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Exposing Data to Complications

A watch face complication displays data that is supplied by a data provider. Data providers supply raw fields containing text, strings, images and numbers to watch faces.

A data provider service extends ComplicationProviderService to deliver users useful information directly to the watch face.

Creating Data Provider Apps

Android Wear sends update requests to data provider apps when there is a need to update the complication data.

To respond to update requests from the system, your data provider app must implement the onComplicationUpdate() method of the ComplicationProviderService class. This method will be called when the system wants data from your provider - this could be when a complication using your provider becomes active, or when a fixed amount of time has passed. A ComplicationManager object is passed as a parameter to the onComplicationUpdate method, and can be used to send data back to the system.

Note: When you provide data as a complication data provider, the watch face receives the raw values you send so it can draw them on the watch face.

The following code snippet shows a sample implementation of the onComplicationUpdate method:

public void onComplicationUpdate(
       int complicationId, int dataType, ComplicationManager complicationManager) {

   Log.d(TAG, "onComplicationUpdate() id: " + complicationId);

   // Used to create a unique key to use with SharedPreferences for this complication.
   ComponentName thisProvider = new ComponentName(this, getClass());

   // Retrieves your data, in this case, we grab an incrementing number from SharedPrefs.
   SharedPreferences preferences =
     getSharedPreferences( ComplicationTapBroadcastReceiver.COMPLICATION_PROVIDER_PREFERENCES_FILE_KEY, 0);

   int number =
                           thisProvider, complicationId),
   String numberText = String.format(Locale.getDefault(), "%d!", number);

   ComplicationData complicationData = null;

   switch (dataType) {
       case ComplicationData.TYPE_SHORT_TEXT:
           complicationData =
                   new ComplicationData.Builder(ComplicationData.TYPE_SHORT_TEXT)
           if (Log.isLoggable(TAG, Log.WARN)) {
               Log.w(TAG, "Unexpected complication type " + dataType);

   if (complicationData != null) {
       complicationManager.updateComplicationData(complicationId, complicationData);

   } else {
       // If no data is sent, we still need to inform the ComplicationManager, so
       // the update job can finish and the wake lock isn't held any longer.

Manifest Declarations and Permissions

Data provider apps must include specific declarations in their app manifest to be treated as a data provider by the Android system. This section explains the required settings for data provider apps. In your app's manifest, declare the service and add an update request action intent filter. The manifest must also protect the service by adding the BIND_COMPLICATION_PROVIDER permission to ensure that only the Android Wear system can bind to provider services.

In addition, within the service element, you must include an android:icon attribute. The provided icon should be a single-color white icon. Vector drawables are recommended for the icons. An icon should represent the provider and will be shown in the provider chooser.

Here's an example:

                <action android:name=""/>

Specify the meta data elements

In your manifest file, include metadata to specify the supported types, update period, and configuration action, if required; for details, see the keys listed for the ComplicationProviderService class in the Wear API Reference.

When your complication data provider is active, UPDATE_PERIOD_SECONDS specifies how often you want the system to check for updates to the data. This should be set to as long a time as possible, or to 0 when scheduled updates are not required, as updating too frequently may impact battery life. Note that update requests are not guaranteed to be sent with this frequency. The system applies a minimum update period of 300 seconds, and in particular, update requests may come less often when the device is in ambient mode or is not worn.

You can alternatively use a "push style" to send updates, rather than requesting updates on a fixed schedule. Use ProviderUpdateRequester to trigger calls to onComplicationUpdate as required. For example:



Adding a configuration activity

If required, a provider can include a configuration activity that is shown to the user when the user chooses a data provider. To include the configuration activity, include a metadata item in the provider service declaration in the manifest with a key of the following:


The value can be an action of your choice.

Then create the configuration activity with an intent filter for that action. The configuration activity must reside in the same package as the provider. The configuration activity must return RESULT_OK or RESULT_CANCELED, to tell the system whether the provider should be set.

Provider-specified safe watch faces

Providers can specify certain watch faces as "safe" to receive their data. This is intended to be used only when a watch face will attempt to use the provider as a default (see below), and the provider trusts the watch face app.

To declare watch faces as safe, the provider adds metadata with a key of The metadata value should be a comma-separated list (whitespace is ignored). Entries in the list can be component names (of WatchFaceServices, given as if ComponentName.flattenToString() had been called), or they can be package names (of apps, in which case every watch face within a specified app is considered safe). For example:


Providing burn-in safe images

On screens susceptible to burn-in, solid blocks of color should be avoided in ambient mode. If your icons or images include solid blocks of color, you should also provide a burn-in safe version.

When you provide an icon using ComplicationData.Builder#setIcon, include a burn-in safe version using ComplicationData.Builder#setBurnInProtectionIcon.

When you provide an image using ComplicationData.Builder#setSmallImage, include a burn-in safe version using ComplicationData.Builder#setBurnInProtectionSmallImage.

Providing time-dependent values

Some complications need to display a value that relates to the current time. Examples include the current date, the time until the next meeting, or the time in another time zone.

Do not update a complication every second or minute to keep those values up to date; a complication should never need to update that often. Instead, specify the values as relative to the current date or time using time-dependent text. You can use builders in the ComplicationText class to create these time-dependent values.

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