Get An­droid Wear 2.0

If you’re an An­droid Wear fan and want to try out the lat­est ver­sion, Christo­pher Mi­nasians shows how

Tech Advisor - - Contents -

Com­pat­i­ble watches

At the time of writ­ing just two watches sup­port An­droid Wear 2.0 De­vel­oper Pre­view – Huawei Watch and LG Watch Ur­bane 2nd Edition. We ex­pect more de­vices to be added.

Down­load the sys­tem im­age

Be­fore you start, you should note that flash­ing your watch with a new sys­tem im­age will re­move all its data, so make sure you first back it up. By flash­ing the de­vice you will be also re­quired to un­lock the boot­loader, po­ten­tially void­ing your watch’s war­ranty, so pro­ceed at your own risk.

To down­load the pre­view im­age, go to Google’s down­load page ( for the most re­cent sys­tem im­age ( 1). We rec­om­mend down­load­ing the ‘Pre­view im­age for test­ing’ ver­sion, as the ‘Non-pre­view im­age (for af­ter test­ing)’ will re­store your watch back to a non-de­vel­oper ver­sion.

Af­ter you’ve down­loaded the pre­view, check its MD5 or SHA-1 check­sum by us­ing a file check­sum in­tegrity ver­i­fier, such as the one freely pro­vided by Mi­crosoft ( This is to en­sure that the down­load hasn’t been cor­rupted, po­ten­tially caus­ing prob­lems when you’re flash­ing it on your watch.

Set up the watch to be flashed

From your phone you’ll have to un­pair/for­get your watch. Next en­able ADB de­bug­ging within De­vel­oper Op­tions on the watch it­self. Go to Set­tings > De­vel­oper Op­tions (if it’s miss­ing, tap ‘About’ seven times) > ADB de­bug­ging.

In­stall the fast­boot tools

To flash a sys­tem im­age, you’ll need to have the fast­boot tool in your plat­form-tools/ di­rec­tory within your An­droid SDK. Be sure to have the lat­est ver­sion of An­droid SDK Plat­form-tools from the SDK Man­ager.

Put the sys­tem im­age on your watch

From your down­loaded im­age, unzip the file and plug in your watch us­ing the in­cluded USB wire to your PC. If for any rea­son the driv­ers or watch isn’t recog­nised by your PC, try a dif­fer­ent USB port. Hav­ing in­stalled An­droid SDK, use the adb com­mand ‘adb de­vices’ (with­out the quote marks) to list the watch on your PC. An adb com­mand is the same as open­ing CMD, also known as com­mand prompt on Win­dows de­vices. On Win­dows plat­forms we sug­gest copy­ing across the CMD ap­pli­ca­tion to the ex­tracted zip folder and then open­ing CMD as an ad­min­is­tra­tor ( 2).

Next, type adb re­boot boot­loader to re­boot the de­vice into fast­boot. If you need to un­lock the de­vice’s boot­loader, type: fast­boot flash­ing un­lock or if that doesn’t work try fast­boot oem un­lock. Your watch should now have an un­lock op­tion. Click it to un­lock the boot­loader.

Back on the PC, find where you un­zipped your sys­tem im­age file and look for the ‘flash-all’ script. You’ll want to ex­e­cute it by typ­ing flash-all.bat on Win­dows and on a Mac.

Af­ter you’ve ex­e­cuted the script, your watch will re­boot and you’ll be able to pair it with your de­vice. Af­ter it has re­booted, you can dis­con­nect your watch from your com­puter.

In­stalling apps on your watch

If you want to in­stall apps, you’ll need to rese­cure the boot­loader. Go to Set­tings > De­vel­oper Op­tions (re-en­able it by tap­ping ‘About’ seven times) > En­able ADB de­bug­ging. Next, re­con­nect the watch to your PC, us­ing the USB ca­ble, then tap ‘Al­ways al­low from this com­puter’.

Fol­low the adb com­mand to put the watch into fast­boot mode by typ­ing: adb re­boot boot­loader and then lock the watch by typ­ing fast­boot flash­ing lock or fast­boot oem lock. You’ll see that on your watch you’ll be prompted to boot the de­vice by press­ing Start and then touch­ing the ‘0’ dis­played.

Re­move the de­vel­oper pre­view

If you want to roll back the De­vel­oper Pre­view, fol­low the steps shown above. How­ever, this time around use the ‘Non-pre­view im­age (for af­ter test­ing)’ ver­sion when flash­ing the script.

Be­fore be­gin­ning the up­grade, make sure your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch is fully backed up to iCloud or your com­puter via iTunes. It’s un­likely any­thing will go wrong, but if it does, you could lose any data that’s changed since your last backup, such as new con­tacts, doc­u­ments, pho­tos or videos.

Plus, it’s a real has­sle to have to start from scratch if there’s a prob­lem. You’ll have to reinstall apps, add email ac­counts, sync con­tacts and en­ter lots of lo­gins and pass­words. Make a full backup to iTunes and click the ‘En­crypt backup’ box and your pass­words and apps will all be backed up (and re­stored if needs be). Your com­puter needs to be au­tho­rised – you’ll be prompted to sign in if it isn’t – to back up all your apps. It’s not nec­es­sary to back up apps since they can be down­loaded again au­to­mat­i­cally dur­ing a re­store.

The 5GB of free iCloud stor­age won’t be enough to make a full backup, so you’ll have to pay for ex­tra stor­age if you don’t want to back up through iTunes.

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