Google has released a new version of its Android Wear smartwatch software, and it’s based on Android 5.0 Lollipop. That’ll bring your watch in line with Google’s latest smartphone software and give it some new goodies. If you want to know exactly how to get Android Wear Lollipop and what’s new in it, keep reading.
HOW TO INSTALL LOLLIPOP ON ANDROID WEAR SMARTWATCHES
The software update will be rolled out to Android Wear smartwatches over the next few weeks. When the update’s ready for your watch, you’ll get a notification.
To install the update, you’ll need to connect your watch to a phone that’s connected to the internet and make sure your watch’s battery is charged to more than 80%.
When you get a notification about the software update, just follow these simple steps:
- Tap “Download”.
- After the software is downloaded, hit “Install now”.
- After the software is installed, your smartwatch will restart automatically.
- Your watch is now updated with the latest version.
You can try to download the update before you get a notification about it by asking for it. This doesn’t always work, but it’s worth a try if you’re impatient to see what’s new. Here’s what to do:
- Tap the watch face to bring up Google Now and swipe to the bottom of the menu
- Tap “Settings” and swipe to the bottom
- Hit “About device” and again swipe to the bottom
- Tap “Software updates”.
When you hit that, your watch will check with Google that you’re on the latest available software and you might get your wrist on the new Android Wear before you’re sent a notification.
WHAT’S NEW IN LOLLIPOP FOR ANDROID WEAR?
The basic way you use your smartwatch has stayed the same. You still navigate through cards by swiping up. You still swipe to the left for more actions. And you still dismiss cards by swiping right. But there are some useful new features.
If you swipe away a card you actually still want, you now have a short time where you can bring it back. Just swipe down (drag your finger from the top to the bottom of the screen) and you’ll be given the option undo the card dismissal.
Swiping down from the watch face doesn’t just silence your smartwatch anymore. You now need to tap to switch the mute function on and off. Then if you swipe left from the new pull down menu, there are new quick settings. The first is “Cinema mode”, which silences all notifications and turns off the screen until you press the side button or double tap the screen. “Sunlight mode” sets the screen brightness to max so you can still read cards on sunny days. And the final swipe take you to a shortcut for general settings.
And if you’re phone’s on Android 5.0 Lollipop, updating the watch settings instantly changes your phone settings and vice versa.
But if you go to the settings a lot, it’ll now be at the top of menu that appears under Google Now when you tap the watch face. That list of apps is now organised by how frequently you use them to make navigating around your smartwatch easier.
In the settings, there’s a new “accessibility” option that inverts the colours on the screen to help the colour blind.
And most cards now have a quick shortcut to block its notifications. You just need to swipe left to get the option to turn off an app’s notifications.
The look of the software has also been updated. New background graphics make a minor but welcome change.
The Android Wear app has been updated too. It’s now cleaner and makes it easy to change watch faces. It pulls in all the watch faces you’ve downloaded and has a link to Google Play’s new official watch face shop. So you can effortlessly change the look of your watch every day if you want to.
And in the app’s settings you can view details of your watch’s battery and storage and turn the tilt to wake feature on and off.
Unfortunately, Google didn’t update how you send text messages from a smartwatch. You still don’t get any time to think as you dictate, so texts are almost always only ever half finished.
Once you’ve got Android Wear Lollipop on your smartwatch, have a play with it and let us know what you think in the comments below.