WhatsApp has arrived on Wear OS — here’s what it can do

Whatsapp running on a pixel watch
(Image credit: WhatsApp)

After a few months in beta, WhatsApp has launched its first official Wear OS app. That means anyone with an Android smartwatch will be able to download WhatsApp, and use their watches to communicate with friends and family without needing their phone.

WhatsApp for Wear OS was originally announced at Google I/O back in May, but now Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced (via TechCrunch) the app is now rolling out across the world. The app is only available if your watch runs Wear OS 3 or higher, but offers support for text, voice and emoji-based messaging as well as actual voice calls. Just like you can on the WhatsApp smartphone app.

What’s more, all this works even if your connected phone isn’t within range. That’ll be especially useful for anyone with an LTE-equipped smartwatch like Google’s own Pixel Watch.

Interestingly this puts Wear OS at a distinct advantage compared to the Apple Watch. So far Apple’s smartwatch doesn’t have a native WhatsApp app, which limits what iPhone owners can do on their wrist. 

All you can really do is check and respond to incoming messages, provided your notification settings are set up correctly, with no option to initiate conversations or calls from your wrist. Not that Apple Watch users are likely to switch platforms for a single app.

Not all of the best smartwatches for Android are powered by Wear OS, but there are still plenty of options if you want WhatsApp on your wrist. The Google Pixel Watch is the obvious one, as are the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 5.

So if you’re a big WhatsApp user, and value the ability to use your watch in place of a smartphone, then you’ll want to head over to Google Play to get things set up.

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Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.