Last month at its I/O developer conference, Google confirmed that Wear OS 4 is in the works with a selection of big improvements for wearable owners.
Now, thanks to Samsung’s Wear OS 4-toting One UI Watch 5 beta, 9to5Google has spotted a small but extremely welcome quality-of-life improvement for those who find themselves juggling smartphones.
“Transfer your watch without resetting,” the upgrade changelog reads. “Switch your watch to a new phone, but keep your apps, watch faces, and more. You can get started in the general settings for your watch in the Galaxy Wearable app.”
The site’s contributor, Max Weinbach, captured some photos of how this looks in practice, which you can see below. In short, you have to make sure the Google account on the new handset matches the one on your watch. But if it does, you can connect the two and carry on without interruption.
It’s not just for those who frequently switch phones, of course. The average phone contract is two years, and given people don’t tend to change smartwatches half as frequently, most people will have to reset their wearable at least once over the period of ownership. How much of a hardship that will be depends on how much time you’ve spent customizing it to your tastes.
It’s possible this is a Galaxy Watch exclusive, of course, and won’t be part of the general Wear OS 4 release — but it seems likely this will come to Google’s own Pixel Watch at the very least, given it’s supposed to be a showcase of exactly what the operating system can do.
The full details of Wear OS 4 are yet to be fully confirmed, but Google says it will enhance battery life, add restore support, and include new watch face tools and better accessibility features, such as a much-improved text-to-speech engine.
As for the One UI Watch 5 update, it mainly focuses on health and safety. There’s a new Personalized Heart Rate Zone, an interval training program with five levels of intensity and better sleep metrics on the watch itself.
New SOS features add location relay and medical information, but perhaps most excitingly of all, it looks like you’ll be able to get at-a-glance battery readings for all your connected devices:
- Battery widget 🤩🤩Really stoked about this one. Altho it's currently broken for me as it doesn't show my phone or buds and my phone doesn't seem to show my watch battery either pic.twitter.com/KJHUNihm1JJune 8, 2023
No release date for Wear OS 4 has been revealed, but with the Pixel Watch 2 hotly tipped to appear alongside the Pixel 8 this fall, an October or November release would make sense, if it hasn’t already emerged by then.
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Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.