Disabling automatic brightness increases the performance of Wear OS smartwatches

One of the main issues regarding Wear OS smartwatches is the performance of the operating system. Though this isn’t always the case, Wear OS often fails to accomplish tasks as simple as responding to touchscreen presses.

Most of the Wear OS smartwatches currently on the market are equipped with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor. While this chip isn’t the fastest, a temporary fix to system performance is to disable automatic-brightness on Wear OS smartwatches.

This small settings tweak was first revealed in the TicWatch subreddit, and later confirmed by many Wear OS users on Reddit. My own test of the feature on a Fossil Q Gen 3 smartwatch yielded the same result, with lag and stuttering noticeably reduced.

It is important to note that auto-brightness is not available on every Wear OS smartwatch. The functionality is only included in smartwatches that feature an ambient light sensor.

It’s not clear why automatic brightness would cause a decrease in performance on a Wear OS smartwatch. Google is aware of these reports, and the company is currently investigating the issue.

In the meantime, turning off automatic brightness is the only way to increase the performance of your current Wear OS smartwatches. This Google support document outlines how to change this feature in Wear OS devices.