​How to set up and connect Android Wear

Use our guide to get your new smartwatch up and running
​How to set up Android Wear

If you've dipping your toe into the world of wearables for the first time Android Wear can be confusing; but working out how to get your new Moto 360 2 or LG Watch Urbane set up and connected to your smartphone can be quick and simple, if you know how, and we've penned this guide to help you get started.

As we mentioned in our updated Android Wear review, Google's OS remains a work in progress, but a future of wrist-based notifications and seamless voice commands awaits.

Essential reading: Android Wear tips and tricks

Dispense with the supplied pamphlet and instead follow our painless step-by-step guide to getting up and running with your new wearable. We'll cover connecting it to your phone, installing the necessary software and configuring the linked apps.

All you're going to need is your smartwatch, your Android phone and a power socket for charging purposes, and you should allow yourself ten minutes or so to complete the process.

Note: If you're using Android Wear with an iPhone, check our dedicated guide – the instructions below are for Android users.

Android Wear 2.0 Update

The following guide is for watches still running Android Wear 1.x. We'll be updating this guide for Wear 2.0 users ASAP.

1. Unbox and get ready to connect

Your new Android Wear gadget isn't going to dazzle you with a dead battery, so make sure it's fully charged via its USB cable, proprietary charger or dock before you start playing around with it. Be careful to remove any protective covers or films first. You should see a small notification appear that lets you know when it's actually taking on juice.

2. Pair Android Wear to your smartphone

Once your watch has the power to talk to you, it'll ask you to choose a language and then tell you to install Android Wear on your phone. You can find it in Google Play, free of charge, and it will immediately request to pair with an Android Wear device.

Choose your watch from the list (probably of one) then confirm the link on both your phone's screen and the smartwatch's display. If you don't see your new gadget in the Android Wear app, make sure it's close to your smartphone and that Bluetooth is enabled on your handset in settings.

The app will also prompt you to activate notification access for Android Wear: it's just a toggle switch in settings that you'll be directed to.

3. Get to grips with Android Wear gestures

Android Wear is controlled by swiping in different directions: swipe right-to-left to see more detail about the current card, left-to-right to dismiss it, and bottom-to-top to move between apps and options on your watch.

Must see: Android Wear super guide

Swiping down from the top of the screen now gives you muting options (all, priority etc) for those cinema trips/executive business meetings. With the new Android Wear update, there's also a new movement gesture. Until now flicking your wrist has meant that the screen simply turns on but now when you are viewing Now cards you can flick your wrist away from you to go forward one card, towards you to go back.

4. Watch settings

Android Wear update

With the Android Wear update, the UI and settings has had a bit of an update.

There's now menus for Wear apps and contacts but keep swiping to get to settings in the 'old' Android Wear menu. Here you find all the ways you can customise the watch from the device itself: you can tweak the brightness, change the always-on setting, manage Wi-Fi (another new feature), activate aeroplane mode, restart the device or reset it completely if something's gone drastically wrong (or you want to flog it on eBay).

5. Phone settings

Other settings can be found in the Android Wear app you installed on your smartphone. The front screen shows you which smartwatch is connected as well as which apps are associated with which task, like the Clock for setting an alarm or Google Fit for count steps — tap on any entry to make changes.

You can also manage the always-on screen, card previews, actions and resyncing apps.

Select the small cogs icon and you're able to block notifications for specific apps, just in case you don't want your wrist buzzing every time someone sends you an email. You can also turn calendar event cards on and off, opt to show or hide cards when the smartwatch's screen is dimmed and choose to mute notifications on your phone when connected to the watch.

6. Change your Android Wear watchface

One man's Rolex is another man's Casio, and every Android Wear watch has a number of watch faces that you can choose between.

You can now browse and install over 50 watchfaces from Google Play including a fresh batch of 17 'designer' watchfaces from the likes of Bang & Olufsen and Muji and a Google Fit watchface.

