WhatsApp on Wear OS: Get messages on your smartwatch

Solutions for using one of the most popular messaging platforms on the planet
How to use WhatsApp on Wear OS
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If you use your Wear OS smartwatch as a second screen to your phone, there's a good chance you'll want it to receive WhatsApp messages.

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As one of the most popular messaging apps, with 1.5 billion users and roughly 60 billion messages sent per day, it's natural to wonder exactly how to gets WhatsApp messages working on your watch.

Shockingly, there is no official WhatsApp app available for Wear OS smartwatches. That means users of devices like the Fossil Sport or Skagen Falster 3 won't find an app in the Google Play Store.

However, if you continue onto our full guide, you'll discover there's still a few ways to access WhatsApp through your device.

How to get WhatsApp on Wear OS

How to use WhatsApp on Wear OS

Your Wear OS watch is pretty good at handling notifications, so it's no surprise that WhatsApp notifications work perfectly well.

However, annoyingly, WhatsApp notifications will only work if you have an Android phone. Providing you have notifications enabled, you'll get to reply to your WhatsApp messages right from your wrist, pulling up Wear OS's dictation feature or wrist-based keyboard to do so.

Read next: A guide to Wear OS on iPhone

If you're an iOS/iPhone user, you're not going to be able to reply to any message notifications on Wear OS. However, if notifications are enabled on both your watch and your phone, you should be able to view them on your wrist and mark them as read.

Wear OS WhatsApp notifications not working?

How to use WhatsApp on Wear OS

It's worth keeping in mind that experiencing the odd problem with Android WhatsApp notifications isn't uncommon, too. It's a rare occurrence, in our experience, but you might find the keyboard or speak-to-type feature don't pop up when you're trying to reply.

It's unclear whether this is a bug within Wear OS, or something WhatsApp needs to address. Seeing as this issue continues to pop up in forums, it's unclear when it could be fixed.

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Follow this checklist to troubleshoot any problems - covering off these basics should ensure your phone and the connected Wear OS smartwatch is 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.
  • On your Wear OS smartwatch, go to 'Settings' before tapping 'Notifications' and checking they're turned on.
  • 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 are up to date.

Third-party WhatsApp solutions

How to use WhatsApp on Wear OS

While there isn't an official WhatsApp app, there are some enterprising third-party developers who have tried to step in and fill the gap. If you head to the Google Play Store on your Wear OS device and search for 'WhatsApp', you'll see that the first search result is 'WatchChat for WhatsApp'.

This is a $1.99 app that takes advantage of WhatsApp's Web/Desktop feature, using a QR code to sync to a web-based version of the service. WatchChat essentially tricks WhatsApp into thinking it is a web browser running WhatsApp's official web app, rather than a Wear OS app.

Unfortunately, this solution only works if you've got an Android phone, because you need the companion app on Android. Also, there's been a recent change that has made WatchChat for WhatsApp pretty temperamental.

Each time you open the app on your Wear OS device, you're going to need to open up WhatsApp on your phone and get a brand new QR code to re-sync everything. A real hassle.

Read this: Best Wear OS apps

The other big third-party solution is 'Messages for Wear OS', which also requires an Android phone to work. However, it's also a full-featured solution that not only supports WhatsApp, but Facebook Messenger, Slack, Viber, Telegram, Line and more.

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You'll also get the ability to view photos and videos you receive through WhatsApp, as well as looking at hyperlinks, opening links in a web browser or even opening 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.

However, there's a catch here, as well. While the app works fine with Android Oreo, you will see WhatsApp messages not showing up if you have Android Pie. Appfour, the developer behind the app, is currently working on a fix, though we haven't been able to test it out and see if it's resolved.


Is WhatsApp working on an official app?

We can't say for certain, but it's unlikely. The wrist just isn't a great place for text-based communication. While some people may be able to type on a wrist-based keyboard, or have no problem dictating all their messages, most people seem to be content getting WhatsApp notifications and sending quick and short replies – saving the longer replies for their phone.

Just take a look at what's happened to the Apple Watch. When Apple announced the Watch, it made communication one of its three pillars. The Side Button would launch a ring of contacts you could quickly contact, sending messages to with scribbles, or emojis, or even your heartbeat.

The set of features didn't take off, and Apple pulled back on messaging as a pillar of the Apple Watch – though it did announce the voice-based Walkie Talkie feature through watchOS 5 last year.

The big question for WhatsApp comes down to whether developing a Wear OS app is worth the investment. At the moment, that feels like a 'no'.

TAGGEDWear OS