Pairing Android Wearables With the iPhone

A look at the benefits and limitations of Wear OS by Google for iOS

Wear OS by Google (formerly Android Wear) is compatible with the iPhone 5 and newer models. Using an Android watch with an iPhone is in some ways similar to the Android experience, but there are some limitations.

To pair an Android smartwatch with your iPhone, you need an iPhone 5 or newer running iOS 9.3 or higher.

Runner wearing earphones checking time on smartwatch
James Porcini / Getty Images

How to Pair Android Wearables With the iPhone

Follow these steps to connect a smartwatch with an iPhone:

  1. Make sure your watch is turned on and plugged into the charger.

    The watch must be charging during the pairing process (this is not the case when pairing with an Android device).

  2. Download the Wear OS app for iPhone.

  3. Open the Wear OS app on your iPhone and tap Start setup.

  4. On your smartwatch, follow the instructions on the screen to select a language and agree to the terms of service.

  5. On your iPhone, follow the instructions on the screen until you see a list of nearby devices. Tap the name of your watch, then tap Pair.

    If you don't see your smartwatch listed, press and hold the watch's Power button, then tap Disconnect and reset or Unpair with phone. Close the Wear OS app on your iPhone, and then start the process over.

  6. Both your iPhone and the watch will display a pairing code. Make sure they match and then tap Confirm on your iPhone.

    If the codes don't match, restart your watch and retry the process from the beginning.

  7. Once the pairing is successful, you'll be prompted to turn on a handful of settings on your iPhone.

As long as the Wear OS app is open on your iPhone, your iPhone and Android watch should remain connected when nearby. If you close the app, you'll lose the connection (this isn't the case with Android smartphones).  

What You Can Do With Wear OS for iOS

You should now see all of your iPhone notifications on your Android watch, including messages, calendar reminders, and any other apps that ping you throughout the day. You can use the Google Assistant to search, set reminders, and conduct other tasks, though there are some limitations with Apple apps. For instance, you can't search for music inside Apple Music as you can with Siri. You also can't reply to text messages, but you can respond to Gmail messages using voice commands.

If you're an iPhone owner who uses a lot of Google apps, you'll have the best experience since Apple isn't making any Wear OS-compatible apps. On the upside, Android smartwatches that are much less expensive than the Apple Watch. The downside is that you'll run into limitations when pairing devices from different ecosystems.

Wear OS and iOS Compatibility

Google has a website where you check to see if your phone works with Wear OS. On your iPhone, open a web browser and visit the WearCheck website. Newer iPhones can pair with some of the best smartwatches including the Moto 360 2 and models from Fossil, Huawei, Movado, Tag Hauer, and more.

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