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What I Learned From My First Watchkit App

Until Then AppI decided to test the Apple Watch waters by adding WatchKit support to my app Time Until. Time Until is a simple app that let’s you track how long it is until an event happens. You can track how long it is until Christmas or your spouses birthday, for instance. I thought it would be a good test app to learn the basics of WatchKit and the app submission process.


I decided to price the app at $2.99. If it were a more complex app, I would have started at $4.99. I don’t think anyone has a good idea of how well apps that have the WatchKit extension will do. I could see a nice bump in sales or nothing. I’m sure whatever I do, I’ll feel like I left money on the table.

What I Learned

  • The WatchKit extension does not share the same NSUserDefaults as the base app. You will have to make a shared NSUserDefaults group. You do this in ‘App Groups’ in the capabilities section of you target. Xcode will automatically create the group and handle the entitlements. Here’s a nice stack overflow response I found.
  • You don’t have to have a ‘Glance Interface’ if your app doesn’t need it. Time Until just needs a table view with a refresh button, so I only implemented the ‘Home Interface’ view controller. At first I thought I would have to have a glance interface too, so it was nice to find documentation that I didn’t need that.
  • When you add the WatchKit extension, you will probably have a few classes or third party frameworks you want to share. Just like all different targets, you have to link them in the build phases tab of the WatchKit extension for the class to be available to your WatchKit extension.
  • If your icon has much detail, you are going to want to create a simpler version for the WatchKit extension. It will also use a different asset catalog. See the link below for more details.
  • You will need a screenshot for iTunes Connect. You can save screenshots the same way as you do in the regular simulator. Command-S

iOS Simulator Screen Shot - Apple Watch Mar 31, 2015, 9.50.00 PMApple has a nice landing page for preparing your app for submission. I ran into your typical Xcode validation errors regarding icon sizes, etc. Other than those frustrations, adding the extension was mostly painless and didn’t take much time.

Chris Beshore

I'm an indie iOS developer based in Kansas City, MO.

This Post Has 6 Comments
  1. Very interesting article… But I’m trying to understand one thing (even if I think to know the answer I want to be sure…): I read about games for Apple Watch… But does it means either it is needed to do the same game for iPhone and allow users to play it on the watch too (ugly) or it could be enough a settings, about, tutorial, etc… page on the iPhone ? I think, after reading some docs that the answer is the first one but you? What do you think about?

  2. You’re a hard guy to reach so I’m trying here. 🙂

    I downloaded your app “quit that”. And noticed that it doesn’t really work as intended with ios 14. It wont show up in the new app library view. But it can be searched for and added to home screen.

    I saw that it hasn’t been updated in 2 years. Så perhaps you’ve abandoned that project. But if you find the time, I would appreciate if you did an update so it works as intended with ios 14.

    And thanks for a great app! Hopefully I will manage to quit eating candy with the use of that app!

    1. Hi. I sold Quit That in 2020. You can look up the new developer in the Apple Store I think. Hopefully, it will be updated soon. I know he had plans for the app. Thanks for reaching out and glad you like the app. I’ve retired from app development myself. I had my hand in too many things and needed to focus :). I’m a book seller now!

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