Like on phones, many Wear OS features are delivered via Google Play services, and the latest version reveals what backups on watches will cover, as well as more features for Google Wallet.

About APK Insight: In this “APK Insight” post, we’ve decompiled the latest version of an application that Google uploaded to the Play Store. When we decompile these files (called APKs, in the case of Android apps), we’re able to see various lines of code within that hint at possible future features. Keep in mind that Google may or may not ever ship these features, and our interpretation of what they are may be imperfect. We’ll try to enable those that are closer to being finished, however, to show you how they’ll look in case that they do ship. With that in mind, read on.

Wear OS backups

Google has been working on Wear OS backups for the past few months, but version 22.42.12 of Play services provides a clearer look at what it will cover: “App data,” “Device settings,” and “Watch faces and tiles.” 

How you customize a watch face in terms of style, color, and complication can be as meticulous as app icon arrangement on your phone’s homescreen. The same can be said with the order of Wear OS tiles when swiping left and right. App data should be handy if you’re a big user of third-party wearable clients, while “Device settings include Wi-Fi passwords and permissions.”

Wear OS backups are opt-in and occur automatically “when [a watch] is on and connected to power and Wi-Fi.” You can manage from the on-wrist Settings app or the companion app on your phone. Google One storage will be used for Wear OS backups.

Google Wallet 

When Google Wallet for Wear OS launched in July, the company started with tap-to-pay functionality and said more features are coming. Play services 22.42.12 suggests that on-wrist Google Wallet app, like the phone app, will get transit, event, and flight alerts:

  • “Stay up-to-date with your transit activity. Find out when you’re running low on balance or your passes are about to expire.”
  • “Stay up-to-date on your events and flights, and find out when your saved offers are about to expire.”

On the Pixel Watch, version 22.41.13 looks to be the current stable, while even with 22.42.12 there will likely be a server-side component before backup and the new Wallet features appear. Meanwhile, these features are presumably aimed at Wear OS 3 watches.

Thanks to JEB Decompiler, from which some APK Insight teardowns benefit.

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About the Author

Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: