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Android Wear on iOS

I recently published my review/thoughts on the iPhone 6s Plus and I mentioned in that review (found here) that I had paired my Android Wear watch with my iPhone. That review was long enough and I thought that my thoughts on using Android Wear with iOS would be worth a separate post. 

I have owned both the Original Moto 360 and the Huawei Watch Android Wear devices. I really enjoyed both of them. Since I have purchased the Moto 360 back in October of 2014 I wore it nearly every single day. In September, I upgraded to the Huawei Watch. Android Wear has become something I count on and use regularly throughout my day. Smartwatches are not for everyone, but I think it has been a pretty solid addition for me.

As far as the Apple Watch goes, I have only tried using one in an Apple Store a few times so I cannot speak to what that experience is like on iOS and I wasn't willing to pony up another 400 plus dollars just to try it out. When I did play with it, I didn't really like the squarish design. I just prefer round watches.

When I sold my Nexus 6, I was on my iPhone full time for about a month and I didn't want to go without using my Huawei Watch. As it turned out, Android Wear support come out shortly before I made the switch to the iPhone and I figured I should give it a try.  What I found was that the basic functionality of the watch still worked and I received most of the notifications I was used to, I got directions from Google Maps and I could do some basic Google searches. However, most functionality beyond that was lost.
The pairing process went really smoothly and I had no issues whatsoever. One thing that you do need to know is that the Android Wear app has to remain open on the iPhone in order to for it to stay connected to the Wear device. This sometimes became an issue if I accidentally swiped away the app in the recent app menu. It's not a deal breaker, but it is important to know. This also means you have to start the app on a restart of the phone.

Normally with Android Wear, you have tons of different faces to choose from or apps that allow you to create your own. On iOS you are only limited to what ships with the watch a few extras that come in the Android Wear app itself. This really made the experience much less inviting. I generally use an app called Pujie Black to design a few faces that I like and I have really enjoyed that. Obviously, that app and anything like it is not available in the Apple App Store. Overall, the lack of watch faces did degrade the experience, but at least Huawei has several faces to choose from.

As mentioned above, notifications come through to the watch which is good. Unfortunately, I could not act on those notifications. On an Android phone, I can not only receive notifications, but I can often reply to people who sent me something, archive things, like posts and so forth. Android Wear just becomes less functional on iOS.

Further illustrating this point is the use of the Google App. I get all kinds of great information on Android Wear mostly from location data that I just didn't get with iOS. This is likely due to the secure nature of iOS and it's understandable, but again it made the watch much less useful. In the end, if you have an iPhone I wouldn't really recommend getting and Android Wear device as the experience is hamstrung. On the other hand, if you don't like or want to get the Apple Watch and you just want something that tells the time and gives you rich notifications, getting and Wear device might not be too bad. If you have never used Android Wear with Android, you won't know what is missing anyway. 

This is not an attack on Apple or Google in anyway. It's really hard to make a cross platform device that would work completely the same in both worlds. That Android Wear devices work at all on iOS is a testament to both companies. Google for making it work and Apple for allowing the app in their store.  

Android Wear is a great platform and I was very happy when I gained all of it's functionality back again on Android.  It is amazing that we have these gadgets at all, and the fact that I didn't have to put away my expensive watch just because I switched phones is also a pretty awesome. Hopefully the experience will only get better from here.

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