The Apple Watch has come a long way in five years, and apps are only starting to catch up. Many Watch apps received the majority of their development attention with the first or second versions of watchOS, before the days of LTE service, independence, and SwiftUI. Those early Watch apps were hamstrung by OS limitations, but in the last few years as the platform has evolved, most apps never adapted to what’s possible now.
Things 3.12, releasing today, exists for just that purpose: it addresses the task manager’s former Watch client shortcomings, making it a truly capable companion for Things on iPhone, iPad, and Mac.
Things’ new Watch app has been completely rebuilt from the ground up so that everything just works better than ever before. The UI remains virtually untouched, but the few new features plus under-the-hood improvements make a big difference.
Sync is perhaps one of the biggest areas of frustration I’ve encountered with Watch apps over the last five years. iPhone-to-Watch communication has just never been as solid as it should be, including with Things, where updates to the Watch app depended on its iPhone counterpart. This wasn’t a problem if you only used Things on those two devices, but most users also depend on the iPad and/or Mac versions, and often changes in those places wouldn’t be reflected on your wrist. Now that issue’s solved thanks to Things Cloud coming to the Watch.
Starting today, Things for Apple Watch depends on Things Cloud for its syncing. With a free Things Cloud account, which most Things users will already have, the Watch client now gets its data directly from the cloud rather than relying on its iPhone companion; you’ll see this in action thanks to a helpful cloud icon that indicates syncing is in progress.
Whether you’re near your iPhone or away from it, Things for Apple Watch will stay up-to-date on changes made across all your devices automatically. This change means that another previous frustration – Things’ complications being inaccurate – has been solved too; complications now update in the background based on the latest Things Cloud data.
Alongside Things Cloud’s debut on Apple Watch, there are a few other key new features such as the ability to add new to-dos to Today rather than the Inbox. This has always been the behavior I’ve wanted from Things, so I’m delighted to see the option added via the app’s Settings screen.1 Also, when creating new tasks you can now write them out with watchOS’ Scribble feature rather than being limited to dictation. Finally, if you’re a multi-Watch user Things now works across multiple devices, and you can remove dates from tasks in your Today view via the date picker.
Things was relatively feature-rich on the Apple Watch before, but due to its reliance on older watchOS technologies, it wasn’t able to provide as reliable an experience as Watch users deserve. I’m thankful that’s changed today with the debut of version 3.12. Things for Apple Watch is no longer a second-class citizen to its iPhone, iPad, and Mac counterparts; rather, thanks to Things Cloud integration it’s become just as rock-solid as those other versions.
Things is available on the App Store.
- Force-press anywhere in the main view to find the Settings screen. ↩︎