Android Wear on iPhone: Our guide to getting your Google / iOS smartwatch fix

Android Wear on iPhone: Our guide to getting your Google / iOS smartwatch fix

What you can and can't do with Android Wear on iOS and what devices will work
Android Wear on iPhone guide

Google recently announced that Android Wear compatibility with an iPhone is finally a possibility. What Android Wear for iOS enables you do is to pair your iPhone with your Google flavoured smartwatch.

So, if you've longed for the upcoming Moto 360 2, or the Huawei Watch, or even the Asus ZenWatch 2, but are tied to Apple's mobile operating system, you won't have to wait any longer. With Android Wear on iOS, you'll have the best of both worlds. Sort of.

Read on to find out what you can and can't do with Android Wear on your iPhone; what devices will work; and how you'll set everything up...

Android Wear on iOS: What devices work?

Android Wear on iOS guide

Officially, Android Wear for iOS currently only works with LG Watch Urbane. It will be available for future versions of Android-based watches from the likes Huawei, Asus, Sony and Motorola.

However, we have been able to successfully pair older Android Wear devices with our iPhone, including the Moto 360. The key is having the latest version of the Android Wear firmware (currently that's version and then hard resetting your smartwatch before attempting to pair with an iOS handset.

To make sure your Wear software is up to date, simply go to Settings > About > System updates.

On the fruity side of the setup you'll need an iPhone 5, 5c, 5s, 6, or 6 Plus running iOS 8.2+. No iPads allowed. Sorry.

Android Wear on iOS: Initial setup

Android Wear on iOS guide

Pairing with an iPhone is a fairly straightforward affair. Simply fire up the Android Wear device and select to pair a new Android Wear device.

You'll be prompted to enter a Bluetooth pairing code and you'll also have tick a number of boxes for various permission prompts - Google Fit data, location, Bluetooth Low Energy - in order to make your Android Wear watch anywhere near useful.

It will then update the watch's software to the latest version and present you with an Android Wear tutorial.

Bear in mind that you'll need to have reset your smartwatch first - you can't pair a watch with both an iPhone and an Android phone. You can, however, have more than one smartwatch synced with the iOS app.

Android Wear on iOS: What it does

Android Wear on iOS guide

Due to Apple's enforced restrictions with iOS, the Android Wear experience isn't an exact replica of the Google smartphone one.

Apple doesn't allow competing app stores on the iPhone, so third-party Android apps are not allowed. That means you'll be limited to what's baked into your smartwatch - i.e the basic Google apps.

You will, however, get push notifications from your iOS apps right on your Android Wear smartwatch. That doesn't just mean texts, emails and calendar reminders, either - we're talking the whole third party shebang.

Essentially, anything that shows up in your iPhone's notifications panel will land on your smartwatch as well - WhatsApp, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, BBC News... the lot. And a nice touch is that, if you swipe to dismiss the notification on your wrist, it also dismisses it on your smartphone too (the notification, not the whole message).

Google Now is on board - you can toggle the settings in the companion iPhone app - so you'll get traffic reports, football scores, diary reminders and much more.

Android Wear on iOS guide

Incoming calls are also a part of the process although, like the Android experience, it's only really useful to dismiss a call - there's no point answering one as you can't speak through an Android Wear smartwatch.

Music controls work - we've tested with Apple Music, Spotify and YouTube - although album artwork doesn't seem to be transferring across with any of these.

Your Android Wear device will count your steps and provide the basic activity metrics of Google Fit - on the smartwatch only though, it's not transferred across to Apple Health or anything like that.

Android Wear on iOS: What it doesn't do

Android Wear on iOS guide

As mentioned, there's no third party app support. So, if you're looking forward to using Android Wear app extensions from the likes of The Guardian, Endomondo or Todoist, you're going to be disappointed.

Replying to texts or messages from the app is also out of the question - apart from Gmail emails. You can turn on rich Gmail previews from within the iPhone app and from there you can reply to your messages. Be warned though, there's no preview - the watch will simply ping your reply as soon as you finish speaking it. Risky business.

Android Wear on iOS guide

Offline music storage and playback doesn't appear to be part of the package either - so bad news for Bluetooth streamers.

The "OK Google" commands are very limited. There's no way of setting up a "Call me a cab" for example. You're limited to Google searches and actions within Google's own apps.

Android Wear on iOS: The iPhone app

Android Wear on iPhone guide

The Android Wear iPhone app is stripped back to say the least. It will show you your paired device (and you can add others) but the apps section of the Android equivalent is simply a section called 'Tips', which just tells you how to perform basic actions like setting an alarm or entering a calendar entry.

The settings menu lets you change all the basic options like screen dim, card previews, blocked apps and so on - and you can also set what calendar you want the watch to sync with: Apple's or Google's.

You can also change the watch face although, as no Google Play access is on offer, you are limited to the official Android Wear designs, as well as around 15 more that Google has deemed appropriate - these need to be dowloaded separately.

More Android Wear guides...

How to set up and connect Android Wear

Android Wear hidden secrets, tips and tricks

Best apps for Android Wear

How to install and use apps on Android Wear

Custom watch faces Android Wear update


  • ZJNM says:

    Did you mean ios 8.0.2 for ios 8.2

    • ZJNM says:

      Ios 8.0.2 or ios 8.2

  • pcumming says:

    Can you explain how you download the separate 15 watch faces?

    "You can also change the watch face although, as no Google Play access is on offer, you are limited to the official Android Wear designs, as well as around 15 more that Google has deemed appropriate - these need to be dowloaded separately"

    • MattFromPhilly says:

      You have to be in the Android Wear app on the iPhone. Where it says Watch faces with three to choose from, click the MORE button. That shows you all of the default faces. At the bottom hit Get more watch faces to go to the additional options. For each one, you have to select it and then hit INSTALL. Any that you already installed will show UNINSTALL instead.

  • Brady says:

    Would I be able to put apps like Endomondo or Golfshot on my Sony Smartwatch 3 if I have it paired with an iPhone?

  • pauls says:

    What about heart rate sensors? Can for example my strava app on the iphone access heart rate date?

  • Tmatysij says:

    how do you open app on iPhone so watch stays connected?

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