Upgrade to the latest version of Wear OS

Upgrade from Wear 2.0

This guide describes the upgrade process for Wear OS.

Android-specific changes

Wear 2.0 encompasses multiple Android versions from API level 25 through API level 28.

Note: There is no version of Wear OS for Android 10 (API Level 29).

If your Wear OS app targets the Wear OS 2.0 (API level 28), then most of the work to upgrade is handling the platform changes from Android 9 (API level 28) to Android 11 (API level 30).

There is no version of Wear OS for Android 10 (API Level 29), so you need to handle those changes all at once when you change your compileSdkVersion and targetSdkVersion fields from 28 to 30.

Note: Even if you do not change the compileSdkVersion or targetSdkVersion in your app, ensure that your app is compatible with API Level 29.

Wear-OS-specific changes

Tiles, Complications, Overlays, Watch faces, and many other surfaces exist in Wear OS 2.0. However, you must revise your user interface to incorporate our latest design guidelines.

If you are using the current watch face API (non-Jetpack), the LegacyWatchFaceOverlayStyle API will not work on Wear OS API level 30.

API level 30 includes the Ongoing Activity API

An ongoing activity allows an ongoing notification to appear on additional surfaces within the Wear OS user interface, which allows users to stay more engaged with long-running activities.

Note: Some features of the new alpha watch face APIs are available only on devices running API level 30 or higher.

Choose a version to start with

As called out in the Android-specific changes section, the Wear OS version is tied to an Android version. Consider which Wear OS devices are the most common when choosing a version to start with.

Most developers will build a solid app targeting the API level 30 but leave the minSdkVersion version low enough to target the most prevalent Android versions. For example, to allow support for Wear 2.0 devices, set your minSdkVersion to 25.

If you have experience with Android development, much of that knowledge is applicable to Wear OS. To find out what differs, read Wear OS versus Mobile Development.

Note: The API level 30 Wear OS emulator system image is currently in Developer Preview. See release notes for the latest updates.