Samsung unveiled loads of new hardware at its Unpacked event on August 11. However, it wasn’t just foldables, Galaxy Buds and smartwatches that made their debut that day. The Galaxy Watch 4 also gave us our first look at Google’s Wear OS 3.
Google has shared some of the biggest updates coming to Wear OS with the Galaxy Watch 4 and we’ve compiled them all in this guide.
Of course, the following features have been announced as part of Google’s collaboration with Samsung, so it’s unclear whether all of these features will be available on other Wear OS devices. That said, the below are all updates Google hinted at earlier this year, so we’re hopeful we’ll see them on other smartwatches.
Either way, don’t expect the features to look identical. These apps have been shown running under Samsung’s One UI overlay, so there’s a good chance the interface will be different on future Wear OS watches.
Read on to discover five of the new features rolling out with Wear OS 3, including three that will be available on the older Wear OS 2 (good news for people using older Galaxy watches).
Offline listening with YouTube Music and Spotify
The first feature coming exclusively to Wear OS 3 is offline listening with YouTube Music.
YouTube Music Premium users will be able to listen to more than 80 millions songs with the YouTube Music app on Wear OS. They’ll also be able to download music to enjoy offline, ad-free and with no nearby phone necessary. There’s also a Smart Downloads feature to refresh your downloads list whenever your Watch is charging and connected to Wi-Fi.
Meanwhile, Spotify has announced that Spotify Premium users will now be able to download music and podcasts on their Wear OS devices, including the Galaxy Watch 4 and existing wearables from Fossil, Mobvoi and Suunto.
An updated Google Maps app
Another feature only available on Wear OS 3 is the new Google Maps app.
The updated navigation app will still include turn-by-turn directions sent from your phone and supports walking, cycling and driving. The update will also remember your home and work addresses and your recent searches from your smartphone to help you get on your journey quickly.
Messages by Google will sync with your phone
One update that will be rolling out on Wear OS 2 as well as the new Wear OS 3 is in Messages by Google.
The Messages app (as you might expect) allows users to send and receive messages on the go without taking out their phone to respond. The app will now sync automatically with your phone to keep your chats up to date across both devices.
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Google Pay in more locations
Google Pay is also expanding to be available in more countries worldwide in Wear OS 2 and beyond.
If you live in the UK, this update might not apply to you as Wear OS has supported Google Pay contactless payments here and in other countries for a while. However, users in Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Slovakia, Sweden, Taiwan, Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates will be happy to hear the feature is rolling out in these 16 countries now.
The design of the app has also been updated with larger credit card designs, making them easier to swipe through on the go.
New app experiences and Tiles
Finally, Google is launching a range of new experiences on Wear OS apps, including Calm, Komoot, MyFitnessPal, Period Tracker, Sleep Cycle, Spotify (as mentioned above), Strava and more. These updates will also be available for Wear OS 2 users.
Some of these apps will also come with Google’s third-party Tiles – widgets that show the most important information on your watch face at a glance.