Google is preparing to overhaul Wear OS smartwatch backups

New features could also be heading to Google Wallet on the wrist
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Google appears set to deliver a much more comprehensive backup system for Wear OS smartwatches, with app data, device settings and watch faces all set to form part of new save files.

That's according to an APK breakdown from 9to5Google, which indicates that version 22.42.12 of Google's Play services will help to collect much more than previous backups.

These revamped Wear OS backups will be opt-in, it seems, with Google then initiating them automatically when a smartwatch is connected to power and Wi-Fi simultaneously. The option should be available through the settings sections of either the watch itself or its companion app, with Google One being used to store the backup.

From what's described, watch face colors, styles and complications will all be registered, as well as the order Tiles are placed. If you're frequently using third-party Wear OS apps, restoring one of these new-style backups will also see the likes of Wi-Fi passwords and permissions carried over, as well as the app itself.

This feels much more akin to restoring backups with the Apple Watch, which is often a breeze when switching from one device to another.

It's not just the backups that are set for improvement, either, with tweaks coming to Google Wallet on the wrist.

As part of the same update to Play services, users should soon be able to receive info on transit passes, such as balance or expiration dates, as well as details and alerts regarding flights or events.

It's all relatively minor stuff in the grand scheme of things, of course, but, as we say, it's also the kind of thing that brings the Wear OS experience more into line with the industry leader, Apple's watchOS.

The more Google continues to match it, the more realistic it will be that it can mount a serious challenge in the future.

It's not yet clear whether these features will be exclusive to watches that can run Wear OS 3 - or, indeed, when the update will fully roll out - but we'll update this story when we know more.

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Conor Allison


Conor moved to Wareable Media Group in 2017, initially covering all the latest developments in smartwatches, fitness trackers, and VR. He made a name for himself writing about trying out translation earbuds on a first date and cycling with a wearable airbag, as well as covering the industry’s latest releases.

Following a stint as Reviews Editor at Pocket-lint, Conor returned to Wareable Media Group in 2022 as Editor-at-Large. Conor has become a wearables expert, and helps people get more from their wearable tech, via Wareable's considerable how-to-based guides. 

He has also contributed to British GQ, Wired, Metro, The Independent, and The Mirror. 

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