Wear OS 5 drops support for old watch faces; only WFF allowed

Samsung Galaxy Watch Ultra AM AH 08

Wear OS 5, the latest version of Google’s operating system for smartwatches, will include new requirements for watch face developers. Now, only those developed in WFF (Watch Face Format) will be compatible with Wear OS 5 wearables. The new Galaxy Watch 7 and Watch Ultra are the first devices running this version out of the box.

You can only use WFF watch faces on Wear OS 5 wearables

Wear OS 5 arrived as an update with important improvements in battery life. Google promises up to 20% less power consumption compared to the previous version. To achieve this, the company implemented some important changes, and it seems that support for watch faces is one of the affected sections. From now on, developers will have to adapt their watch faces to the WFF format if they want them to be compatible with the latest Wear OS version. Google launched the WFF format with Wear OS 4, but its implementation was not yet mandatory.

That said, the change will be positive for both users and developers. For the latter, developing watch faces in WFF will be much simpler since there will be no code embedded in the watch face APK. This is because the logical part necessary to run watch faces will now be the full responsibility of the OS. So, developers can focus on the creative and functional sections. That is, they will no longer have to worry about code optimization. On the other hand, Wear OS 5 users will benefit from better battery life thanks to the latest Watch Face Format.

Not all watch faces have been adapted yet

As a drawback, it is possible that some of your favorite watch faces are not yet adapted to WFF. So, they won’t be available on your device running Wear OS 5. However, it seems like things are moving fast. In May, Google revealed that 30% of watch faces available in the Play Store had already been adapted to WFF. A couple of months have passed since then, so it is possible that the percentage is higher now.

Additionally, Wear OS 5 will still take some months to reach most eligible wearables, so you may already be able to set all your favorite watch faces when you receive the update. Currently, all watch faces are compatible with “watches running Wear OS 2 or later.” So, you shouldn’t have any problem using your favorites. Lastly, Google expects all watch faces available in the Play Store to use the WFF format “in early 2025.”

Wear OS watch faces Watch Face Format WFF
WFF sample watch faces

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