Wear OS watches are relatively easy to pair and set up, but the process is time consuming, especially if you want to customize your watch faces and thumbnails and download apps. But if you happen to reset your phone or switch to a different one, you will need to reconfigure your smartwatch.
The standard process requires you to factory reset your smartwatch before you can pair it again, which means losing your data and customizations and setting everything up from scratch again. Fortunately, there is a way to avoid wiping down your watch and using ADB commands to re-pair it with another phone. This process does not require you to root your phone or watch and only takes a few minutes. You’ll just need a computer, your watch, and a USB cable or Wi-Fi connection, although the latter is not recommended.
This process has been tested on some of the best Android smartwatches, including those from Fossil and Huawei. However, it may not work with the latest Wear OS 3.
If you have a Samsung Galaxy Watch4, you should avoid using this process as we tested it and were unable to pair the watch with a phone after step 4. Instead, we recommend save it, reset it and restore the backup. . It may take longer, but it will prevent you from encountering problems and losing your data.
1. Enable ADB debugging
The first step is to enable ADB debugging on your Wear OS watch, so that it is “ready” to receive commands. To do this, you need to activate the developer tools on your watch.
Go to Settings -> System -> About. Then keep pressing Build number until you see a message confirming “You are now a developer”.
Now let’s enable ADB debugging: go back to Settings -> Developer options and light up ADB debugging and debug over Wi-Fi.
This may trigger a prompt on your watch, be sure to accept it before continuing.
Unzip the content and launch a terminal or a command window of this file.
In Windows, this is done by holding down the Shift key while right-clicking and selecting “open command window here”. On Mac, you will need to secondary click and select “New Terminal in Folder”.
3. Connect to the watch
Before you connect to your watch, it’s better to turn off your phone or deactivate its Bluetooth connection. Then continue with the steps below:
Using a wired connection
It is better to connect using a cable, because it is easy and stable. When you plug the cable into your computer, you may see a prompt asking if you want to enable debugging. To make things easier, make sure that “Always allow debugging from this computer.“
In your terminal or command window, type the command below and press Enter:
If you’re using a Mac, you’ll need to enter it this way:
You should now see your watch’s serial number listed. If it doesn’t appear, try unplugging and re-plugging the cable and checking the watch screen for a prompt allowing debugging.
To connect via Wi-Fi, you need to make sure that your watch and your computer are on the same network. Next, you’ll need to write down your watch’s IP address, which is listed under Settings -> Developer options -> Debug over Wi-Fi.
In your terminal or command window, type the command below and press Enter, or [IP Address] is the one listed in the developer options menu as shown above:
adb connect [IP Address]
On Mac, you will need to enter it this way:
./adb connect [IP Address]
Make sure to check your watch, as you will need to accept a prompt to continue the process.
4. Sending ADB orders
Now that you’ve successfully connected your watch to your computer, it’s time to send it the commands.
Start with the one below, which will delete data from Google Play services on your watch:
adb shell “pm clear com.google.android.gms && reboot”
On a Mac:
./adb shell “pm clear com.google.android.gms && reboot”
Your watch should restart when it receives the command. Once back on, you will need to repeat step 3 to reconnect. I personally had issues connecting over Wi-Fi using a Fossil watch after this step, so I recommend using a cable.
Anyway, once connected to the watch, continue with the command below:
adb shell “am start -a android.bluetooth.adapter.action.REQUEST_DISCOVERABLE”
Or on a Mac:
./adb shell “am start -a android.bluetooth.adapter.action.REQUEST_DISCOVERABLE”
This will make your watch discoverable, so you can pair it with a new phone.
5. Pair your watch and your new phone
Now is the time to turn on your phone or turn on Bluetooth and open the Wear OS app. You should then see your watch and pair it with the phone, just like you did the first time. Fortunately, this will only copy your Google account to the watch and link it to your phone, without erasing your customizations or apps.
6. After pairing
You should now receive your notifications on your watch as usual. However, you may need to re-associate your Google account with various apps because you erased the pre-existing data from Google Play services in step 4. Once done, you may still experience issues with Google apps, including Google. Pay and Google Fit.
This can be solved by clearing the local app data, browsing to Settings -> Apps & Notifications -> App Info -> System Apps -> Application selection -> Application information -> Clear data.
While this process may seem daunting, it is very easy to accomplish by clearly following the steps and only takes a few minutes. Most importantly, it is safe and prevents you from losing your data and customizations.
If you need to re-pair your Wear OS 2.x watch, I highly recommend giving it a try.
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