Level 2: Intermediate
The foundations of your Android Wear mastery have been laid. Now it's time to build some exterior walls...
8) Find 100 new watch faces
Your Wear watch probably comes with a half dozen or so faces. And there’s a good chance a bunch of them look like an impersonation of the impersonation luxury watch you’d find for a tenner down at the local market.
If you like the cod luxury watch look, that’s great. But there’s also an app that’ll give you easy access to a whole new galaxy of faces. It’s called Facer. Install this using the Play Store app then select Set Watch face from within the store app once it’s done. Skip back to the watch display and you’ll see… not much. But install the Facer app on your phone and you can sync over a new face in a few seconds. There’s even one based on Fallout 4’s pip-boy.
9) Turn it into your wallet
Want a new way to show off your smartwatch? Paying for stuff with it is much more effective than just getting its shiny bezel to glint in the sun. It’s all thanks to Android Pay, which lets you use a Wear watch like a contactless card.
You’ll need sync a card to Android Pay using your phone and the Pay app, but can then buy items just by waving the watch over a contactless pad in a shop. Quickly double press the function button on your watch and it’ll zap over to the Pay app, saving you from fiddling around and holding up the queue like someone trying to pay in coppers.
10) Track your sleep
Wear watches aren’t really designed to track your sleep as standard, probably because some of them struggle to last 24 hours off a charge.
You can force the watch to monitor your sleepy-time using a third-party app, though, called Sleep as Android. Download this right from the watch using the Google Play app, fire it up as you’re getting ready for bed and it’ll do the rest. For best results either wear the watch as you sleep or keep it by your pillow so it can monitor your movements.
11) Customise your watch faces
Android Wear watch faces are so customisable these days that they make the locks screen of your phone look rigour-mortis stiff.
You can choose all sorts of information to pack into them, from boring-but-useful bits like your watch’s battery life to the number of calories you’ve munched through in the day. How? It’s because some of these little watch face widgets can actually pull-in data from other apps, like food logger Lifesum.
To give your watch face a tweak, just flick horizontally to get to the watch face selection screen then tap the little cog icon under the one you want to use. You’ll see a Data option there that lets you choose these extra bits of info.
12) Personalise your apps menu
Google’s solution to making an operating system that lives in a 1in screen but doesn’t burst at the seams is to keep the bits you use every day simple. You can’t make folders in the apps menu or fiddle with how the icons are arranged. But there is a trick to avoid having to scroll through 30 of the things every time you want to use an app.
Your last-used app will end up right at the top of the screen as standard but you can also push a few favourites up there too. Just long-press on an app icon to give it this special ‘pinned’ badge. If there’s one trick to getting on with Wear 2.0 day-to-day, it’s this.
13) Master the magic button
No two Android Wear watches are the same, and the latest version of the software is designed with this in mind. Does there seem to be a spare button on the thing? There’s a good chance you can customise what this does with about ten seconds of tweaking.
Let’s take the Huawei Watch 2 as an example. It has an extra hardware button you can use to quick-launch any app you like in the Personalisation part of the Settings menu - you get to this by swiping down on the watch face and tapping the cog icon. Don’t just make do with whatever the manufacturer pre-selected if it doesn’t work for you.
14) Control it with a flick of your wrist
First world problem #10455: you have brownie mix all over your hands but desperately want to read the WhatsApp you just received on your watch. It’s heartbreaking. There’s a solution.
Turn on 'Wrist Gestures' in the Settings menu and you can scroll up and down menus and between notifications with a sharp flick of your wrist. A twist away from you pulls up a notification from the watch face, for example.
Give the watch a jangle-jangle triple waggle and it’ll head back to the watch face regardless of what’s currently on-screen too.
15) Master Google Assistant
Six useful things you can do with Google Assistant
1) Get directions - Ask to get somewhere and you’ll be plugged into Google Maps with step-by-step instructions on your watch.
2) Translations - Need to know what beer is in Spanish? No problem.
3) Set a timer or alarm - Time to bin the egg timer.
4) Send a message to or call someone - This one’s pretty obvious, but useful if you don’t mind treating a virtual assistant like a Mad Men PA.
5) Launch an app - No more scrolling down the apps menu, just say “launch X”.
6) Make a note - Here’s one of the better reasons to talk to your watch, especially as it’ll hook up with various note-taking apps like Microsoft OneNote
Six fun things you can do with Google Assistant
1) Roll a virtual die - Ask the assistant to roll a die and it’ll give you a result. You can even choose how many sides the virtual die has too
2) Get truly awful random numbers - We tried asking for a random number between 1 and 1000 and got a result under 10 each time. The system is rigged
3) Ask how old celebs are - As long as Wikipedia knows, the Google Assistant will too
4) Get awful jokes - If Christmas cracker jokes are that bit too high-end for your tastes, ask for a joke
5) “Bark like a dog” - This is just one of the many easter eggs that earns you a silly response from the Google Assistant
6) “Read me a poem” - You won’t end up with a 1000-word epic, but it’s free