Keep in mind the following best practices when designing sign-in experiences.

Prompt users at the right time

Don’t force users to sign in unless it is necessary. Wear OS apps shouldn't require authentication for all functionality. Provide as many features as possible without requiring sign-in.

Explain sign-in benefits

If a user needs to sign in, provide a reason using surrounding context and explaining the benefits. Don’t assume the user understands why sign-in is beneficial.

Figure 1. This app provides context by asking for sign-in after the user initiates an action.

Figure 2. This app displays a sign-in prompt immediately after the app launches, but the screen doesn't explain why sign-in is beneficial. This can be confusing for users.

Simplify decision-making

Group sign-in methods into the smallest number of options and highlight the simplest methods.

Figure 3. This app highlights the on-watch sign-in option, on the assumption that it's most convenient. Below that, it groups the other options into their own, separate group

Figure 4. Don’t make the user choose between many different options that have the same result as in the previous example.

Provide alternatives

Offer two different sign-in methods, or the option to skip sign-in, in case sign-in fails.

Figure 5. This app offers an on-phone choice and two backup options.

Don't offer a single off-watch sign-in method.

Figure 6. This watch app doesn’t give any alternate sign-in method, which can result in a difficult user experience if the user’s phone is not nearby.


Streamline the process by reducing the number of steps needed to sign in, and eliminate redundancy.

Figure 7. After the first sign-in, keep users signed in for as long as possible within your app’s privacy and security requirements.

Get credentials through the data layer

If the user is signed into the corresponding phone app, use those credentials to automatically sign them into your watch app.

Figure 8. The user signs in on their phone app and their credentials sign them into the watch.

status and confirmations

The first time a user signs in, display a message that explains the process of signing in or confirms a successful sign-in. Suppress the message that explains sign-in process after the first time the app is opened.

Figure 9. Use a signing-in process state until the process is complete.

Figure 10. If a user is automatically signed in, show a confirmation.

Phone unavailable

Communicate when the phone is not available, and provide alternate actions to improve user success.

Figure 11. If a phone is not nearby, show another way to sign in or to continue to the next step.