IPhone User Guide How to Fall in Love With Android Wear

When you buy an Apple product, you’re investing more in the ecosystem than any other company, but that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with just what they have to offer. If you’re a wearable lover, you’re missing out on the opportunity to overlook Android Wear , even if you’ve chosen iOS as your primary mobile platform.

Is Android Wear right for you and your iPhone?

I wanted to love the Apple Watch . While wearable devices have never seemed incredibly useful to me, the idea of โ€‹โ€‹a smart device on my wrist seemed incredibly cool. But the Apple Watch was a big disappointment . I never liked the look of it. Square clocks have never matched my personal aesthetic. The rest of the Apple Watch felt like just a dumb phone with a tiny screen. I’m not sure what product Apple thought they were making.

While Google’s Android Wear isn’t a perfect alternative, the platform understands its limitations and focuses on what it can achieve despite them. Even on the iPhone, Android Wear offers many great features. I even found that they maintain a more reliable connection with my phone than my Apple Watch. However, the two platforms are very different. Android Wear focuses on cards and activities, while the Apple Watch focuses on apps. I think the app paradigm makes sense on a phone, but doesn’t work well on a watch. Google’s interactive prompts make a lot more sense, and Google Now instantly provides a ton of information with simple voice commands. However, if you want to use your watch as a secondary screen for your phone, you shouldn’t go for Android Wear. If you want a quick information screen with simple actions and access to quick answers on your wrist in a fashionable package, then this is it.

Select the clock and set it

You don’t really need a step-by-step explanation on how to set up your Android Wear watch with an iPhone, because the watch will walk you through the process. Instead, I’ll give you a basic overview and show you how to get around some of the quirks.

First of all, you need to buy an Android Wear smartwatch that actually works with the iPhone. I chose the LG Watch Urbane because I have them on sale. If money wasn’t in the equation, I would go for the Moto 360 v2 because of its smaller size. These are two of my favorite versions that work with iOS, but you have others to choose from:

Over time, we’ll definitely see more options that are compatible with iOS, but at the time of this writing, there were just a few to choose from. For your reference, here are some popular models that DO NOT work (so DO NOT buy them ๐Ÿ™‚

  • LG G Watch
  • Samsung Gear Live
  • Moto 360 (v1)
  • LG G Watch R
  • Sony Smart Watch 3
  • Asus ZenWatch (1)

Once you select your watch, the setup is pretty quick. Here’s the gist:

  1. Charge your new watch, or at least insert it into the charger during setup.
  2. Download the Android Wear app for your iPhone and open it.
  3. Tap the three vertical dots in the upper right corner, then tap Pair New Wearable.
  4. Check your watch for a pairing code, then tap Pair in the Android Wear app. Wait a minute or two until a confirmation message appears.

Once you’ve done that, there are a few things you’ll be able to tweak. Your phone and watch will guide you through this process, and you should pay close attention to it. If you don’t go through the setup process successfully, it’s not going anywhere, so just deal with some of the annoying tutorials that Google is foisting on you. Either way, it can help in the long run.

There are several things you should consider when choosing your notification settings:

  • Google apps work best and offer more features , so you should use them as often as possible. For example, all apps can display notifications, but almost all non-Google apps cannot provide action notifications. For example, if you’re using the Gmail app on your iPhone, you can archive the message right from your watch. If you are using a different email application, you will not be able to. There is a workaround, but we’ll talk about that later. For now, just know that if you choose to use Google Apps, specifically Gmail and Google Calendar, your watch can do more.
  • Card previews are useful but intrusive , so you can turn them off. By default, preview is turned on, and you can turn it off in the settings on your watch or in the Android Wear app. Basically, the card preview is at the bottom of your watch, waiting for you to interact with it, and will cover up a portion of your watch face. Since the watch at least vibrates to notify you when something comes in, and you can quickly swipe up to access your notification timeline, I see no reason to clutter things up with previews. You can disagree. Either way, you should be aware that you can turn off the preview if you find it more annoying than helpful.
  • Be sure to turn on Google Now, or you’ll miss out on most of the benefits of Android Wear on iOS. Google Now provides a ton of information based on what Google knows about you. It also helps you better answer questions when you say โ€œOk Googleโ€ and ask your watch a question. If you missed enabling this setting during setup, you can always go to your watch settings or the Android Wear app to turn it on.

After all this, you are pretty much set up and ready to go. You don’t need to organize anything, just wait for a few notifications and do whatever you want with them. If you have a request, say “Ok Google” and put it on your wrist. (Note: Some watches require you to touch the screen to wake them up before listening.) While you can swipe to check the weather and other information, there are two ways to interact with your Android Wear device. majority. Keep this in mind as we move on and find out how to get the most out of your watch.

Check out the menu

An Android Wear device hides its features and settings behind three different corners of the screen. Let’s take a look at how to access each of them and what you can do when you get there.

