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Google Wear OS 4: Features, release date, and more

Google's lastest software brings a host of improvements.
September 6, 2023
A Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic display its app screen.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

As the wearables market continues to heat up, Google launched Wear OS 4, this year’s update to the company’s operating system. Android-based smartwatches eligible for the update can expect a host of improvements and a few new features. Read on to find out everything we know so far about the newest Wear OS and learn which watches can expect to see the update.

Wear OS 4: At a glance 

  • When is it coming out? Wear OS 4 debuted on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 series on August 11, 2023. We won't see a stock version of the new platform until the Google Pixel Watch 2 arrives.
  • What's new? Wear OS 4 introduces a range of improvements and a few useful new features including updates for favorite Google apps as well as popular third-party apps like Peloton. The new software also finally adds a backup and restore feature for swapping phones.

Wear OS 4 release date

A variety of Wear OS devices rest on a wooden table.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority
  • Wear OS 1: March 2018
  • Wear OS 1.4: July 2018
  • Wear OS 2: September 2018
  • Wear OS 2.2: November 2018
  • Wear OS 2.6: May 2019
  • Wear OS 2.23: December 2020
  • Wear OS 3: August 2021
  • Wear OS 3.2: February 2022
  • Wear OS 3.5: October 2022
  • Wear OS 4: July 2023

Formally debuted on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 series on July 26, Wear OS 4 is here. A Wear OS 4 stable update officially hit wrists on August 11. While Samsung is first to the punch, we expect to see Wear OS 4 roll out to other devices shortly. It will also be found on the Pixel Watch 2 this fall which will be our first glimpse of the new software in its raw form (without a One UI Watch 5 overlay, for example).

Is there a Wear OS 4 beta?

Samsung released a beta version of the new software leading up to its release, however, now all relevant devices have access to the stable Wear OS 4. Though we’ve seen rumors of Google similarly releasing a beta version for its Pixel Watch, a preview is not yet available.

Wear OS 4 features

So far, we’ve only gotten our eyes on Wear OS 4 with a One UI 5 Watch overlay. As mentioned, we’ll have to wait for the Pixel Watch to receive the update to check out the stock Wear OS 4 experience.

From a convenience standpoint, the most exciting (and long overdue) Wear OS 4 feature is its new backup and restore support. Users can finally swap to a new phone or watch without factory resetting their wearables. The update also adds new apps for Gmail and Google Calendar making it easier than ever to manage events and schedules and answer emails right from the wrist.

Meanwhile, Wear OS 4 also brings improved integration within the Home app, including smart device controls and notifications. Additionally, the platform boasts a WhatsApp app which rolled out to Wear OS 3 earlier this summer. This app even allows users to answer WhatsApp calls from their devices. Popular apps Spotify and Peloton also each issued app improvements within the platform.

Finally, when Google announced Wear OS 4, the company also promised more power efficiency and battery-saving performance. To this end, Samsung and Google teamed up to create Watch Face Format, making it easier for developers to create watch faces that will drain less juice.

Wear OS 4 compatibility

A Galaxy Watch 4 user checks for software updates in the watch settings.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

As of yet, the rollout schedule isn’t entirely clear regarding the newest Wear OS. As of now, the Galaxy Watch 4, 5, and 6 series devices are the only watches currently running or eligible to update to the latest software. Given its role in developing Wear OS 3, we’re not surprised to see Samsung get a lead on competitors when it comes to the latest software.

It’s also very likely Google’s own Pixel Watch will see the new software in the coming weeks. We’ll keep this hub updated as the platform makes its way to more wrists. Based on rumors, we anticipate the Google Pixel Watch 2 will land sometime this October and expect to see the device running Wear OS 4 out of the box.

Other devices potentially eligible for the update include Mobvoi’s TicWatch Pro 5, which arrived in May, and Fossil’s latest family of Wear OS devices. To be frank though, the Wear OS 3 rollout was a bit of a mess. Some promised devices still haven’t received the update more than two years later. We hope to see a smoother launch for Wear OS 4 but we’re skeptical.