Google Photos preps watch face support for Pixel Watch

Watch faces that let people set pictures of their family and friends are quite popular. Ahead of the Pixel Watch, Google Photos is readying support for such an integration.

About APK Insight: In this “APK Insight” post, we’ve decompiled the latest version of an application that Google uploaded to the Play Store. When we decompile these files (called APKs, in the case of Android apps), we’re able to see various lines of code within that hint at possible future features. Keep in mind that Google may or may not ever ship these features, and our interpretation of what they are may be imperfect. We’ll try to enable those that are closer to being finished, however, to show you how they’ll look in case that they do ship. With that in mind, read on.


Numerous strings in Google Photos 6.8 for Android describe a “photos_watchface_preview” that will let you “Select watch face photos.” This appears to be more than just setting a single photo as a watch face’s background. For example, Samsung’s Galaxy Wearable app already appears as a share target in Google Photos.

Select watch face photos

Setting up watch face

Add photos

Photo removed

Galaxy Wearable app

Rather, you’ll be able to select multiple photos, and the watch face will presumably cycle through the images over the course of a day. Google Photos will enforce a cap on how many pictures can be added for a watch face.

Youu2019ve already selected the maximum number of photos (%d). Remove some selected photos to add more.

This is presumably for the Pixel Watch, but it could also be for other Wear OS 3 devices at some point as nothing suggests it’s exclusive to Google’s wearable. The exact set-up UI is not clear yet.

Google has an extensive watch face collection planned for the Pixel Watch that spans analog and digital styles. Meanwhile, Google Photos adding an integration is a good indicator of company-wide support for the Pixel Watch. Another useful shortcut would be a quick watch face creator in the Google Photos “Use as” menu that’s already used for setting device wallpapers (and contact images).

That said, it’s rather interesting how Wear OS does not have a default photo gallery app compared to Apple watchOS or Samsung, which added their own.

Thanks to JEB Decompiler, from which some APK Insight teardowns benefit.

Kyle Bradshaw contributed to this article.

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