Our Android Wear 2.0 guide is a brief tutorial to using Google’s smartwatch OS, offering a quick look at some of the most useful features. We’ve also compiled our best tips and tricks on how to get the most from your Android Wear 2.0 watch, including the most essential apps you need to download straight away and how to get better battery life.
What is Android Wear 2.0?
Most mobile phones run Google’s Android operating system, while the majority of smartwatches run the Android Wear OS. This allows your watch to pair with your phone and deliver essential features and functions right to your wrist, for added convenience.
When paired to your mobile, Android Wear gives you all kinds of great functionality. You’ll get full notifications support, so your watch will alert you to any new messages or calls. No need to pull your phone out of your pocket unless it’s an important alert. You can even respond directly to messages via your watch, using your voice or a miniature keyboard.
Other vital information will also be displayed on your smartwatch’s screen. So for instance, when you’re pounding the pavement you can quickly and easily track your workout and see how many calories you’ve burned. Or you can see turn-by-turn navigation directions on your wrist, when hunting down a new place.
Best of all, you can further expand the features on your Android Wear watch simply by downloading new apps from the Google Play store.
Check out our handy Android Wear explainer to find out more about this smartwatch OS.
Do I need an Android smartphone to use an Android Wear watch?
No, you don’t. One of the great things about Android Wear is its flexibility. Not only with Android Wear watches work with pretty much any Android phone you can buy right now, but they’re also compatible with Apple’s iPhones.
To get the two working together, all you need to do is download the Android Wear app from the App Store onto your trusty iPhone. This can then be used to pair your smartwatch with your Apple mobile.
Note that not all Android Wear 2.0 features might work with an iPhone.
What are the best Android Wear 2.0 watches?
This early in 2017, your pick of best Android Wear 2.0 watches is rather limited. In fact, the only one we’ve reviewed so far is the Huawei Watch 2, which was just launched over at MWC 2017. This chunky plastic wearable also comes in a ‘Classic‘ edition with a stainless steel finish, and packs all the modern features you’d expect. That includes full water resistance, built-in GPS support, heart rate sensor and swappable wrist straps.
Hang on a bit longer and the LG Watch Style and LG Watch Sport will also hit the UK, again offering Android Wear 2.0 out of the box. You get NFC, GPS and a cellular radio in the Sport version, while the Style ditches these features for a more refined finish.
And of course some older Android Wear watches will be getting the upgrade to Android Wear 2.0, if you don’t mind older specs for a reduced asking price.
How do I update my Android Wear watch?
Android Wear smartwatch updates should automatically be detected by your device. When this happens, a message will pop up on both your watch and your phone, asking you if you wish to update the software. Just follow the instructions to proceed.
However, you can also check for updates manually. To do this on the old version of Android Wear (in other words, to check for an update to Android Wear 2,0), just swipe down your watch’s display from the main clock face. Then swipe left until you spy the settings menu, tap this and scroll down to About. Inside this menu you’ll see the System Update option.
Tap System Update and your watch will check for any waiting Android Wear updates. If one is found, you’ll be prompted to download and install the update.
If you already have Android Wear 2.0 on your watch, you can also check for the latest OS updates. However, the method is slightly different as the menus have changed.
From your watch’s main face, swipe down and then tap the cog icon. Scroll all the way down the settings menu until you see System and give this a tap. Scroll down some more and you’ll see System Updates. Poke this and you’ll be told if an update is ready, or if your watch is bang up to date.
What are the best Android Wear 2.0 apps and games?
You can download a massive selection of new apps and games to your watch via the Google Play store. Best of all, Android Wear 2.0 now gives you the option to directly download, bypassing your phone entirely.
Check out our in-depth guide to the best Android Wear 2.0 apps to see our favourite smartwatch apps in 2017.
How to get better battery life from your Android Wear 2.0 watch
If your Android Wear 2.0 watch is suffering from pretty pathetic battery life, there are thankfully a few ways of sorting this out. If you head to the settings menu you’ll find lots of little feature toggles that you can deactivate, for instance, as well as a couple of handy tools like the hibernation mode.
Check out our guide to getting better battery life from your Android Wear 2.0 watch, which gives you plenty of tips and tricks for extending your wearable’s life between charges.
How to use Google Assistant with your Android Wear 2.0 watch
Google Assistant is a built-in feature with Android Wear 2.0. All you need to do is turn your watch on (wake it up) and then say ‘OK, Google’. The Assistant should then pop to life, to accept your voice commands.
If this feature isn’t working for you, check in the settings to ensure the Assistant is enabled. You can do so by dragging the notification bar down and tapping the cog, then heading to Personalization. In here you’ll find the ‘OK Google detection’ option. Just make sure this is turned on and you should be good to go.