I thought the nukes that Apocalypse controlled in X-Men: Apocalypse were simply going to wipe out the planet, but rather than that he just shot them out into space. Why did he do that? (Instead he later had a more complicated and less reliable device for destroying the earth: Magneto.)

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Well, he did this to weaken the power of mankind. Nukes are the most powerful weapons mankind has. They make the weak seem artificially strong and his plan was to turn the world into some kind of apocalyptic crucible for weeding out the weak.

He also gave the message that these weapons, in which mankind has so much faith, are unreliable.

I thought the nukes were simply going to wipe out the planet.

He didn't want to wipe out the planet. He wanted to create a better world, according to him, which he will rule upon.

He said this while sending nukes in the space.

No more superpowers.

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