How to master...Android Wear 2.0

Amaze friends and astonish pets with your newfound mastery of Google's smartwatch OS...

The first time you try on Android Wear it can feel as thin as a £2 Primark t-shirt.

It doesn’t have millions of apps like a phone. And it doesn’t have more power than some laptops… like a phone. But this isn’t a piece of cotton. It’s a smartwatch system with loads of depth hidden behind its ultra-simple shop front.

Here are the tips and tricks you need to learn to get the most from Android Wear 2.0.

Jump to:

Level 2: Intermediate | Level 3: Advanced

Level 1: Beginner

Staring at your new Android Wear watch with a look of bafflement? Here's where to start...

1) Change your face

Ready for your smartwatch 101? One of the first things you’ll want to try is changing your watch’s face. Just swipe right-to-left on the watch face to bring up your array of ‘favourite’ faces.

To start with there’ll just be a few in here. Scroll to the right and you can add more to this selection from the list of all the installed ones. Google’s own watch faces are pretty good if you don’t mind looking like the rest of the (small) smartwatch-owning crowd, but there are also loads more available to download from Google Play too.

2) Using the watch as a phone-unlocker

If you’re not too worried about your friends or co-workers tweeting about how much you love Bieber on your account as soon as your back is turned, you can make your phone auto-unlock whenever it’s connected to your watch.

The phone is secure should you accidentally leave it somewhere, but you don’t have to type-in your pin or use the fingerprint scanner 700 times a day. All you need to do is add the watch as a ‘trusted’ device in the Secure Lock part of Settings on your phone. You can actually do this with any Bluetooth device, but a smartwatch is just about perfect for the job.

3) Find your phone

Here’s a feature that stares you right in the face, but is still ignored by most of the smartwatch owners we know. It’s called Find My Phone and could end up being the feature you use most often if you’re, y’know, a bit scatty.

It should come preinstalled on any Wear 2.0 watch (it’s called Find my Phone), and simply makes your phone ring after a few seconds: just to it doesn’t instantly start bleating in case you accidentally run the app. Smart.

4) Streamline notifications

Getting notifications on your wrist can turn into a bit of a nightmare when Candy Crush starts complaining you’ve stopped playing every 4 hours. Thankfully, you can choose exactly which notifications get a boarding pass onto your wrist.

You do this in the Android Wear app on your phone. Just tap the little cog icon at the top of the screen, then select Block App Notifications in the menu that pops-up. Here you can add to the blacklist of apps that send you notifications you really don’t need to see on your wrist.

5) Cinema-proof your smartwatch

If you’re in the cinema: don’t talk, don’t eat anything too noisy and don’t take your phone out to, well, do anything. Your smartwatch screen should be off too.

Thankfully it takes about 1.5 seconds. Just swipe down, or flick your wrist down (with gestures enabled), from the watch face then tap the little icon that looks like a watch. This will kill the screen until you press the power button.

6) Eke out more battery life

Want your smartwatch to last a week between charges? Don’t buy an Android Wear watch. The only ones that get close to this are those that can shrink back into basically being fitness trackers.

Still, if you’re going on holiday and don’t want to have to charge the thing every day, your best bet is to turn off the always-on screen function. You get a worse smartwatch in return, but sometimes needs must, eh? Swipe down from the watch face, tap the little cog icon, then Display. Now un-toggle “Always-on screen” down at the bottom of this menu.

7) Make friends with Google Assistant

If you want to really get into the smartwatch life, you’re going to have to swallow your pride and embrace talking to your watch. Sorry. On the bright side, at least a Wear watch doesn’t talk back to you like Siri.

There are two quick routes to accessing the Google digital assistant. You can just say “OK Google” while using the watch or, if you want to keep the chat to a minimum, just long-press the power button.

Jump to:

Level 2: Intermediate | Level 3: Advanced