Tiles provide easy access to the information and actions users need to get things done. With a simple swipe from the watch face, a user can find out the latest forecast or start a timer.

Various tiles swiping.

Figure 1. An example of a tile on a Wear OS device.

Users can choose what tiles they want to see. There are tiles to check the weather, set a timer, track daily fitness progress, quick-start a workout, play a song, scan an upcoming meeting, and send a message to a favorite contact.

Tiles next to each other.

Figure 2. Tiles give users easy access to information and actions.

The Tiles API helps developers build custom tiles that users can include on their watch. Using the Tiles API requires targeting API level 26 or higher.

Best practices

Working with tiles requires some specific considerations:

  • Use Material components and Material layouts over more basic components to help ensure compliance with Material Design user interface recommendations and overall consistency.
  • While the OS handles rendering the UI of the tile, you provide the layout, information, and resources using the TileService.
  • Tiles are meant for glanceable information that users can read in a matter of seconds. Display only the most important content, with a clear information hierarchy.
  • To safeguard the user’s battery, avoid elements that require frequent re-rendering.
  • Save highly interactive experiences for your activities. However, you can link into those activities from your tile. For more information, see Interact with tiles.
  • Avoid text like “x minutes ago” or "in x minutes" for past or future events, as this requires frequent updates. Instead, display the actual start or end time or use a phrase like "in the past."
  • Avoid long-running asynchronous work when providing a tile’s layout and resources. Create tiles with code that executes quickly.
  • Consider letting the user tap tiles to learn more and take action in an overlay, where there is support for rich interactivity and the user can scroll for more information.
  • If you have a large app that supports the user with multiple tasks, consider creating a tile for each task. For example, a fitness app might have a Goals tile and a Workout Activity tile.