Get Android Wear 2.0
If you’re an Android Wear fan and want to try out the latest version, Christopher Minasians shows how
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 (tinyurl.com/zz28qqy) 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 (tinyurl.com/pc2trh9). 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 flash-all.sh 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.