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How to check for software updates on Android Wear

Checking for a software update on your Android Wear smartwatch is an easy, but hidden, task.

Now playing: Watch this: Navigating Android on your wrist

Shortly before their public launch, Google released a minor update for Android Wear devices. The process for installing the update is straightforward once you receive an update alert on your wrist. Another update is likely to appear in the near future, considering currently Android Wear users can't install paid apps due to an encryption bug.

When you get word of an update being released and don't want to wait for your watch to alert you, you can force it to check with Google's servers for an update. Here's how:

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET
  • Launch the Settings app on your watch. You can do this by tapping on the home screen and scrolling up instead of giving a voice command. Settings is near the bottom of the list of actions.
  • In settings, scroll to the bottom where you will find an "About" section.
  • Find the option titled "System Updates" and tap on it. Naturally, your watch will need to be connected to your phone in order for it to check for an update.

Upon tapping on the system updates option, your watch will immediately check for an update and report the results. If an update is found, you'll be asked to approve its installation. Or, like the screenshot above shows, if no update is found you'll see a prompt telling you it's up to date. Oddly enough, the checkmark screen above does not timeout and clear itself from your watch, you need to do this manually by swiping from the left edge. I learned this the hard way, leaving the screen displayed for an hour or more, causing a significant drain on the battery.