Google starts rolling out Android Wear 5.1.1 update


Google today announced on its product forums that it has started rolling out the Android Wear 5.1.1 update for all the Android Wear running smartwatches out there.

Announced last month, Android Wear 5.1.1 is the biggest update to Android Wear since its launch and brings with it lots of new features and enhancements, including Wi-Fi support, support for Heads-up notifications, new gestures, the ability to change the font size, an always-on mode for apps, the ability to draw and send emojis to your friends and more.

A detailed but partial change log highlighting the major changes in this update from Google’s product forums is below:

  • Always-on screen, always-on apps: Most Android Wear watches include an always-on screen—no tapping, twisting or shaking required to see what time it is. Now we’re expanding this option to apps, so they can stay visible as long as you need them, instead of disappearing when you drop your arm. Perfect for running, navigating, or grocery shopping!

  • New launcher & Wrist gestures:  Now you can access your apps and contacts by simply swiping left from the watch face.  Android Wear also now responds to specific navigation gestures so you can scroll between cards with a simple flick of the wrist. Learn more with our YouTube video.

  • Draw emojis:  In response to texts, instant messages, or emails, you can now send emojis to your contacts by drawing them on your watch screen. The watch will recognize the emoji you drew and send it via whichever messaging app you’re using. Give it a try by selecting “Draw emoji” whenever you’re replying to a message!

  • Heads-up notifications: Incoming notifications like text messages will now appear on-screen even when you’re looking at something else on your watch, like directions or fitness stats, so you won’t miss anything important.

  • Switching watches made easier: The Android Wear companion app now lets you pair your phone with more than one watch at a time – ideal for swapping watches to match your style.

  • Change your font size: Want to see more text on your watch screen? Or less? You can now adjust the font size from your watch’s settings.

  • Lock your watch’s screen: Want to lock your watch’s screen when you’re not wearing it? Turn on the new “Screen lock” feature from your watch’s settings. When enabled, if your watch detects you’re not wearing it (or it loses the connection to your phone) for a period of time, then your specified swipe pattern will be required to unlock it.

Wi-Fi support, however, is only available on selected Android Wear watches, which includes the Moto 360, LG Watch Urbane, Sony SmartWatch 3 and the Samsung Gear Live.

As it is always the case with OTA updates, they can take up to a couple of weeks to be available on all Android Wear devices out there.

[Via Google’s Product Forums]