One frustrating missing feature on Wear OS is that there’s no backup option for your settings and data. Coupled with the need to start from scratch whenever you need to pair a smartwatch with a new phone, it makes the upgrade process more complicated than it should be.
Thankfully, that should change soon. 9to5Google performed a teardown on version 22.42.12 of Play Services and found work on a Wear OS backup solution. Specifically, the solution looks like it will cover ‘app data,’ ‘device settings,’ and ‘watch faces and tiles.’
All three are fairly straightforward in terms of what they back up. Watch faces and tiles encompass watch face customizations, which can be quite deep. On the Pixel Watch, most watch faces let you customize colours, style, and which complications/shortcuts are available on the face. Tile order is also a helpful backup if you like to customize the different screens you can swipe to.
9to5 reports that app data includes, well, data from apps. That should prove helpful for anyone rocking a ton of third-party apps. Meanwhile, device settings would back up details, including Wi-Fi passwords and permissions.
Finally, 9to5 found details noting that Wear OS backups would be opt-in and occur automatically when users charge their smartwatch, as long as it’s also connected to Wi-Fi. Users would be able to manage backups from the watch’s settings app or from the companion app on their phones. Backups will be stored using Google One.
That covers all the details for Wear OS backups. It’s good to see Google working on the feature, although it’s a bummer that it wasn’t ready for the Pixel Watch at launch. It’s not clear how much longer we’ll have to wait before backups roll out to Wear OS watches.
One final note: when it comes to teardowns, it’s important to take information with a grain of salt. Teardowns involve cracking open APK files and interpreting lines of code to gather information about upcoming and work-in-progress features. With that in mind, it’s possible for misinterpretations to happen, or for features to change or even be cancelled. Teardowns still offer excellent information about upcoming features, as long as you maintain a healthy level of skepticism.