How to change the strap on your Android Wear watch

A new strap changes both the look and feel of your new Android watch

So you have Android strapped to your wrist with your new LG G Watch or Samsung Gear Live. Pretty cool, isn't it? We know both devices are far from perfect, and Android Wear is still in its infancy, but chances are you'll be sporting your new watch daily and putting it to good use — that's why we bought the things, right?

If this sounds like you, you probably want to change out the strap that came bundled with your new watch. There's nothing inherently wrong with the straps on either watch, but there are so many options out there that can make your new watch more comfortable to wear and even make it look better while doing it. The good news is that it's easy to do, and uses standard 22mm straps. All you need is a well-lit place to work, your new strap, and some sort of tool to push in the springbars.

Android Wear straps

First things first — make sure you have a strap that's 22mm wide. That's the distance between the holes on both watches where the springbar fits in. If you're determined, you can use a different size strap, but you need 22mm springbars or it's not going to work.

You'll also want a tool you can use to depress the springbars. They have a shoulder at each end, and believe it or not there is a special tool that's designed to grasp that shoulder, apply tension to the spring inside the springbar, and collapse it by a few millimeters so it can drop into place. You can buy the one we're using from Amazon (opens in new tab) for $5.99 with Amazon Prime if you want. You can also use something like a slim bladed pen knife, but there's a very good chance you'll cut yourself. If you don't want to use the suggested tool, or don't want to wait for shipping, go to the auto parts store and buy a set of feeler gauges. Or use a knife, but be very careful.

Got a new strap that you like, and a way to depress the springbars? Excellent.

The LG G Watch

Get ready to rock and roll

Lay the watch face down (don't scratch the front glass!) and undo the strap so that each end lays off to either side. Make sure you have plenty of light, because if (read: when) a springbar goes flying, you'll want to be able to retrieve it. Place your tool between the edge of the strap that's attached and the edge of the lug (those are the "ears" that hold the strap in place) and put the notch of the tool around the barrel of the springbar. Gently use the tool like a lever and push the springbar itself towards its center. This will collapse the internal spring (hence the name "springbar") and make the pin a millimeter or so shorter. While it's depressed. pull the strap out and away from the body of the watch.

It sounds more tricky than it really is. Once you have one side of the springbar out of its hole, you can just pull the other end out and the strap will follow. Next, move to the other side and do the same thing. You should then have both sides of the strap off, and be left with a G Watch that's ready for a new look.

G Watch strap pins

Putting the new strap or band on is just as easy — just reverse the procedure. Put the springbar in the hole on the end of the strap, and place one end in the hole on the lug. Get everything as close to being attached as you can, then position your tool on the shoulder of the springbar and depress it. Slide the new strap into place and remove the tool. Give it a tug to make sure both ends of the springbar are in the holes they belong in, and you're done with that side of the strap.

New strap on the G Watch

Do the same on the other side, and you're done. One last thing to mention about the G Watch is how the strap or band will affect the attachment of the charging plate. While we can't say that every strap will work fine, chances are you won't have any issues. We didn't with the substantial steel band we put on the G Watch.

Charging the G Watch with a replacement band

Now your LG G Watch looks less like a black slab prototype and has a bit of it's own style. I love what Phil is rocking here.

G Watch band

What a transformation! And it was easy to do.

The Samsung Gear Live

Gear Live strap

Samsung is using quick-release pins on the factory strap on the Gear Live. This means that you won't have to use a tool to remove the strap, though unless you buy a replacement with quick-release pins you'll need one to put the new one on. This makes removing the factory strap simple.

Grab the quick-release mechanism with your fingernail and pull it towards the center of the strap and away from the lug it's attached to. While you have it depressed, just pull the strap away from and out of the lugs. Done. Easy-peasy. In fact, everything should be this easy. Too bad it's not.

Gear Live strap

Attaching a new strap on the Gear Live can be a little tricky because of the way the lugs are recessed into the curved body of the watch itself. If you thought ahead and bought a strap with quick-release pins, just put it on the same way you took the factory strap off, only in reverse. Since there isn't a huge selection of straps with these style pins, chances are you don't have one and will have to use a tool. That's OK, you just need to alter the method a tiny bit.

