car, and help you find the vehicle in the event you lose it in the parking lot.
Most usefully, i Remote allows you to remotely activate the air conditioning, meaning that even after hours in the hot summer sun, your car can be nice and cool by the time you sit down inside. If also has a few other features, such as the ability to make sure your intended destination is in range and suggestions on when to time your departure for optimal battery usage.
2. Porsche Car Connect
Unlike BMW’s i Remote that only works with two models, the Porsche Car Connect app works with a wider variety of Porsches. Equip your new Cayenne, Macan, Panamera, or 918 Spyder with Porsche Car Connect, and it will be ready to work with your Apple Watch. Much like the BMW version, you can remotely control the locks and air conditioner, check the battery level if it’s a hybrid, and get directions back to your lost car. The app can also be used to fold your side view mirrors, check to see if any doors or windows are open, monitor tire pressure, and track your total mileage.
Not all of the Apple Watch’s transportation apps require you to own a specific car, and if you can’t or don’t want to drive yourself, there’s always Uber. The Apple Watch version of the app takes the most important information from the phone app and puts it on your wrist for easy monitoring. If you want to know how far away your driver is, what your driver looks like, or what car will be arriving to pick you up, that’s all now available right on your wrist. You might not get more capability over using your phone, but it does make what you need to know more easily accessible.
4. PayByPhone Parking
One of the biggest challenges of parking in cities is that many meters still only take coins, and nobody carries that much change anymore. Even if you do have change, it’s almost always dimes and nickels, which the parking meter inevitably won’t accept. In cities that use PayByPhone, though, you can use the app to pay for parking remotely. That means no more hoarding quarters, and thanks to the ability to add time remotely, no more rushing to the meter to add extra time. From your watch, you can pay for parking, view how much time you have left on the meter, receive reminders when you need to add more time, and top off your meter.
For Apple Watch owners who rely on public transportation to get around, Citymapper offers a useful combination of services. It can plan routes between locations, tell you when your train is coming, prompt you with the right stop at which to get off, monitor bus times, and can also update you when a line has been delayed. It’s information that can all be accessed on the iPhone app, but considering how often people riding public transportation quickly check their phones, information like how long until the next bus comes would be convenient to have on your wrist.
6. Find My Car Smarter
Remembering where you parked can be difficult, especially in crowded cities or huge parking lots, but what’s even more difficult is remembering to open an app to mark your location every time you park. Find My Car Smarter is a app that solves both of those problems and is also now available on the Apple Watch. It requires plugging a device into the cigarette outlet in your car and leaving Bluetooth on, but when you park, the app automatically remembers the location of your car. It can then give you directions back to your car, how long you have been parked, and you can also set up parking meter notifications.
A lot of new cars track fuel economy, but for those that don’t or for drivers who want to keep a more detailed record of their driving, Fuel Mate provides that functionality. Logging the number of gallons you put into each fill-up and the number of miles traveled between fill-ups allows the app to track your fuel economy in each car you own. It can also track your average fuel economy and compare each tank to your average. Apple Watch-owning drivers with extremely gas-hungry vehicles may find this app too painful to use, but for drivers who want to aggressively track their fuel economy and maximize their mileage, it’s hard to beat FuelMate.