Wearable Widgets works great with Wear OS by Google (formerly Android Wear). The app has several options for viewing your widgets, and it will work on any Wear OS watch, old or new.
Because the entire reason for our app is to show Android widgets on your smartwatch, however, that watch will need to be paired with an Android phone (to supply the widgets). Pairing your watch with an iPhone simply isn’t going to work for this.
You’ll start by installing our app on both your phone and your linked watch. These installations happen separately, as Wearable Widgets is a full-fledged app on both devices.
Option 1: Install From Browser
If you have a laptop or desktop computer handy, this is the easiest way to get our (or any) app onto your phone and watch. Simply open our listing in the Play store in a browser, click the Install button, then select the target device. You’ll need to do this last bit twice, once for your phone and once for your watch, but Google Play should then push the app to both devices in short order.
Option 2: Install Directly On-Device
Of course, it’s also possible to do all the installation on the Android devices themselves. Starting on your phone, launch Play Store and search for wearable widgets (protip: if you’re reading this on a phone, just tap to open the listing directly). Then, tap Install and wait for it to finish.
Once it does, the system should help you along: you should either get a notification on your watch to install there – go ahead and tap it – or, on older Wear watches, the installation should just happen automatically within a minute or so.
If it doesn’t show up on your watch, go to the app launcher – from the watch face, press the watch's crown/button – and launch Play Store. Down at the bottom is a section labeled Apps on your phone, and Wearable Widgets should be in there. If not, you may have to go find it; tap the green Search button at the top of the main Play Store screen, then search for wearable widgets. Once that finds the app, press Install.
If all else fails, go back to Option 1 above, and install from a browser. [And yes, installing Wear apps is much more of a pain than it should be, but we can’t do much about that.]
Setting up widgets
After installation, open the Wearable Widgets app on your phone, and select one or more widgets that you’d like to use on your watch. Using one widget is free; additional widgets can be unlocked by a small, one-time in-app purchase.
After you select widgets, our phone app is also where you can resize and configure them, or change other settings. Once you have that done, you can put your phone away – your widgets are now ready for use on your watch.
Using Your Widgets
The basic way to use Wearable Widgets is as a normal app on your watch. You open the app launcher – from your watch face, press the watch’s crown or main hardware button – then select Widgets from the list. Once started, you can swipe horizontally through the widgets you've configured, and tap or swipe vertically on the widgets themselves (as supported by individual widgets).
Wearable Widgets supports Wear's ambient mode, in which a running app remains visible on the screen after the watch returns to low-power mode. It's sort of a halfway step between an interactive app and a watch face: the app is still visible, showing you information, but the watch is using less power than when it's fully awake.
With Wearable Widgets, this can be handy for temporary use of a widget that you want to keep around for a while. Examples might include a widget from an activity tracker app while you're exercising, or a podcast app while you're listening.
To invoke ambient mode, start the WW app on your watch (using the instructions in Using Your Widgets above), then long-press on the widget and select Ambient Mode. This will keep the current widget visible, although it will drop back to updating once per minute to conserve power.
To leave ambient mode, wake your watch up (with a touch on the screen or tap of the crown/button), and exit the Wearable Widgets app as usual: swipe left-to-right, or press the crown/button again.
Widgets as a Watch Face
If you really want to keep your widgets handy, you can set Wearable Widgets as your watch face. While this may seem like an odd idea at first, we’ve found a couple of scenarios in which it works really well.
First, there are widgets out there that include the time as well as other information – some of which may be difficult to find on ordinary Wear watch faces. The image at the top of this page is one such, also showing unread notification icons and phone wifi state (among other things).
Second, because Wear OS 2 supports switching between watch faces with just a swipe, you can essentially keep an often-used widget alongside your usual watch face. You do this by selecting Wearable Widgets as one of your “favorite” faces; then whenever you want to see it, simply swipe right to it – and swipe back to your usual watch face when you’re done.
In other words, widgets don’t need to be your primary watch face. But installing them as a watch face means they’re always just a swipe away.
Widgets in Complications
Our newest innovation allows you to set a phone widget as a complication in other, non-WW watch faces. This concept takes a moment to wrap your head around, but it makes perfect sense: complications usually show you information from other apps on your watch, but now they can show info from apps on your phone as well.
Setting up widgets in complications is a bit different than other uses of our app, but it follows the same pattern as other complications. Here’s an overview:
- Start with a watch face that supports small image complications. Most of the better ones do, but if your preferred face doesn't, you'll need to contact its developer – this isn't something we have control over.
- Long-press on that face, and use its settings to select a complication. The exact process varies by face, but it’ll usually be labeled something like Extra data, or maybe just a diagram of the face that you tap on a section to change.
- This will show you the Wear system complication chooser. In that list, tap on Wearable Widgets (Phone widget).
- Next, you’ll get a list of widgets and shortcuts installed on your phone. Tap on one to select it.
- For many widgets, you’re done! But some widgets may require additional setup, which you’ll need to do on your phone; the app will let you know if this is the case.
- Return to the watch face, which should now be showing a mini version of your selected phone widget!
A couple of caveats… First, because of their extra-small size, we’ve limited complication support to widgets that are 2x2 or smaller.
And second, just be aware that this feature is quite new, and my still have some bugs. If you find one, please let us know, either with the email link below or via the Contact section of our phone app’s About screen.