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Watch Dependence

I have reached the unfortunate conclusion that RECaf’s watch app will not be able to go fully independent this fall with the release of watchOS 6. While you have always been able to log from your wrist using the app or Siri shortcuts, I was hoping folks who didn’t want to keep RECaf installed on their phones would be able to continue using RECaf on their wrist.

There are simply too many things that can’t be done on watchOS alone at this point, however. So for now, you’ll have to keep that phone app installed.

What’s missing?

  • HealthKit queries on watchOS are limited to about 7 or 8 days worth of data. If RECaf does a sample query for all your caffeine, it will only get the last 8 days or so. I need 30 days to calculate your average caffeine intake. I need 60 days to figure out your most frequent sources and amounts and offer those for quick logging. For now I will have to continue calculating this on the phone and sending the data to the watch.
  • You can’t subscribe to changes in HealthKit in the background. If you log some caffeine using your phone or with Siri, the watch will have no idea that log happened until the app is launched. That means I can’t update your complication without using direct messaging from the phone to the watch.
  • No in-app purchase. You can’t subscribe to RECaf without launching it on your phone. There is no mechanism for purchasing on the watch at this point. I had planned to work around this by having you launch RECaf on your phone just once after installing. That would have been a terrible user experience, but I was willing to accept the trade off before I discovered the other limitations above.

This doesn’t mean RECaf won’t get some great improvements in watchOS 6. I’m working hard on a major update that will make the watch component of RECaf more independent. (You will be able to log all sources, not just your frequent items, for instance.) It just won’t be completely untethered from your phone just yet.

I’m sure Apple is aware of these restrictions and is planning on giving Apple Watch even more power in the coming years. But in the meantime, I suspect fewer apps than you might be hoping will be going fully independent in the short term.