Raising the quality bar with updated guidelines for Wear OS 3.0

Posted by Marcus Leal, Senior Product Manager for Google Play Store

WearOS 3.0 art

Our Modern Android Developer tools and APIs are designed to help you build high quality apps your users love, and this extends to form factors such as wearables. Earlier this year we announced udates to our developer tools APIs to support you in building seamless, high quality apps for your users. Today we’re announcing new guidelines to help support you in building these experiences.

Updated quality guidelines for Wear OS apps

We’ve started by updating our guidelines to give you a better understanding of what we expect of quality apps on Google Play, and what your users will be expecting for Wear OS 3.0. Some of the major changes are summarized below:

  • There are updated quality requirements for notifications, layout, and Wear functionality. Starting October 13th, Wear OS apps will need to meet these requirements to be published on Google Play.
  • Starting October 13th, Watch Faces will need to comply with our updated guidelines. All watch faces still need to comply with Google Play policies in order to publish on Google Play.

Many developers are already meeting these requirements and won’t need to make many of these changes when migrating to Wear OS 3.0. However, we recommend familiarizing yourself with the full updated guidelines here.

Updated screenshot requirements for Wear OS apps

With these quality guideline updates, we’re also rolling out changes to the Play Store to improve the discoverability of Wear OS apps. In July we launched the ability for people to filter for Wear OS and Watch Faces when searching for apps within the Play Store.

We’re now releasing new screenshot requirements for Wear OS apps to help users better understand your Wear OS app’s functionality when discovering new apps. Starting October 13th, Wear OS apps will need to meet these screenshot requirements to be published on Google Play:

  • Upload screenshots with a minimum size of 384 x 384 pixels, and with a 1:1 aspect ratio.
  • Provide screenshots showing only your app interface — screenshots must demonstrate the actual in-app or in-game experience, focusing on the core features and content so users can anticipate what the app or game experience will be like.
  • Don’t frame your screenshots in a Wear OS watch.
  • Don’t include additional text, graphics, or backgrounds in your Wear OS screenshots that are not part of the interface of your app.
  • Don’t include transparent backgrounds or masking.

List of Watch OS dos and don'ts. Do upload screenshots with a minimum size of 384 x 384 pixels, and with a 1:1 aspect ratio. Do provide screenshots showing only your app interface — screenshots must demonstrate the actual in-app or in-game experience, focusing on the core features and content so users can anticipate what the app or game experience will be like. Don’t frame your screenshots in a Wear OS watch.
Don’t include additional text, graphics, or backgrounds in your Wear OS screenshots that are not part of the interface of your app. Don’t include transparent backgrounds or masking.

Similar to mobile, your store listing and the quality of your Wear OS app will influence your search ranking and opportunities for merchandising. In order to put your best foot forward on Google Play, we recommend thinking about the following considerations:

  • Test your app on Wear OS 3.0 devices, and make sure it is working as expected.
  • Make sure your store listing shows that your app is available for Wear OS. One way to do this is to upload a screenshot of your Wear OS app or Watch face in Google Play Console.
  • Most importantly, ensure your Wear OS app meets the new quality requirements.

We hope this transparency helps your development process, and we look forward to seeing more seamless Wear OS experiences on Google Play. Happy Coding!

Leave a Comment