Searching for Wear OS apps is a genuine pain in the neck. It’s a process that Google (thankfully) wants to revamp ahead of the “new WearOS” launch later this year. Over the next few weeks, Google will push a Play Store and Wear OS update to streamline the app searching and installation process.
The biggest change in this update comes to the Play Store. You can now add search terms like “watch” or “watch faces” to help narrow your search results, saving you the trouble of digging through the Wear OS category (which may not have the specific apps or watch faces you’re looking for).
More importantly, you can now tap an arrow next to the Install button to check if an app is compatible with your Wear OS smartwatch and choose which devices (your phone or your watch) will install said app. Google says that apps will download to both your phone and smartwatch by default, though.
And then there’s the Play Store on your smartwatch, which now incorporates the design of Material You (Android 12). That’s a fancy way of saying that the Wear OS Play Store now fits better on a small, round screen, and highlights important info with colorful cards. If you purchase an app on your Wear OS device, Google says that it will now “reliably” prompt the purchase on your smartphone.
We should expect these updates to arrive in the coming weeks. This is common for Play Store updates, which can take a long time to fully roll out. Google and Samsung will probably announce more changes to Wear OS at the upcoming Unpacked event (date unknown), which is where we expect to catch our first glimpse at the new Wear OS (and the Galaxy Watch 4).