Thursday, July 18, 2024

Wear OS 5 only supports the Watch Face Format, old faces can’t be downloaded

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The Watch Face Format (WFF) was introduced at I/O 2023 and is now required “in order to be installed on new watches that launch with Wear OS 5 pre-installed.”

This declarative XML format for building watch faces means there’s no executable code or code embedded in the watch face APK. Built in partnership with Samsung, developers don’t have to worry about battery performance or code optimizations. For example, these faces are rendered on a watch’s co-processor (MCU).

With the launch of Wear OS 5 on the Galaxy Watch 7, only the Watch Face Format will be supported. Specifically, “you’ll only have access to watch faces that have met our performance and quality standards.” Google explains how:

  • If you’re already using a watch: For now, you can continue to use your existing watch faces on watches running Wear OS 2 or later.
  • If you’re getting a new watch: When you set up a new watch that comes with Wear OS 5, select watch faces may not be available to download on your new watch, even if they were available on your previous watch.
  • If you’re transferring to a new watch: If you back up your current watch and restore to a new watch with Wear OS 5, some older watch faces from your previous watch may not transfer over. 

Earlier this year, Google said the Watch Face Format is required to access most complications. At I/O 2024, version 2 was introduced with easier access to weather information and adds new styles of complications, including a goal progress and weighted elements complication type. Flavors let developers offer present configurations “that users can browse in a companion app.”

In early 2025, “all new watch faces published on Google Play must use the Watch Face Format.”

New Complication styles for Watch Face Format

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