What is changing
As of 7 March 2021, Google has removed the ability to install apps onto WearOS devices directly from their associated Android phone apps. Such ’embedded’ watch apps no longer appear in the Play Store ‘Apps on your phone’ section on your watch.
Freepoc’s WearOS apps
This makes it more difficult to sideload apps onto WearOS devices which are not in the Google Play Store – and this includes a number of Freepoc’s WearOS apps. Where possible, we will include our apps in the Play Store and this will be shown in our Downloads page. However in some cases, our apps will not appear in the Play Store because either:
a) The app uses functions which are explicitly restricted by Google. For example, Wear Text enables users to make phone calls, and to send SMS messages.
b) The purpose of the app is closely associated with Google features and could be considered to infringe a trademark . For example, Fit Strength Training restores the strength training feature to Google Fit on your WearOS device.
Installing WearOS apps which aren’t in the Play Store
For WearOS apps that are not in the Play Store, unfortunately the process of installing onto your watch now becomes more difficult. The preferred option for watches running Android 9 and later is to use our Wear Installer 2 app. Install WI2 onto your Android phone and follow the on-screen instructions. A YouTube video showing how to use WI2 is here. A help page for the app is here.
For WearOS watches running Android 7.11 and Android 8, you can use the following method:
- If the watch app has been bundled with the phone app, you can use Wear Installer or Wear Installer 2 to extract the watch apk to the Downloads folder on your phone. Long-tap on the app in the carousel and then tap on Save. If you get a message ‘Wear component not found’ then the watch app is not bundled with the phone app.
- Ensure ADB debugging over wifi is enabled on your watch, as explained in the startup screen.
- Install the watch apk from the Downloads folder on your Android phone over wifi using the Easy Fire Tools app. Enter the ip address of your watch and use the Custom APK option.
- Here is a YouTube video showing the process.
Note for Android Wear 1.x users. ADB over wifi is not supported for your devices. You will need to use ADB over Bluetooth to install a watch apk. Wear Installer can create a watch apk from an associated phone app for you, please see the setup instructions in the app.