​How to set up and connect Android Wear

Use our guide to get your new Wear smartwatch up and running

You've bought yourself a shiny new Android Wear watch, and a world of wrist notifications, smart gestures and mini apps awaits. But first you need to get your watch hooked up to Wi-Fi and your phone.

With Android Wear 2.0, watches like the Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45 and Emporio Armani Connected can do much more on their own, but you'll still need to tether them to your phone for managing apps and watch faces, and controlling a few other functions. We've penned this guide to get you up and running in no time at all.

Essential reading: Android Wear tips and tricks

Note: If you're using Android Wear with an iPhone, check our dedicated guide – the instructions below are for Android users. We're also using an Android Wear 2.0 watch, though the setup process is largely the same for older versions of the software.

1. Charging and connecting

How to set up and connect Android Wear

To get ready to connect, you need your new smartwatch fully charged up, your phone nearby, and the official Android Wear app installed on your mobile. It's possible to link several smartwatches with a single phone, though you can only have one connected at any one time.

Read this: Android Wear v Apple Watch

Power up your watch if you need to (usually with a long push on the power button) and it will automatically take you through the setup process, so just follow the instructions on the watch screen.

How to set up and connect Android Wear

You'll need to choose your language (on the watch), then launch the Android Wear app (on your phone) — if Bluetooth is enabled on both devices, you should see a prompt inside the app to get connected straight away, but if not choose Add a new watch from the menu at the top. When you see the watch name appear, select it and confirm the connection.

That's all there is to it. The Android Wear app then checks for updates, which might take some time to download, and you'll also be asked which of the Google accounts registered on your phone you want to use with your watch (this syncs contacts, messages, music and so on over). Occasionally we've had a problem where it can't sync the account during setup. If that happens, don't worry, just skip this step and you'll be able to do it again (with guaranteed success) later.

2. Getting started with Android Wear

How to set up and connect Android Wear

After a few more minutes of waiting you'll see a message confirming everything is connected, and then it's time to start playing around with your new smartwatch and exploring all the features it's got to offer.

You can, for instance, change around the watch face either through the Android Wear app on your phone or by swiping to the right on the existing watch face itself. Browsing faces is probably easier on your phone, so tap the More button next to Watch faces to see a selection, and tap Get more watch faces to see even more. Meanwhile you can tap and hold on the watch face on the watch itself to set which information is displayed or customize the themes/colours if the option is available.

How to set up and connect Android Wear

There are also some settings you're going to want to play around with - on the watch, drag down from the front screen then tap the cog icon. You can adjust font size, screen brightness, and turn the "always on" mode on or off under the Display heading, for example, while under the Gestures menu you can turn certain gestures on or off, like tilting your wrist to "wake up" the watch face.

The Android Wear app on your phone has some settings of its own: just tap the cog icon from the front screen (top right) then choose your watch to see them. The options let you check battery and storage levels, and configure the "always on" and "tilt-to-wake" features we just mentioned. From the main Settings menu you can also block certain apps from generating notifications on your phone.

3. Installing apps

How to set up and connect Android Wear

With Android Wear 2.0, watch apps can do much more without the help of a connected phone. Tap the power button on your watch to see existing apps, and choose the Play Store entry from the list to find new ones — a lot of them you'll recognise from browsing the Google Play Store on your phone. Just tap on any app to install it.

If you have a smartwatch running the latest Android Wear software, you should also check out the built-in Google Assistant. Hold down the exterior crown button, speak out your query, and the Assistant will get back to you: try asking what the weather's like, or telling Google Assistant to set an alarm.

How to set up and connect Android Wear

4. Set up Android Pay (if it's available)

If your new smartwatch comes with an NFC chip inside, you'll be able to setup and use Android Pay, which we reckon is one of the must-use features if you can use it.

To set this up you'll need the Android Pay app on your phone first. Then go to the Android Pay app on your watch where you'll be prompted to set up a new card or add an existing one. Just follow the procedure on your phone from that point, which will include verifying your card with your bank and ensuring you have a security lock on your watch.

You can also set a shortcut to Pay, either one of the physical buttons or a complication on the screen. We're including Android Pay in our guide because we think it's a great feature, and one you should get running out the gate. There's a more comprehensive guide to Pay here.

5. Troubleshooting

The Android Wear 2.0 watches we've tested are much more reliable than earlier models at getting (and keeping) a connection to your phone, but if you do run into trouble then check the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections on the watch are up and running — choose settings from the apps list and you'll find them under Connectivity.

A reset will often help iron out any bugs you might come across, and you can force one through the System menu in Settings. You should also make sure Bluetooth is enabled on your phone as well as your watch, and keep it away from other Bluetooth devices (such as headphones) while you're trying to connect.

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  • Alliance123·

    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·

      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·

    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·

    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·

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

  • syed·

    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·

      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·

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

    • toukas94·

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

      thank you

  • insecto·

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


  • Dabest·

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

  • olanlefevere·

    can i connect a lg watch urban to my BT headphones

  • dandsp02·

    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·

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

  • adithyark·

    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. 

  • Kingmoe·

    does it works of a lg g5 phone

  • Jasonlcs·

    Hi Guys,

    My story is I have a Tag Connected and after factory resetting Samsung S7 Edge, although it shows connected on my watch, my phone shows nothing. Tried restarting my watch several times and reinstalling my app. Finally I decided to reset my watch. Best decision ever!! Straight away everything worked and all was well again.

    One reason why I didn't want to reset my watch in the first place was that I was afraid I had to reinstall everything on it. Turns out, I didn't have to. The watch was fine with most of my apps in it plus when you connect it to your phone, they will suggest what apps you have on your phone that you can install on your watch. Problem solved!!

  • Moby79·

    I have purchased a Michael kors Access Dylan which was upgraded to 2.0 version and this only showed the reject button for the call.

    I accessed the apps list and permissions and by chance turned on or off the setting or call function hence now I get to accept and decline calls.

    Its is possible and if I went through my setting comparison with someone I'd be able to figure what I changed !!!!

  • TriXie10·

    Just bought a brand new Android wear smartwatch and for some strange reason the settings icon isnt working. Idk if its broken or whats going on. Has anyone else experienced this? And how to fix the problem? Instead of me returning it.