How to Install APKs on Wear OS Smartwatches

How to Install APKs on Wear OS Smartwatches

The Apple Watch is one of the best smartwatches. Whether for tracking workouts or replying to notifications, it excels. An additional advantage is its vast selection of apps. However, the Apple Watch can only be used with an iPhone, leaving Android users with only one option – Wear OS.

How to Install APKs on Wear OS Smartwatches

Wear OS, unlike watchOS on the Apple Watch, offers a range of features but lacks the same level of refinement. Nevertheless, it shares Android’s customization options. Not only can you install apps from the Play Store, but you can also sideload APK files, similar to smartphones. This is particularly helpful when an app is not available or not accessible in your region. To sideload an app onto a Wear OS smartwatch, follow these instructions.

What Is the Use of Sideloading Apps on Wear OS

Wear OS has evolved over time, but its app ecosystem remains immature. Numerous app developers have discontinued support for their apps, resulting in the removal of many apps from the Play Store. To use an app that is no longer available on the Play Store, you can install the APK versions directly on your smartwatch through sideloading.

How to Install APKs on Wear OS Smartwatches

Some Wear OS apps on the Play Store may not be available in all regions. For example, Google Pay is only officially available in certain countries. However, you can install the APK on your Wear OS smartwatch and use it in your region.

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How to Install an APK on a Wear OS Smartwatch Using ADB

To sideload an APK onto a Wear OS smartwatch, the universal method is via ADB. This method requires a computer and is the safest option, as it does not involve any third-party apps.

Setting up ADB

Step 1: Download the ADB files based on your computer’s OS. Step 2: Extract the ZIP file to a location of your choice. On Windows, right-click the extracted file, select ‘Open command window here.’ On Mac and Linux, open Terminal, type ‘cd’ and hit Enter to change the active directory. Drag and drop the unzipped folder to the Terminal window. Press Enter to get the folder’s path on Terminal.

How to Install APKs on Wear OS Smartwatches

Step 3: To enable ADB debugging on the watch, open the Settings app.

How to Install APKs on Wear OS Smartwatches

Step 4: Scroll down to System and tap on it.

How to Install APKs on Wear OS Smartwatches

Step 5: Tap About.

How to Install APKs on Wear OS Smartwatches

Step 6: Scroll to find the Build Number. Tap it 7 times to unlock Developer Options on your watch.

How to Install APKs on Wear OS Smartwatches

Step 7: Open the Settings app and find Developer Options at the bottom. Tap on it.

How to Install APKs on Wear OS Smartwatches

Step 8: Toggle ADB debugging to enable it. Confirm by tapping the green tick.

How to Install APKs on Wear OS Smartwatches How to Install APKs on Wear OS Smartwatches

Step 9: Scroll down and enable the toggle next to Debug over Wi-Fi.

How to Install APKs on Wear OS Smartwatches

Step 10: The watch may display a message saying Unavailable that will soon be replaced by a string of characters including the IP address. This means ADB over Wi-Fi has been enabled. Note down the IP address. It will be something like 192.168.1.325:5555.

How to Install APKs on Wear OS Smartwatches How to Install APKs on Wear OS Smartwatches

Installing APKs via ADB

Now that you’ve enabled ADB via Wi-Fi, let’s transfer the APK to the watch and install it via the PC.

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Step 1: Download the app’s APK from trusted sources like APK Mirror. Copy it to the ADB’s platform-tools folder. Step 2: In the opened terminal window, type ./adb connect followed by the IP address you noted down earlier. For example, ./adb connect 192.168.1.325:5555.

How to Install APKs on Wear OS Smartwatches

Step 3: You will see a prompt on your watch to allow the ADB connection. Select OK.

How to Install APKs on Wear OS Smartwatches

Step 4: The terminal window will show that you are connected to the watch.

How to Install APKs on Wear OS Smartwatches

Step 5: Use the command ./adb push /sdcard/ to transfer the APK to the watch.

How to Install APKs on Wear OS Smartwatches

Step 6: The file will be pushed to your watch, as confirmed by the terminal result.

How to Install APKs on Wear OS Smartwatches

Step 7: Install the app. Type this command, replacing the filename.apk with the APK you want to install:

./adb -e install

Step 8: A Success message will be displayed on the terminal indicating that the app has been installed on your watch.

How to Install APKs on Wear OS Smartwatches

Step 9: Go to Settings on your watch and navigate to Developer Options.

How to Install APKs on Wear OS Smartwatches

Step 10: Disable ADB Debugging to save battery power.

How to Install APKs on Wear OS Smartwatches

Step 11: Open the app drawer on your watch. You should see the installed app listed there. Use it like any other app.

How to Install APKs on Wear OS Smartwatches

If you want to install multiple apps, repeat the process and disable ADB Debugging in the end. This process is similar to installing apps on an Android phone via ADB. The only difference is that we’re using ADB over Wi-Fi instead of a wired connection.

Install Unsupported Wear OS Apps on Your Smartwatch

Download the APKs of any desired apps and install them on your Wear OS smartwatch effortlessly. This allows you to utilize unsupported apps and games in your region or on your device.

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