The iOS Apple Watch app has a setting (General > Automatic Download > Automatically Download Apps) that is described as follows

When this is on and you have apps on your iPhone that also work with Apple Watch, those apps will automatically download and appear on your watch home screen.

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But whenever an iOS app on my phone is updated to include Apple Watch support, it gets added to my Watch, even when this setting is off.

How do I prevent newly Watch-enabled apps from downloading themselves?

  • Maybe this only applies to new apps, not updates. Maybe try downloading a new app just for debugging-purposes – Kevin Grabher May 9 '15 at 19:20
  • I wish I had a watch to test :-) My guess is it's a bug or perhaps intentional where Apple is forcing all updates which have a new watch component to drive adoption? If no one has a quick answer, you might need to call AppleCare to get an official answer - I don't see anything in Apple's documentation to explain this behavior you're seeing. – bmike May 10 '15 at 19:52
  • @bmike: I've experimented with this a bit more and see no pattern. Some apps install on the watch whenever they update, some don't seem to. All seem to install when they first acquire watch features (not really want anyone wants, I imagine). Some won't uninstall when asked to. And oddly, some that install automatically don't show the install setting as enabled. I expect this will all get fixed in an update. – orome May 15 '15 at 11:33

That setting is not working. This is Apple's Bug. I confirmed with Apple support. Latest watch os 1.0.1 still Buggy.

  • Yes, the whole thing seems to be pretty much in beta still. – orome May 22 '15 at 2:46
  • This has become such an issue that I've started uninstalling from my phone useless apps (e.g. Yelp, Foursquare, Tile) that do it. The effect, though certainly unintended, is to inspire some long-overdue app housecleaning on my iPhone! – orome Jun 11 '15 at 11:44

As temp mentioned, there was previously a bug preventing this feature from working properly.

I can confirm that Apple has fixed this bug, as the issue is not present in Watch OS 3.0.

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