Wear OS app quality

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Wear OS is a wearable platform, helping people live more present, healthy, and productive lives. Wear OS makes smartwatches into glanceable, standalone devices so users can stay connected online and complete tasks quickly—while leaving their phones in their pockets. Designing experiences for wearables is different from designing for phones or tablets. For more information, see Principles of Wear OS development.

The checklists on this page define minimum quality criteria and associated tests to help you assess the quality of your app. The minimum quality criteria are assessed using the latest version of Wear OS. Some of these criteria are easy to miss, and the tests help you remember to include them in your test plans.

Each test has a unique ID that you might find helpful to use when you communicate with your team.

Basic compatibility

Your mobile app should fulfill the core app quality requirements. In particular, pay special attention to the following two notification-related requirements for mobile apps:

Area ID Description
Notification VX-S1

Notifications follow Material Design guidelines. In particular:

  1. Notifications are not used for cross-promotion or advertising another product, as this is strictly prohibited by the Play Store.
  2. Notification channels are defined according to best practices, rather than serving all notifications from one channel.
  3. Selecting the correct notification priority. For more information on selecting the correct notification priority, see Notifications from the Twitter app are easier on your battery.
  4. Multiple notifications are stacked into a single notification group, where possible.
  5. Set timeouts for notifications where appropriate.
  6. Notifications are persistent only if related to ongoing events, such as music playback or a phone call. For more information, see the Functionality section.

For messaging apps, social apps and conversations:

  1. Use the MessagingStyle notifications for conversations.
  2. Support the direct reply action.
  3. Support conversation shortcuts, and implement best practices for getting the best direct share ranking.
  4. Support bubbles.

Only 1 and 2 are supported on Wear OS without a native Wear OS app.

When you set up a test environment, we recommend that, at minimum, you pair your phone or emulator with the Wear OS Round 1.84-inch emulator.

Better: Full support for Wear OS

Beyond supporting notifications on connected mobile devices, Wear OS also supports native applications. As a first step, we recommend that developers read the Principles of Wear OS development guide, which contains the best practices for creating a Wear OS app.

Test your Wear OS app against the following emulators:

  • Wear OS Square 1.65 inch
  • Wear OS Round 1.84 inch

Important: To help ensure a great user experience, apps for wearables must meet specific requirements for usability. Only apps that meet the following quality criteria qualify as Wear OS apps on Google Play. Qualifying as a Wear OS app makes it easier for those using wearables to discover your app on Google Play.

Area ID Description
Layout WO-L1

The app's user interface is formatted appropriately for all Wear OS display types:

  • Square
  • Round

The app's content fits within the physical display area, and no text or controls are cut off by the screen edges.

For more information see Handle different watch shapes.

WO-L2 The app's text is large and glanceable, with a suggested minimum font size of 12 sp.
Functionality WO-F1 The app includes a watch Android Application Package (APK) that runs directly on the Wear OS device and is discoverable in the Wear OS on-watch Play Store. For more information, see Package and distribute Wear apps.
WO-F2 The app must mention Wear OS in its Google Play Store listing and contain at least one screenshot that depicts the Wear OS app experience. Provide screenshots showing only your app interface. Don’t place your screenshots within device frames or include additional text, graphics, or backgrounds that are not part of the interface of your app. Upload screenshots with a 1:1 aspect ratio. For more information, see Add preview assets to showcase your app.
WO-F3 Wear OS functionality works as expected or as described in the app's Google Play Store listing.
WO-F4 If the app is a single Wear OS watch face, the App Icon must be an accurate representation of the watch face. Apps that include more than one watch face are exempt from this requirement. However, apps are more discoverable on the Play Store if they only have a single watch face. Do not include text or graphics that are not part of the watch face experience. For more information on creating app icons, see Google Play icon design specifications.

Best: A differentiated experience

At this level, the Wear OS app should be tested and paired with both Android and iOS mobile devices.

Area ID Description
Functionality WO-F5 If the app is identified as standalone, it must be functional without requiring a phone for authentication or operation. In addition to supporting independent login via app on the watch, standalone apps might support additional authentication methods, such as automatic login sharing when a mobile phone is nearby. For more information, see Authentication on wearables.

Frequently asked questions

After I submit my app for Wear OS review, how do I find out if my app doesn't meet all of the requirements for Wear OS?

If your app does not meet the usability requirements described on this page, the Play Store team contacts you using the email address specified in the Google Play Console account associated with the app.

Caution: Make sure your app meets the functionality requirements, otherwise your app isn't considered a Wear OS app and won't be reviewed for Wear OS.

If my app does not meet the Wear OS requirements, will my new or updated app still appear on Google Play for other devices and still be installable on wearables?

Your app will not show up in the Wear OS version of the Google Play Store. However, your app might still appear in the Play Store for other devices, such as phones or tablets, and might be installed on a wearable.

For information about how to publish your Wear OS apps in Google Play, see Distribute to Wear OS.