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Wearable Tech

Taking a screenshot on Android Wear just got a lot easier

Forget booting up your computer to take a screenshot of your watch, after a recent update you only need your phone.

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Android Wear devices have started receiving an update to Android Lollipop. In addition to better notification management, new screen brightness settings and sound profile options, the update also makes it plain simple to take a screenshot on your watch.

As I covered when Android Wear first launched, the process for taking a screenshot was cumbersome. You needed to have access to a computer, the Android SDK installed, basic knowledge of ADB commands and a few minutes of spare time.

Once your Android Wear watch receives the latest update to Lollipop (check for an update using the instructions found here), taking a screenshot is as simple as tapping a few buttons.

Android Wear screenshots. Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

First, you'll need to enable Developer Options on the Android smartphone or tablet paired to your watch. The process may vary depending on the version and skin of Android you're running, but for the most part enabling the hidden feature is as follows:

  • Launch the Settings app.
  • Scroll down and tap on About.
  • Find the Build Number listing at the bottom; tap on it seven (7) times.
  • Developer Options will then show up on the Settings app, just above About.

From here on out, the process is painless and can be carried out without having to go back into settings and tinker with anything.

The process for taking a screenshot on Android Wear 5.0.1. Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET
  • Launch the Android Wear app on your phone or tablet.
  • Tap on the three-dot menu button in the top-right corner.
  • Select Take wearable screenshot.

A few seconds later an alert will show up in your notification tray, letting you know the screenshot was captured. Tap on the notification and pick how or where you'd like to share it. For some odd reason, Google opted not to automatically save the screenshots to the Photos app so you have to do something with the screenshot or its deleted once you clear the notification.

But hey, this certainly beats the old method. Progress!