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Develop for the Apple Watch

With AppBuilder, you can extend your hybrid mobile app for iOS with Apple Watch capabilities. This lets you develop application bundles which run on the iPhone and on the Apple wearable.

Currently, you can develop for the Apple Watch using Apache Cordova 4.0.0 or later, JavaScript or TypeScript, HTML and CSS.

For a general idea of how an Apple Watch bundle developed with AppBuilder looks like, you can review and clone the Apple Watch demo app.

What Are Apple Watch Bundles

An Apple Watch bundle consists of the following components, wrapped as an IPA application package.

  • A host app, running on the iPhone. This is your main app.
  • A watch extension, running on the iPhone. It takes care of the communication between the host app and the watch app.
  • A watch app, running on the watch.

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Create an Apple Watch-Enabled App

To prepare your app for Apple Watch development, you need to complete the following steps.

  1. Create an app for hybrid development.
    You can start from any template or a sample app. You can also clone the Apple Watch demo app from this repository.
  2. Add the Apple Watch plugin from the Telerik Verified Plugins Marketplace.

IMPORTANT: You need to add the Apple Watch plugin from the Telerik Verified Plugins Marketplace. If you import it from archive as a custom plugin, you will not be able to build your app into an application bundle.

After enabling the Apple Watch plugin inside your app, you can develop your Apple Watch functionality using the plugin APIs. For more information about the plugin API reference, see the plugin README.md.

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Configure Your Apple Watch-Enabled App

All configuration options available for Apache Cordova apps are available for Apple Watch-enabled apps. For more information about modifying your app setup, see Configure Your App.

To be able to develop and build for the Apple Watch, you need to make sure that your app meets the following configuration requirements.

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Build and Run Your Apple Watch Bundle

Because Apple Watch-enabled apps are Apache Cordova apps, you can build and run them as a regular Apache Cordova app with the following limitations.

Deployment Target Apple Watch Support
iPhone and paired Apple Watch
The device simulator
The developer app
The native iOS Simulator

In this version of AppBuilder, you can run your Apple Watch bundle only as an application package on a pair of real devices. On real devices, you can deploy via cable or via QR code. For more information about the available deployment options, see the following resources.

Each Apple Watch bundle component must be properly code signed for your app to run on an iPhone paired with an Apple Watch. For more information about code signing Apple Watch bundles, see Code Signing of Apple Watch Bundles.

The first time you deploy your Apple Watch bundle on device, you need to configure the built-in Apple Watch to show the watch app on the wearable device.

  1. On the iPhone, run the built-in Apple Watch app.
  2. In the My Watch view, locate and tap your newly deployed app.
    The Apple Watch app lists your app with its display name.
  3. Enable Show App on Apple Watch.
  4. Enable Show in Glances.

On the Apple Watch, the watch app will begin to install and the watch app icon will appear after a successful installation.

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LiveSync for Apple Watch Bundles

In this version of AppBuilder, you cannot LiveSync changes to the watch app component. You can only LiveSync changes which affect the behavior of the host app running on the iPhone.

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Debug Your Apple Watch Bundle

In this version of AppBuilder, you can debug only the host app component of the Apple Watch bundle. For more information about debugging with AppBuilder, see Requirements for Debugging on Device and Debug on iOS Device.

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Distribute Your Apple Watch Bundle

Because Apple Watch-enabled apps are Apache Cordova apps, you can build and run them as a regular Apache Cordova app. For more information about the available distribution options, see Distributing Your App.

Each Apple Watch bundle component must be properly code signed for your app to run on an iPhone paired with an Apple Watch. For more information about code signing Apple Watch bundles, see Code Signing of Apple Watch Bundles.

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Troubleshoot Your Apple Watch Bundle

When you attempt to deploy and run your Apple Watch bundle, you might experience one of these issues.

The bundle begins installing but never finishes. The icon is grayed out and its label never changes from Installing... to the display name.

This indicates a problem with your code signing configuration. Usually, one of the Apple Watch provisioning profiles does not include the correct devices or is not configured.

Make sure that you have properly configured the application identifier, the certificate and the three provisioning profiles for your bundle. For more information about code signing Apple Watch bundles, see Code Signing of Apple Watch Bundles.

After deploying the Apple Watch bundle on the iPhone, the watch app is not present on the Apple Watch device.

The first time you deploy your Apple Watch bundle on device, you need to configure the built-in Apple Watch to show the watch app on the wearable device.

  1. On the iPhone, run the built-in Apple Watch app.
  2. In the My Watch view, locate and tap your newly deployed app.
    The Apple Watch app lists your app with its display name.
  3. Enable Show App on Apple Watch.
  4. Enable Show in Glances.

On the Apple Watch, the watch app will begin to install and the watch app icon will appear after a successful installation.

After enabling Show App on Apple Watch and Show in Glances, the watch app component does not install on the Apple Watch. The wearable device shows an Invalid bundle - no Apple Watch binary error.

This is a sporadic problem reported by the Apple Watch developer community. Restart your Apple Watch and try enabling Show App on Apple Watch and Show in Glances again.

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