5 mistakes everyone makes with Wear OS

Become a Wear OS pro by avoiding these simple mistakes

Samsung Galaxy Watch4
(Image credit: Samsung)

I've been using Google's smartwatch operating system, Wear OS (previously Android Wear), since it was first launched all the way back in 2014. Whether that's on the popular Moto 360, that weird-looking Sony SWR50 SmartWatch 3, or, most recently, the excellent Samsung Galaxy Watch 4.

Up until recently, Wear OS has always seemed full of promise but was often let down by feeling half-baked. Now, though, with the help of Samsung and the addition of One UI, Wear OS feels like a genuinely excellent rival to Apple's watchOS.

Everybody uses their Wear OS smartwatch in different ways, especially as there are so many variations out there, but there are some things we all do – and some mistakes I think most of us make too. These are the top five mistakes everyone is making with Wear OS.

1. Assuming all Wear OS smartwatches are equal

One of the biggest differences between the Apple Watch and Wear OS smartwatches is the amount of choice out there. With the Apple Watch, you can choose between the Apple Watch Series 7, Apple Watch SE and Apple Watch Series 3, and although they offer a different number of features, they all offer a similar experience and level of polish. Basically, whichever model you choose, you know you're getting a quality smartwatch. The same can't be said for Wear OS smartwatches, with a number of different brands, models, and price points, all offering different experiences.

To make sure you're not buying the wrong Android Wear smartwatch, read T3's best smartwatch guide for up-to-date reviews and recommendations.

2. Not using the Google Assistant voice control

One of the best things about Wear OS, and Android in general, is Google Assistant. It's especially useful on smartwatches, where the small screen can often be difficult to use. 

Wear OS can be activated using the OK Google phrase (although this does drain the smartwatch battery quicker) and can be used to do anything you'd usually use Google Assistant for on your phone or Nest hub. I personally like to use it for dictating Whatsapp messages.

Google Pixel Watch

(Image credit: Google)

3. Not downloading new watch faces and apps

One of the best things about Wear OS is the number of watch faces and apps available for the system – this is especially apparent if you're coming from an Apple Watch which only lets you choose watch faces designed by Apple. Sure, you might be content with the watch faces and apps that come pre-installed on your Wear OS smartwatch of choice, but you're still missing out on a huge number of third-party options out there.

There are also apps which add even more functionality to your smartwatch. It's great for people who like to tinker with their technology.

4. Not pinning your favourite apps

As I mentioned previously, smartwatch displays are smaller and sometimes fiddly to use. This is especially true when you're trying to select an app from a long list of installed apps (which also move around depending on how recently you've used them).

If there is an app (or several apps) that you use regularly and often find yourself hunting for in the app list, then you can pin them to the top of the app list. This moves them to the top of the list permanently, so you'll save time scrolling. This is one feature I really wish I'd found sooner.

5. Accepting all notifications

One of the best things about smartwatches, aside from the health and fitness benefits, is the ability to display notifications from your phone. In some cases, it's much more convenient to look down at your wrist when you get a notification than it is to pull your phone out. 

There's no denying it can be a nuisance, however, especially if your phone is filled with apps that constantly ping you with irrelevant information. You can block specific apps from sending you notifications on Wear OS, this will certainly help cut down the levels of annoying distractions.

As the Style and Travel Editor at T3, Spencer covers everything from clothes to cars and watches to hotels. Everything that's cool, stylish, and interesting, basically. He's been a part of T3 for over seven years, and in that time covered every industry event known to man, from CES and MWC to the Geneva Motorshow and Baselworld. When he's driving up and down the country in search of the greatest driving roads, he can be found messing around on an electric scooter, playing with luxury watches, or testing the latest fragrances.