Downloading the official WhatsApp app for your Wear OS smartwatch is the best way to view and reply to messages on the go.
As with any Wear OS app, however, it's natural to wonder exactly how to get WhatsApp messages working on the smartwatch.
With the official app now in beta, those with devices like the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5, Fossil Gen 6, or Google Pixel Watch are now able to access WhatsApp on the wrist for the first time.
In this guide, we'll explain how to download the beta app, what you can and can't do with it, and when we can expect the full version to roll out to all users.
We'll also detail what to do if WhatsApp notifications aren't working and alternative apps to try.
How to use WhatsApp on Wear OS
After many years of waiting, the official Whatsapp Wear OS beta app has now been released.
Below, we'll run through everything you need to know about the new app, including instructions on how to install it to your Wear OS smartwatch and when we can expect the full version to land.
How to register for the WhatsApp beta
Registering is simple. All you need to do is be signed into your Google account and head to the Google Play WhatsApp beta registration page.
From the link above, simply follow the on-page instructions and join the beta.
How to download WhatsApp on Wear OS
The next step is forcing the download onto your smartwatch. The first step here is heading to your watch's paired phone and updating WhatsApp to the latest beta version.
Next, we went to the Google Play Store on the web and clicked 'Install on more devices'.
From there, selecting our smartwatch from the list meant the download began syncing on our watch.
Next, you'll be prompted to put your watch and phone in range of each other and enter the eight-digit code showing on the watch into WhatsApp on your phone.
What you can do on WhatsApp for Wear OS
- View your most recent chats
- Reply to messages via voice, dictation, or typing
- Receive notifications and then reply directly from the app
- Prompt chats to open on your phone
- Mute chats
- Verify chat encryption details
- Adjust settings
- Install Tiles onto the carousel to quickly jump into the app
- View the number of unread messages from the watch face complication
What you can't do on WhatsApp for Wear OS
- Make or take WhatsApp voice or video calls
- Start new chats
- Remove existing chats
- Change profile details
- View recent WhatsApp call history
When will the full version be released?
As with any app in beta, it's impossible to know when exactly WhatsApp will look to roll out the full public version - or when Google will sign it off.
However, the timing of the beta release may give us a bit of a clue. With the next major version of Wear OS expected to land alongside the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 and its One UI 5 Watch skin later this summer, this would represent a natural opportunity for the app to go public.
Or, it could just land randomly over the next few weeks out of the blue. There really is no telling, so stay tuned for more on this one.
Is WhatsApp Wear OS calling coming soon?
A feature in a recent WhatsApp beta indicated that call notifications would soon be coming to both the Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 5.
Though we've not seen this ourselves, the patch notes suggest that it would include the ability to take the phone call directly from the wrist, with the WhatsApp icon appearing in order to differentiate it from a regular call.
It doesn't appear to make it on the full beta of the official app, but, given it's one that's been in separate development, we'd expect it to make it to the full version of the app when it eventually rolls out.
How to get WhatsApp notifications on Wear OS
If you have the WhatsApp Wear OS app downloaded, notifications are much richer than if they're just set to mirror your smartphone.
When you receive a message, it'll now be viewable in a long stream (as shown above) - and you'll have the option to open the app and reply from your wrist or open it on your phone.
In order to receive notifications in the first place, you'll need to ensure WhatsApp notifications are enabled by going to Settings > Apps and notifications > Notifications> Show All > WhatsApp > On.
Do Not Disturb will also need to be turned off.
We've only tested the beta with an Android phone, so we're not clear on whether this same experience extends to iOS users.
What to do if WhatsApp on Wear OS isn't working
It's worth keeping in mind that experiencing the odd problem with WhatsApp on Wear OS isn't uncommon.
Follow this checklist to troubleshoot any problems. Covering off these basics should ensure your phone and the connected Wear OS smartwatch are receiving WhatsApp notifications.
- Check your phone's Bluetooth settings and ensure your Wear OS smartwatch is connected
- Check that you are logged into WhatsApp on your phone
- Ensure notifications are turned on for WhatsApp from your watch
- Turn off power-saving modes that limit notifications, such as Do Not Disturb
- In your phone's notification settings, check WhatsApp is set up to allow notifications
- Check that the software on your watch and the WhatsApp app on your phone is up to date
Alternative Wear OS WhatsApp apps
While the recent development of an official app means there's now less need for a third-party alternative, there are some enterprising options that have been filling the gap over the last few years.
One of the apps you can try out is called Informer, which requires a premium subscription to do things like listen to voice messages, accept video calls, and mute selected chats.
It's an app that will only work with Android phones and does support compatibility with the Samsung Galaxy Watch, among other Wear OS 3 watches.
The other big third-party solution is 'Messages for Wear OS', which also requires an Android phone to work, but is free to use. However, it's a full-featured solution that not only supports WhatsApp but also Facebook Messenger, Slack, Viber, Telegram, Line, and more, as well.
You'll also get the ability to view photos and videos you receive through WhatsApp, as well as the ability to look at hyperlinks, open links in a web browser, and even open YouTube links.
When you open the app on your Android phone, you'll be prompted to connect your WhatsApp account. Then, you simply have to download the same app to your Wear OS device.
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