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Google makes it easier to find Wear OS apps on (and off) your wrist

The smartwatch experience borrows a page from Android 12.

Published onJuly 19, 2021

  • Google has revamped the Play Store experience for watch apps on both Wear OS and your Android phone.
  • The Play Store on Wear OS now has an Android 12-influenced interface that’s easier to navigate.
  • The Play Store on Android, meanwhile, now helps you find watch apps and faces with improved installs.

Google is well-aware that Wear OS needs to mount a big comeback, and that now extends to the finding (and installing) smartwatch apps. The company is rolling out a revamped Play Store experience that should help you find those apps, whether you’re looking on your wrist or your Android phone.

The biggest changes come to finding apps on Wear OS itself. The Play Store now has an interface influenced by Android 12’s Material You, including easier-to-read cards. The store will also “reliably” handle in-app purchases by steering you to your Android phone or a web browser link.

Read more: Wear OS buyer’s guide

It’s much easier to find Wear OS apps on your phone, too. You can add “Watch” and “Watch faces” filters to your search to limit results to smartwatch software, and there are new curated sections in the Wear OS category pages. When you find an app you’d like, you can tap an “install” button to install that title on any compatible watches you own.

The improved Wear OS apps experience should reach everyone in the “coming weeks,” Google said. You’ll need at least Wear OS 2.x on your watch.

The news comes just days ahead of the widely rumored Galaxy Watch 4 debut in mid-August, when Samsung is unofficially expected to launch its first Wear OS device using the One UI Watch interface. It suggests that Google is determined to address many of the problems that have held Wear OS back, including the discoverability of apps — you won’t have to wonder if there’s a watch version of a useful app, or struggle to download software once you’ve found it.

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