There's also a range of round watchfaces designed for the Moto 360, LG and Huawei smartwatches. Once installed, tap and hold on your smartwatch's screen to bring up the gallery — swipe left and right until you see something that matches your mood and sartorial style. Tap once to select it.

7. Troubleshooting

There's not much that can go wrong with the Android Wear setup process — if you encounter problems, that old IT favourite of rebooting your devices should be able to clear up any issues.

As we've already mentioned, Bluetooth needs to be enabled on your phone for the devices to talk to one another: you should be able to find the option prominently displayed in the Settings app, but it's exact location will vary depending on the version of Android your phone has.

If you're having trouble pairing, keep the smartwatch close and make sure there aren't any Bluetooth headphones or other devices nearby.

Guide: Installing apps on your Android Wear smartwatch

Shop for recommended Android Wear watches on Amazon

Sony SmartWatch 3
Sony SmartWatch 3
Huawei Watch
Huawei Watch
Polar M600
Polar M600
Nixon The Mission
Nixon The Mission

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  • Alliance123 says:

    i have question. I have an apple IPhone 6 plus. I want to buy LG-G smart watch. this watch can work with IPhone 6 plus or not ?. even I have loaded android wear in my phone 6 plus. but I want to confirm if it can work so that I can buy the watch LG-G smart watch,

    • enochho says:

      Yes you can, you probably already know this by now. You just need to make sure that your watch is updated to Android 5.1, if not, then you need an Android phone to update it first and then you do a factory reset and you can pair it with your iPhone with either the official Android Wear app or Aerlink

  • paddysminder says:

    I have been trying unsucessfully to get my wear app to connect  with my Hi watch 2 but to no avail, the app will pair with my mobile, but then freezes saying trying to connect.

    I have read all your guides and the only thing I can come up with is that because my mobile is running Android 4.1.1 its some how not compatible, is that the reason please.

  • Joshua1972 says:

    hopefully someone can help just bought a nice smart watch. But some reason I cannot get my contacts from phone (Sony z3) I've got about 8 numbers showing but not recent ones 

  • yvettey says:

    Do I have to keep the android wear app running in the background? I dont want it to drain my phone battery

  • syed says:

    hi ,

     I have bought NO.1 D5 smart watch android version 4.4.2 and my phone is one plus two which is 5.1.1 but when i m connecting through bluetooth both deveice paired and not connecting android wear displays updating and this is showing updating never ends i have waited hours but no use. i have good wifi connection too . please any body can help me to solve this issue.

    • Stevey says:

      I have just got the No1 D5 , Besides all the clock faces built in there is a lot of support for this watch.  XDA developers have got loads of faces for it with easy instructions to follow, just download them on PC and drop them on your watch. I don't think Android wear will work  with these type of watches,I don't think I'd like to try in case it messes it up. There's also good videos on YouTube about No1 D5.

    • toukas94 says:

      hello i have the same problem did you find it??
      thank you

    • toukas94 says:

      hello i have the same problem did you find it??

      thank you

  • peter-ackers says:

    Will Androidwear work with the i95 smartwatch from gearbest.com, I tried it once but after its paired it says Updating..... and seem to go on forever.

  • insecto says:

    hi, i haven't got an android phone... could I still used this kind of devices just on my computer?


  • Dabest says:

    How to set up / pair Android Wear to My Smartwatch u9 DZ09 ?

  • olanlefevere says:

    can i connect a lg watch urban to my BT headphones

  • dandsp02 says:

    I had my android watch stolen. I have a an IPhone 6 but used my mom's Android phone to set up my watch. Is there a way to track and see where the watch could be? 

  • JCA says:

    how do you change the time and date on the watch?  Not able to get that option

  • adithyark says:

    In order for the phone to have it's notifications muted, does the bluetooth always have to be on? I have a Fossil Q Marshal and a Droid Turbo. The option for muting phone notification is ON and the app says it is connected to the watch (over wi-fi) but the phone notifications haven't been muted. Anybody else experienced this?

    Note: The watch is indeed connected. I do receive notifications. Only the muting does not happen. 

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