In my last tutorial I showed you how to take a screenshot of your Android Wear watch. Today, with the use of this fresh knowledge, I will show you how to install apps on Android Wear to really make the most of your watch and enhance its functionality.
Installing apps on Android Wear is actually extremely easy. All you need to do is follow a few simple steps I am about to show you. Let’s begin.
A Word About Android Wear Apps
You have probably noticed that once you unbox your wonderful new watch and turn it on for the first time (and connect it to your Android phone), it seems to already have a number of preinstalled apps (the ones you have on your smartphone).
These are not strictly Android Wear apps but simply apps from your Android phone which can (and will) send alerts and notifications to your watch.
However, your Android Wear watch would be useless if it could only show you notifications form the apps you installed on your phone. Unfortunately, many people are not aware that there are actually many apps designed especially (and only) for Android Wear watches. There is even a section in Google Play only with wearable apps.
Let’s now get into more details about how you actually install new apps on your Android Wear device.
How to Install Apps on Android Wear Step by Step
As I mentioned in the beginning, installing new apps to your Android Wear watch is extremely simple. All you need is your watch, your Android phone and the connection to the Internet (which you obviously have). Ready to start installing apps?
Make sure that your Android Wear smartwatch is connected to your Android phone
To do that, simply turn Bluetooth on and the devices will automatically pair (assuming you have paired them previously and they know how to “talk” to each other).
To check if your smartwatch is connected to your phone, open the Android Wear app on your phone and make sure that is says Connected below the name of your watch.
Start browsing the apps using the Android Wear app.
The easiest and most convenient way to browse apps available for your device is to use the Android Wear app installed on your Android phone. Here is all you need to do:
- Tap on Browse apps or MORE once you open the Android Wear app.
- You will go to the Google Play section devoted to Android Wear apps compatible with your smartwatch. As you can see there are quite a lot of apps for watches and they are divided into different categories for your convenience.
Install the chosen Android Wear app
Your next step is to tap on the app you are interested in and click INSTALL (and ACCEPT permissions).
On the example I used NextBattery as my watch really needs some battery-saving app or an app that would help me analyze battery stats.
Wait until the app finishes installing. You will see the notification that the app has been installed on your watch and your phone.
Run your new Android Wear app (from your watch and/or your phone)
Your watch will now prompt you to start the app. Tap on the app to use it for the first time.
From now on the app you have just installed will be available in the list of apps on your watch and, of course, on your Android phone. You can use the app both on your Android phone and your watch.
Depending on the type of app, what the app shows on the screen of your phone and your watch will either be duplicate or different. In the case of the NextBattery app I installed, it shows different stats (on my phone it shows battery stats of my phone and on my Android Wear watch it shows the stats of the watch).
If you are using some sports tracking app like Endomondo (where your watch acts only as a second screen), you will see the same data both on your phone and your watch.
Thanks to the Android Wear app, you can also easily control and manage app notifications displayed on your watch. To do that click on the settings icon in the top right corner and then choose Block app notifications.
You will now be able to choose the apps you don’t want to display notifications on your Android Wear smartwatch. This is an extremely useful feature as there are probably many apps (relating to your phone only) which you don’t want to bother your watch.
The NextBattery app is one of such apps that should be blocked from displaying notifications. It is an app purely for displaying stats and if you ever need to see the battery stats of your watch you will simply launch the app on your watch.
Add an app as default
Depending on the model of your watch (and what features it offers), there is a number of actions it can perform (and default apps you can add for these actions).
In the case of my Sony SmartWatch 3, I have the following actions available: Navigate, Start a bike ride, Start a run, Start a workout, Take a note and Call a car.
If you have just installed the app that is used to perform one of these actions, you can easily add it as default. All you need to do is tap on the action and choose the app.
From now on, whenever you start one of these actions on your Android Wear watch, it will automatically launch the app you set as default.
Do you now know how to install new apps to your Android Wear device? Did you manage to add new apps to your device?
Post me your comments if you have any questions or comments. I would love to hear from you.