If you are a developer for Wear OS or just a regular user of WearOS-powered smartwatches, do take note of some major changes that will take place. Google has not made a big announcement but side-loading third-party apps not officially found on the Play Store may be more difficult than ever. A letter was sent out to Wear OS developers that says things will be more complicated beginning the 10th of March. This means adding unofficial and unapproved wearable apps will not be as easy as before.
Usually, using or adding a new app is easy. You only to launch the Play Store on you device (smartphone or smartwatch). In the near future, you may need to use special tools like those used by developers. Apparently, Google is making a shift from the previous app model that allowed developers to easily distribute apps. This move eliminates the distribution method and will then make smartphone apps smaller.
The legacy app model has been helpful to those that want to easily distribute their apps to wearables. Sadly, that will change and many developers will be affected as per our source. And if you use those kinds of apps, you may have to use and activate some development tools like Android Debug Bridge (ADB).
Wear OS Security Improvements
Google seems to be really serious with improving on security and privacy, as well as, controlling the apps and devices. Sideloading apps on Android devices used to be easier but with Android 11, it’s almost impossible. Even using and getting Android apps on Chrome OS has become more difficult than ever.
With this change, Android apps that used to run easily on Wear OS wearables will be restricted. It’s only right since Google has always wanted to separate Wear OS apps from Android mobile apps. But then we still find it interesting that Google’s Wear OS will add support for 3rd-party Tiles.