Google Play Services update reveals more details about Wear OS backups

Watch faces and tiles will be included in the backup

Google has been working on adding a backup feature to Wear OS watches for some time, although it hasn’t arrived in time for Google Pixel Watch. These backups will solve one of the biggest problems with the process of connecting any Wear OS watch to a new phone. Right now, you have to set up your watch from scratch every time you re-pair it with another handset. With backups, this process could become more seamless, allowing you to restore your watch for the most part when you get a new phone. A teardown reveals the latest progress Google has made in this area.


9to5Google reveals that Google Play Services version 22.42.12 comes with new clues about Wear OS’s backup feature. The app, which is a core service on Android responsible for syncing notifications, location data, and more, reveals that you’ll be able to back up your current watch face, app data, and device settings. Wi-Fi passwords and permissions are also included.

All of this means that when you set up your watch from scratch on a new phone, you’ll be able to download that data from the cloud. The ability to save watch faces is particularly valuable, as many watch faces offer endless customization, so having to re-tweak everything to your liking can be annoying if the watch face app you’re using doesn’t offer not its own backups.

There is a caveat, however. The teardown also shows that Wear OS backups will be opt-in, meaning if you forgot to set it up, you’ll have to set up your watch again from scratch when you pair it with another phone. It’s likely that Google had to strike a balance between privacy and convenience, but since backups are usually encrypted on Google’s servers, your data should be safe regardless.

Previously, it was discovered that the backup process would work the same as on phones, all of which are based on Google One cloud storage. Even with this new leak, it’s still unclear how seamlessly the feature will work, though with those final details in mind, the phone switch may feel a lot less disruptive on your watch than before. It’s a real shame that Google didn’t release the feature alongside the Pixel Watch when it launched in October 2022.