The introduction of Wear OS 3 has not gone as smoothly as expected. It is quite natural that you choose to continue using Wear OS 2 until the dust had settled on the situation. On the other hand, 2016 was a successful year for Android smartwatches, and there are reasons to anticipate that this upward trend will continue in the coming years.
It is time, comrades, to consider updating your older watch to Wear OS 3, which is now available.
At this point, the benefits of Wear OS 3 are starting to become more appealing than the drawbacks of its predecessor. The use of third-party applications is the primary motivation for upgrading. The majority of well-known app developers (such as Strava, Telegram, and others) are, quite sensibly, giving priority to the newer version over the older one. Google has put a lot of effort into drawing back developers to the platform. Yet despite the fact that Google has made some effort to assure that its Wear OS 2 applications will continue to receive upgrades, the realities remain the same. On a watch running Wear OS 3, the same apps will be able to do more.
For instance, Wear OS 2 users are able to utilize Google Maps; however, Wear OS 3 users are the only ones who can access some functions, such as turn-by-turn directions. (There was also a commotion at the end of 2022 when the Google Maps and Keep apps unexpectedly vanished for Wear OS 2 users, even if only temporarily.)
This situation is only going to get worse when more independent app developers start working on competing platforms. Upgrading might not be a bad idea if you want bug fixes to be implemented more quickly and you want your general experience to run more smoothly going the future.
Nonetheless, there are still valid reasons to put off updating until later. For instance, it is unknown whether or when Google Assistant would be made available on smartwatches that are not manufactured by Google or Samsung and use Wear OS 3. On Wear OS 2, Assistant does not perform particularly well, but at least it is available. If that is a feature that you really desire, upgrading isn’t as pressing of a necessity as you would think.
It makes no difference if you have a Wear OS watch or not as long as the chip inside is a Snapdragon Wear 3100. Because the 3100 chip is unable to operate the updated software, you will have to hold off on purchasing a new watch until you can find one that operates at least a Snapdragon Wear 4100 chip. (And if you are going to have to pay for something, you might as well hold out for a discount.)
Be aware, too, that things aren’t quite the same on Wear OS 3 if you’re one of the relatively few people who like to use Wear OS watches with an iPhone. This is a minority preference. For example, Google Wallet and Google Maps aren’t now accessible from iOS devices running the new operating system from Google.
If, however, you do end up deciding to finally make the leap, the following is an explanation of how to update to Wear OS 3.
How to get the latest version of Wear OS
First things first, you need to make sure that your watch is compatible with the upgrade and that the manufacturer has already begun distributing upgrades. Unfortunately, it is up to each individual manufacturer to determine when they will begin rolling out Wear OS 3 to their older watches that are eligible for the update. For instance, upgrade rollouts for Fossil (as well as any other brands owned by the firm) started in October 2022. But, Mobvoi hasn’t provided much information regarding its plans for Wear OS 3 in recent months.
Make a list of the applications that you use the most if you are able to upgrade your device. You will need to perform a factory reset as the first step in updating because, for some reason, Wear OS still does not support cloud backups. (But it is rumored that development work is being done on the such feature.) Have in mind that this is an irreversible process and that you cannot revert to Wear OS 2 once it has been completed. Once you factory reset, you’ll lose:
1. Local data on the watch
2. Any installed apps and their data
3. Settings and preferences
Next, you will need to delete the Wear OS by Google app from your iOS or Android device, depending on which one you have. The next step is to go to the App Store or Play Store, depending on where your watch was purchased, and download the companion app for it. You will want to download the latest Fossil software, for instance, if you have a Fossil Gen 6 watch that is operating on Wear OS 2.
You should be prompted to download Wear OS 3 via a pop-up message that appears on your watch. If this is the case, then you should tap that notice right away. If not, there is no need to worry.
1. Navigate to the main menu on your wrist.
2. Then, open the Settings app, select System, and then About.
3. Scroll down to System updates. Download the Wear OS 3 update, follow any on-screen prompts, and you’re done.
The entire procedure may take some time, particularly if your Wi-Fi connection is unreliable. If your Wi-Fi connection is strong but the watch is still having trouble connecting, you might want to experiment with turning Bluetooth on and off. If you are unsure of what to do, try turning the watch on and off once more.
That wraps it up! There are certain bugs that need to be worked out with Wear OS 3, particularly if you aren’t using a Samsung or Google device. On the other hand, the overall performance is much brisker, and the variety of available apps is significantly more extensive than it once was. Check out our buying advice if you’re having trouble settling on a Wear OS 3 watch to purchase. Also, if you’re having trouble making a decision, you can always check out our reviews.