How to master...Android Wear 2.0


Very good, young padawan, but you still have much to learn. Much to learn you still have...

16) Get your IFTTT on

If there’s a feature that seems missing from your watch, there’s a good chance you can graft it in using IFTTT (which stands for “if this then that”). When something happens, it fires off a reaction in your watch.

It sounds like programming, but you don’t even need to spend an hour learning how to do this. All you need to do is download the IFTTT phone app, and you can make a Wear-ready “applet” in a few seconds.

Top uses include sending an alert if the weather report says it’s going to rain tomorrow, showing a quickie preview of any phone camera images on your watch’s screen and controlling your Hue lights with a press of a button in the IFTTT Wear app.

17) Get a new keyboard

To become a true jedi master of Android Wear, you have to get your head around typing on a keyboard that fits on half of a 1in screen. It’s as painful as that sounds, to start with. But just like an Android phone, you don’t have to put up with Google’s own version if you continue to find it has comfortable as jamming your pinkie in a pencil sharpener.

Just search for ‘keyboard’ in Google Play on the watch and you’ll find a bunch of alternatives, including TouchPal. To use one of these keyboards, download them from Google Play, then go to Settings > Personalisation > Input methods and then flick ‘on’ the toggles of the new keyboard(s). Then simply long-press the keyboard while typing to change the one you actually use.

18) Make your own watch face

If you’re the kind of person who likes to accessorise their clothes with rips/badges/patches/pigeon feathers, you may well like the idea of making your very own watch face. This isn’t a Google feature, but something added by the clever folks at Androidslide.

Download Watchmaker and you can not only make as many watch faces as you like, element by element, but also download reams of them made by other people. You’ll want the paid-for Premium version to actually make a fully-featured face, but given the flexibility on offer, we think it’s worth the few quid Androidslide charges.

Download Watchmaker

19) Get WhatsApp ready

There’s no dedicated, standalone WhatsApp app for Wear yet, but you can actually read and reply to messages without one. When a message comes in, just tap on it (don’t swipe it off!) and then scroll down through your recent blabbering to see the reply options.

There will be a few canned responses in here, but also the option to speak or type your own reply using Wear’s miniature keyboard. Just make sure you read what Google makes of your scrawl before sending, as it has come up with all sorts of weird replies so far based on our swipes.

20) Make your finger a stylus

One of the most ambitious parts of Wear 2.0 is a feature that lets you handwrite messages or search terms using your finger as a virtual pen. We wouldn’t suggest writing your first novel like this, but you need to give it a shot at least once.

The easiest way to switch over to this kind of ‘keyboard’ is to go the Google Play app, tap the magnifying glass search icon then long-press the little keyboard icon. This takes you to the screen where you choose your keyboard. Select Google Handwriting and then get your best stylus finger ready.

21) Become a developer

Learning to develop Android apps and games takes time and effort. Loads of it. You can trick your watch into thinking you’re a dev in about 30 seconds, though.

Flick down from the watch face, tap the cog icon and then scroll right down to the bottom of the Settings menu. Tap system, then About. Now repeatedly tap the Build Number entry and after a few seconds you’ll see a prompt telling you you’re a developer.

Now you just wait for the millions in royalties to roll in… Not really. What this does is to open up a Developer Options menu in Settings. You’ll want to leave most of the options alone, but can do things like force the watch screen to stay on while charging and control how quick animation transitions are.

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