TL;DR
  • Samsung’s older Gear wearables will not be supported by its 2021 smartphones.
  • The devices affected include the Galaxy Gear, Gear 2, and Gear S.

If you still own and use an early Samsung Gear smartwatch daily you may want to think twice about upgrading your smartphone in the new year. A notification in the Samsung Members app (via GalaxyClub) has warned users that the firm’s early wearables will no longer be compatible with its 2021 smartphones.

“The existing service quality of older Samsung Gear wearables cannot be guaranteed and ensured through app updates alone,” reads the translated notification. “Therefore, older Samsung Gear wearables can no longer be used in conjunction with new Samsung smartphones (from the year of publication 2021).”

The update specifically lists five wearables that will be affected by the news, chief of which is the Galaxy Gear from 2013. The Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo, Gear S, and Gear Fit are also included. Those still rocking the likes of the Galaxy Gear 3 Neo and the Gear S2 remain unscathed.

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. If you still own an older smartphone, “released in 2020 or earlier,” that device will still support the wearables next year. The announcement will however affect you if you’re planning to purchase a Galaxy S21, or any other future smartphone from Samsung.

Interestingly, the notification doesn’t suggest the reason for dropping support is tied to Android 11 and One UI 3.0, or hardware. We’ve reached out to Samsung for clarification on whether the smartphone’s year of release really is the only determining factor here.

Regardless, if you are considering upgrading to a 2021 series smartphone, it’s possible you’re also considering a wearables upgrade, too. That said, if you’re not hunting for the latest fitness tech, the firm’s older smartwatches remain respectable daily drivers. But all good things have to come to an end at some point.

Samsung notes that users of these five smartwatches will be alerted to the changes in the Galaxy Wearable app in the coming weeks, so you have a brief period to reconsider your future purchases. If you are now considering a new Samsung wearable, we round up your potential options below.

Next: The best Samsung fitness wearables and smartwatches