Put your Apple Watch to work. MidiWrist Unleashed transforms the device into a standalone Bluetooth MIDI controller, complete with touch and motion controls, for use with your Mac, iPad and iPhone apps, and even Bluetooth LE devices.

App superstar developer Geert Bevin is at it again, this time turning his attention to Apple’s wrist wearable. And he’s come up with something plenty of us dreamt of when we first saw smartwatches. Using the touch interface on the watch, you get knobs, buttons, an X/Y pad (wrist KAOSS!), and transport controls. There’s even a manual “Stepper” panel that lets you set custom MIDI controls (both via the touchscreen and Digital Crown). You can configure custom trigger and encoder panels, assigning MIDI (including via MIDI learn) and customizable colors.

This isn’t just a novelty or “hey look at all my Apple devices” – there’s stuff that makes more sense on a wristwatch than anywhere else. Let’s say you’re an instrumentalist or vocalist working on sessions. Now you can quickly trigger the transport during takes, and scrub through playhead positions on the Digital Crown. Even an iPhone can be a lot to juggle in those cases (plus it’s more distracting).

And then there are the motion controls. The Apple gadgets are now the motion-sensing sources you’re most likely to own already. The watch here can send roll, pitch, yaw, and acceleration as separate control streams – using gestures instead of knobs. That’s again useful in cases when you don’t have space or a free hand for another device, and I can quickly imagine plugging this into something like Unreal Engine. (I’m going to try that… tonight, in fact.)

MidiWrist Unleashed sxreens, showing knobs with parameters, triggers, motion controls, transport, X/Y pads, custom MIDI stepper, and menus.

Geert has considered a ton of little details of the interface and haptic feedback – and dealt with the headaches that I expect may be the reason other developers didn’t finish off an app this comprehensive. For instance, Apple requires you to start a workout in order to begin using the motion controls. (Hey, can we plug into the Health APIs so we can see how our MIDI fitness is doing, Geert?)

All of this is exquisitely well documented including a walkthrough with Animoog Z. I think I’m most excited about using this with Kymatica’s AUM host.

It’s beautifully designed, exactly as we’d expect from the person who was a driving force behind MPE and has helmed Moog’s app efforts through all their great stuff.

This also means you have an ultra-portable control rig with an iPad or even an iPhone – the latter getting a little cramped on its own as a performance device without additional control. So a lot of folks will have two devices ready to go. I maybe got a little grumpy with Geert over his recent obsession with Apple Vision Pro, just in that that device, while impressive, to me has all the hallmarks of “expensive boondoggle limited to a very small market.” The Apple Watch is a mature device you can easily pick up cheaply (especially with a contract or an older model – sometimes even as a free bundle). I literally don’t know one person apart from Geert who owns a Vision Pro, but I see Apple Watches all the time.

It’s also a great case study for MIDI over Bluetooth. That spec is not limited to Apple devices, though it’s sadly not nearly as widely adopted as it could be. Geert doesn’t mention Android, but technically, Bluetooth MIDI is supposed to be a default there, as well (see the Android docs). There are also some custom apps and drivers you could try if it isn’t working.

Tom Igoe has actually put together a useful page on MIDI BLE, too, which includes even Arduino and embedded devices:


So yes, maybe some student out there is reading CDM, has your end-of-semester project due, and you can hack together something with Arduino and your watch and… yeah, do send that to us, if so.

Windows users, you should be covered, too, either with a third-party driver or ideally using Windows 10 Anniversary Edition or later; see:


And Linux, being Linux, of course now has baked-in support. That also means Raspberry Pi works, so your RasPi + Apple Watch dreams can come true – even without a Mac or other iThing in sight!

I’m curious to hear how this works for you. It’s not the first Apple Watch app, but I hadn’t seen another that’s particularly reliable or easy before this one. (That’s understandable – you need Geert powers to pull this off.)

Thanks to Geert for providing advance access; this is just a terrific app.

US$14.99 well spent:

MidiWrist Logo MidiWrist Unleashed

I endorse this rig:

Geert's hand underneath an overhead camera rig in the studio, with a KORG minilogue xd looking on.