Note 3 + Pebble

Update: Despite the warning message, you can use use a Pebble with the Note 3 and keep your favorite TouchWiz features

Here's a quick, updated PSA for anyone hoping to use the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 with one of the leading non-Samsung smartwatches. The Pebble watch will work just fine with Samsung's latest oversized phone, despite the scary warning message that appears when you enable the accessibility service.

By default the Galaxy Note 3 disables a bunch of features when an accessibility service is enabled. And because of the way the Pebble smartwatch uses Android's accessibility features, this gives the impression that you can't use the Pebble and many of the Note's cooler features at the same time. In fact, it disables Air gestuer, air view, assistant menu, smart screen, interaction control, multi-window and direct pen input when you first enable the accessibility service.

Aside from being pretty confusing — and yes, it had us convinced that we had to choose between our Pebble and favorite Note 3 features like multi-window, for a while — it's actually possible to just go and re-enable all the TouchWiz features it turns off. Many of them can be found in the settings dropdown. Others, like Direct pen input, you'll need to search for in the Settings menu.

So hopefully that clears things up for Note 3 owners who also use a pebble smartwatch. Happy Pebbling, folks.

There are 35 comments

yankeesusa says:

I hope the new Sony smartwatch doesn't do this.

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I was debating about getting a Pebble smartwatch. Since I have a Galaxy Note II with Android 4.1.2, will these features be disabled as well because Pebble uses the "same" acessibility service to push notifications? In this case, wouldn't it affect all phones of Samsung Galaxy series?

jon_ks says:

Pebble works great with my GS3. If you want to test on your Note II, simply turning on TalkBack should give you an indication of what will happen with Pebble.

whacko says:

Turning on Talkback will NOT give you a good indication of what will happen when you use your Pebble with a GS3. Talkback changes the basic way that a user interacts with a phone, for instance by requiring a double tap to activate on-screen switches and elements.

These changes do not happen when enabling the Pebble accessibility service.

If you DO experience these types of changes with your Samsung phone when enabling the Pebble Accessibility feature, go into the Accessibility menu and make sure Talkback is turned off. Talkback has an annoying bug where it auto-enables itself when it detects other accessibility services running, but manually turning it off again will get rid of it.

BasPilot says:

I have been using my Pebble and my Note II for about 2 months together and nothing is disabled on my note at all. I have had the note for a while and added the Pebble seamlessly. I really love the Pebble too. Makes a great addition.

ken512 says:

I bought the pebble watch thing and returned it before I left best buys parking lot. Toy watch

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sublimaze says:

Then you would really laugh at the Galaxy Gear, which can't even display your gmail.

mobilewill says:

Wow, didn't even give it a chance. The watch is great and gets better all the time with the growing dev community.

TurboFool says:

Your loss. It's a daily necessity for me.

BasPilot says:

You mistakes it being lightweight for lack of capability. This watch is really only limited with your own personal creativity on what you want it to do for you.

gilroyneil says:

But if you turn them all on again they work. I see no loss in functionality, I just need to turn them all on again.

Shawheim says:

So it disables the features but you can turn them back on?

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sublimaze says:

Seriously? That is some serious bullshiat and most users won't even check that. I have always been a Samsung apologist, but this is an obvious move to force people to buy their Galaxy Gear (which is an overpriced toy, imo).

Alex Dobie says:

Wow. Hats off to you, sir. The big warning dialog really doesn't make this clear at all. I've updated the post to clarify.

Seriously? This REEKS of bullshit. I'm sure it was "accidental" that a competitors product just so happened to do all of that. And it definitely didn't have anything to do with Samsung knowing people would buy two pebbles instead for the same price and lose almost no useful features. Yeah...

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codiusprime says:

I think the tinfoil hat is cutting off circulation to your brain there chief.

NoNexus says:

good call.

Always remember kids. Make the hat and then put it on, do not wrap the tin foil directly around your head

NoNexus, don't you have some nexus threads to be trolling or something? Great input to the discussion there btw.

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Tinfoil hat? Please. Like it's anything new for a company to intentionally break compatibility just so they can make a buck. Is it really that hard to see them doing that?

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Mateo007 says:

I have A Note 2, and a similar issue comes up every time I download an app that requires accessibility. It turns off air view, but then I can go right back in and turn it back on. Dunno about the other features or if this is even the same issue, but there ya go

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bearda says:

I have a Pebble and an S4, and although you can turn them back on again they don't seem to work right. The hover for more info feature (which is the only one I cared about, IIRC) just doesn't work compared to when I disable to Pebble service.

Lanhoj says:

Pebble just needs to update with support for Android 4.3's Notification Listener Service & the problem should in theory be resolved (for 4.3 devices).
Same problem occured for other Apps that handle Notifications on Samsung devices.

DKYang says:

I have GN3 and Pebble. I can use everything just fine without any issues and some of those features I don't use at all.

gravage says:

It doesn't actually disable them. You can turn them right back on. It's an annoying bug with Accessibility services. The other annoying bug was that talkback would be stuck on whenever you had a Pebble connected (i.e. "Web page loading") and you couldn't turn it off, even if you disabled Talkback.

Recent builds of touchwiz seemed to have eradicated the Talkback bug, but this bug still persists.

DJLevy7 says:

Tapping foot waiting for a decent smartwatch to buy

bearda says:

This really is a Samsung issue due to how they decided to build their TouchWiz features, not a Pebble issue. Sucks if you're affected by it either way, but paired with a G2 or Nexus this isn't an issue.

eckl says:

The accessibility functions disable one-hand operation mode. Found out when I disable the Bluetooth, and turn off the pebble in accessibility, the swipe to enable one hand operation mode works flawlessly.

Another problem with samsung touch wiz and it's implementation of Talkback.

jmdearras#AC says:

I also have this problem.

vgergo says:

And it doesn't seem to be possible to just turn one-handed operation back on. Even when it's enabled (has the checkmark) I cannot initiate it.

NoNexus says:


One companies product is incompatible or causes bugs in another companies product, film at 11


Lol, yeah, this shouldn't be too surprising.

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vr002sh says:

OK, I did something very wrong. I paired my pebble with my Note 3 and had no issues, no message that it would disable features on the phone, and it didn't. Might be I had the pebble with the Note 2 and did a restore from the cloud, maybe the restore did not tell the phone what I was doing. But everything is working flawlessly, go figure

Not sure this review is accurate. yes the actions are disabled then you go into the touchwiz area and turn back on.

dosek says:

Did this warning message appear everytime i reconnect Pebble? I want to buy Pebble for my SGN3 but this would be very annoying.
Or is it displayed only with first pairing and then i turn all TW stuff back to on and thats all i want to do for forever:

After the new Kit kat upgrade, many users complain of non-functional 3rd party hardware like the spigen s-view case. Will my pebble stop working after the 4.4 update?