Quick settings

If you swipe down from the top of the clock, you can quickly access some of the settings. These will vary depending on the watch, and you can choose what appears, but you will most likely be greeted with the volume settings. I keep the watch silent all the time, so it only vibrates, but you can set whatever you want there. Swipe from right to left to open additional options. The only thing worth highlighting, in my opinion, is Theater Mode. When you go to a movie, a play, a presentation, or anything else your watch might interfere with, just turn on Theater Mode and the watch will turn off the screen, sounds, and vibration functions until you activate them again. Finally, scrolling to the end of the quick settings lets you open the full settings if you didn’t find what you were looking for.

Application menu

Swipe the watch face from right to left to open the app menu. While I don’t really consider Android Wear to be an app-based platform – especially since you can’t officially install apps when paired with an iPhone (no additional downloads, discussed later) – you have a few things available, like Weather, Calendar, Fitness. , alarm clock, timer and translator. If you swipe right to left from this menu, you will open Google Now and can use voice commands to get what you want. Of course, you can just say “Ok Google” for the same functionality and avoid it all. Again, some watches require you to wake up by tapping before you bark commands, so keep that in mind.

Notifications

When you swipe up from the bottom of the watch face, you’ll see the latest notification. If you keep swiping up, you will move on to the next one. Swipe from left to right to dismiss this notification. However, swiping from right to left will show you all the available actions. Due to Apple’s limitations, interactive notifications on your watch are nearly impossible with most apps. However, with Google apps, you have more options. Check out the next section if you need more information on how to get actionable notifications even if you don’t want to use Google apps on your iPhone.

Make your notifications more useful

Active notifications make your watch a lot more useful, but you pretty much only get this feature with Gmail, Google Calendar, and phone calls. You can answer and reject calls from your Android Wear device anyway, but you need the Google apps installed on your phone to use mail and calendar. With it, you can reply to calendar invitations and archive email by swiping and pressing on your wrist.

But what if you don’t want to use Gmail and Google Calendar? What if you like, say, airmail and Fantastical ? Well, you can still use these apps on your phone, as well as install Gmail and Google Calendar. With a tiny tweak, you can block notifications where you want them to avoid showing a double image:

  1. Install Gmail and Google Calendar on your iPhone. Customize them.
  2. Open Settings on your iPhone and turn off notifications for Gmail and Google Calendar in the Notifications section. (If you run into any problems in the future, you may need to turn off notifications, but still allow them to appear on your lock screen. This shouldn’t be necessary, but some people have problems and you should try this first. if you end up troubleshooting no notifications on your watch.)
  3. Open Settings in the Android Wear app and go to the Locked App Notifications section. Click “+ Add Apps to Block List” at the bottom and select your email and calendar apps. Or, just wait until the app you want to block displays a notification on your watch, swipe from right to left, and then tap Block App. It will be the same.

Once you’ve got all this set up, you’ll receive activity notifications on your watch from Google apps and notifications from preferred third-party apps on your iPhone. You can also use the lock the way it was designed to, so you don’t have to see notifications from apps you don’t need. When you are setting your clock, you might consider blocking some other apps for your peace of mind.

Customize your watch face

One of the coolest parts of Android Wear is the ability to customize your watch face. While you can do this with most smartwatches, you have a lot more control over Android Wear. Google limits your choices on iOS to the many options you can choose from within the app, but there are ways to get around this, and we’ll get back to that in a minute.

In the meantime, you can press and hold the screen of your smartwatch to flip through all the watch faces available to you. If that’s not enough, open the Android Wear app on your iPhone and browse the watch face gallery to find more options. You will have some limitations and the installation process will be very slow, but some of them are pretty cool and there should be something suitable for most people.

But I’m not most people. I like certain styles and information on the screens of my device, so I decided to take a completely personal approach. We won’t go into details here, but I’ve written some specific instructions on the process if you want to go beyond what Google allows for you in the Android Wear iOS app.

Explore and discover the features of your watch

Android Wear does have limited functionality on iOS. You can do a little more with an Android phone, but that shouldn’t stop you from using this specialized product. If you like to laze around and explore, you have options. If you want to do more, you should also check out these resources:

  • If you want to download Android Wear apps unpublished, you can follow roughly the same watchface instructions I wrote here . If you need specific instructions (which are actually pretty much the same as the ones I gave you),watch this video . Keep in mind that not all apps will work when downloading unpublished apps for various reasons, including the fact that many require the internet connection your phone provides (unless this watch has its own Wi-Fi or cellular data connection , but that’s a big “if”). The old XDA dev thread was used to keep track of what worked, but no one else maintains it. You can use it as a reference, but prepare yourself for a lot of trial and error.
  • If you need a convoluted path to more features and have an Android device close at hand, you can use Aerlink . WonderHowTo offers several detailed setup instructions .
  • Naturally, you can unlock the bootloader and root the device to expand its capabilities. There are the usual risks of potential damage to your watch, loss of data, or general breakdown. Remember this before diving into the case.

This simple platform has a lot to enjoy, even with Apple’s limitations, and you can expand your options as you see fit. While Android Wear with iOS will likely never match the functionality it has on its own platform, you can still get more out of your smartwatch with these tips and tricks.

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