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Wear OS 4 is coming later this year, and a developer preview is out now
- Google has announced that Wear OS 4 is coming later this year.
- The updated watch platform brings backup and restore support, as well as more additions.
- The Wear OS 4 developer preview is available now.
Google announced Wear OS 3 for smartwatches way back in 2021, bringing faster performance, improved battery life, and support for software skins. We may have had to wait a while, but Google has finally revealed that Wear OS 4 is on the way.
The company confirmed at its I/O developer conference that Wear OS 4 is coming later this year, although it didn’t give a release window for the rollout. We can only speculate that the platform might debut when Samsung reveals the Galaxy Watch 6 series in Q3 2023.
Nevertheless, the Wear OS 4 developer preview is available right now if you want to update your apps or check out the new software. Either way, we hope the update eventually comes to a wide variety of smartwatches.
A major missing feature is finally here
The most notable Wear OS 4 feature has to be backup and restore support. Yes, you’ll be able to switch to a new phone or watch without having to factory reset your wearable.
The lack of a backup and restore feature was a major annoyance for Android Authority colleague Rita El-Khoury. So we’re glad to see this option on Wear OS 4, but we hope the actual backup/restore process is pain-free.
Google adds that if you’re setting up a watch on your phone, any permissions granted on your phone will automatically carry over to the watch.
Wear OS 4 will also bring improved battery life, new and improved accessibility options such as a faster text-to-speech engine, and a partnership with Samsung to bring a so-called Watch Face Format (as seen below).
This format is a new, “efficient” way to build watch faces, and Google says developers don’t need to worry about optimizing their watch face’s code or battery performance as the Wear OS platform handles everything.
What about Wear OS 3 users?
Google also had a few announcements for Wear OS 3 users, starting with improvements for first-party apps. These improvements include smart lock controls with two-factor authentication in the Google Home app and “key” Gmail experiences (such as replying to emails and inbox triaging). The company is also bringing Calendar features to your wrist later this year, allowing you to view your schedule, check/act on event details (e.g. RSVP), and check/act on tasks (e.g. mark complete).
The search colossus also touted third-party app support, noting WhatsApp’s recently confirmed availability, new tiles for Spotify (e.g. podcast playback, Spotify DJ, most-played tracks), and improved Peloton support (tracking Peloton-based workouts and a tile for weekly workout progress).