One of the reasons people buy a smartwatch is to reduce the time they spend on smartphones. Although most smartwatches do a great job, they lack controls such as turning devices on and off, for example, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, flashlight, and hotspots for which you may need to unlock your device. Then all it takes is an Instagram notification that results in minutes to hours of endless scrolling. However, if you have one of the best Wear OS smartwatches, the Galaxy Watch 4, or any wearable device powered by Wear OS, use an app called SimpleWear to switch and control phone features from your watch.
Although the app requires admin permissions on Android to work, it is an open source app, so you don’t have to worry about spying and stealing your data. Here’s how to install SimpleWear on your Galaxy Watch 4 and control your phone.
How to control your phone from Galaxy Watch 4
There are two parts to this: installing SimpleWear on your Galaxy Watch 4 and phone, and granting all permissions in the companion app.
Install SimpleWear app on Galaxy Watch 4
- Swipe up from the bottom to open the app menu.
- Press the play store icon to open it.
- Press the look for icon and search SimpleWear.
- Install the SimpleWear application.
Install SimpleWear on your Android device
- Head to the Google Play Store.
- To research SimpleWear and press install.
- Once installed, press Open.
If you don’t see SimpleWear on the Play Store, download and install its APK without the Google Play Store or from the official GitHub releases page. Also, if you can’t find the SimpleWear companion app on the Google Play Store, launch the app on your watch and tap the blue icon with a phone and an arrow. This opens the app’s page on the Google Play Store on your phone.
How to set up SimpleWear
Once the app is installed on both devices, it’s time to start the installation process. All you have to do is follow the instructions in the companion app and you’ll be controlling your phone in no time.
- Launch SimpleWear.
- Allow all permissions.
- The Pair with a WearOS device authorization may require you to press the Allow your watch to appear on other Bluetooth devices for 30 minutes option on the watch. Once activated, your watch appears on the app.
- The Lock screen permission requires you to give the app admin rights, and the rest can be allowed using on-screen popups.
Now that we’re done with the setup, here’s how to use the SimpleWear app on the Galaxy Watch 4.
How to use the SimpleWear app
Now that the watch is connected to the phone, here’s how to use SimpleWear to control your Android device from your Galaxy Watch 4.
- Open the SimpleWear app on your watch.
- Press the floor tile under the Shares menu to activate or deactivate functions.
- To change the default grid view on a list layout, tap the three dots icon or swipe up to open apps settings.
- The settings menu also houses the Dashboard and Tile editors. You can add a tile. However, you cannot use it much because Samsung’s quick settings have more tiles. Here’s what SimpleWear’s tile looks like compared to Samsung’s comprehensive three-page quick settings options.
Here’s everything you can control using the app:
- Enable and disable Wi-Fi, Hotspot and Bluetooth.
- Turn the flashlight on and off.
- Instantly lock the screen.
- Toggle Do Not Disturb on and off.
- Switch to Ring, Vibrate, or Silent mode.
- Play media from audio apps on your phone.
- Open the watch apps.
- Control the brightness and set it to automatic.
If you turn off your phone’s Bluetooth from the watch, the app will still sync your phone, provided your watch is connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your phone.
You can also enable and disable mobile data and location. To do this, connect your phone to a computer and run a few ADB commands. Follow the official guide on GitHub to grant SimpleWear access to the WRITE_SECURE_SETTING permission.
SimpleWear sheds light on Google’s ecosystem problem
A smartwatch is meant to eliminate frequent phone use. There’s a lot that Wear OS does well, like receiving and making calls and texts, controlling music, and syncing supported apps. Still, SimpleWear provides a great overview of other tiny but impactful ecosystem features that Google could bring to the platform to improve it.
If you recently purchased a Wear OS smartwatch and are using the platform for the first time, here are some tips and tricks to improve your Wear OS experience. The Google Pixel Watch is a great opportunity to improve the Google ecosystem, and so far it looks promising.