Strap folded back across the Gear Live

Take a look at this image and notice how the new strap is folded back across the body of the Gear Live itself. This is so we have better access to the holes in the lugs, and can get things into position a little easier. You can work from the other side, and if you're using a one piece strap you might have to. It's entirely doable, just a bit more tricky to reach.

Once you have things in close proximity of where they need to be, depress the springbar with your tool and slip it into the lug. When you are pretty sure it's in the right spot, remove your tool and let the bar spring back into place — hopefully inside it's hidey-hole where it belongs. Give your new strap a bit of a tug to be sure. Repeat for the other side, and you're golden.

I hate this look

While a strap isn't going to interfere with the charger on the Gear Live, it has issues with third-party straps of its own. If you look closely at the end of the factory strap where it meets the body, you'll notice it's not just a flat edge. There's a lip molded into the strap itself, and little "wings" on either side of the springbar. This is done so that it fits flush against the body of the Gear Live and almost looks like it is one piece. There's absolutely nothing wrong with this — in fact I think it looks good — but it means that any strap that's not molded this way will leave bits of the body showing that you might not want to see. They're not sharp, and they are finished edges, but it looks a bit odd. Hopefully, Samsung realizes there is a market for different styles os strap and we get some choices. In the meantime, you'll have to deal with this. And no, the Gear 2 strap isn't a match — it's molded entirely different.

Gear Live new strap

While the straps that come with both Android Wear watches are fine in their own right, customizing things at what Android fans like to do. Because LG and Samsung used industry standard sizes and methods, swapping out the strap on your new watch is simple, and dare I say a little fun.

If you've swapped out your watch strap, be sure to show off the new look in the Android Wear forums!

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

  • I wonder how tricky it will be for the 360 cause from the look it seems you need proprietary bands. Posted via Android Central App
  • Ooh, that would be yucky if they did that (used proprietary crud on the 360).
  • It does look proprietary. Unless there is a back cover that comes off, the end of the strap is round and not flat. I didn't get a good look at the back of it. When I went by the Moto booth on day 1, they weren't letting anyone touch them, and they held them for us to see.
  • I can see a moto maker-ish option for the band.
  • I still wouldn't buy either of these over the 360(and I still plan on waiting to see what Fossil does before I decide if I want a 360) but a different strap makes both of these watches look 50 times better. What were Sammy and LG thinking with the straps they put on there?
  • Isn't it obvious? Cost. The Samsung and the LG watches are all significantly priced lower than the Moto 360, which is rumored to cost alot. I bet if Samsung and LG had their way, they probably would just sell the face and let you buy your own strap.
  • I actually don't mind the Gear's band - it is very comfortable to wear and reasonably easy to take on and off.
    I have a number of 22mm bands from the original Pebble that I have tried on it and they all feel bulkier and awkward compared to the OEM strap - so I'm sticking with it for now. At least until the holes wear and it becomes unstable when fastening it.
  • Agreed. The curve fits my wrist very well, which I think makes all the difference.
  • Thankfully the Samsung band is much nicer than the LG so I'm not motivated to change it. If I did change it I think the olptions are much worse than the LG. At least the replacement bands look better on the LG than the Live.
  • Have both, LG G Watch and Samsung Gear live.
    Trying to decide which one to keep.
    Any suggestions?
  • To me, it's all a matter of looks. Neither has good battery life, the screen on the Gear Live is better, but the G Watch is plenty good enough, and they both need a custom charging adapter to use them. I picked the Gear Live because I didn't like the thickness of the G Watch, but with a better band like Phil is using, I think it looks great.
  • Thank you for your reply! Going to play with both for a couple of days, and then decide.
  • I will gladly, and i mean GLADLY take whichever one you decide you dont want to keep :) :) :) :) :) :)
  • :) Good one :)
  • I had a gear 2 neo but wanted OK Google so got an Lg G instead, not sure if the new Gear S has that or not but the LG G also works with my custom AOSP rom whereas my Gear 2 Neo wouldn't....required a stock rom because of the gear manager software.
  • Where did Phil get that band and can it be found on Amazon?
  • Right here on Amazon
  • I also purchased that band after seeing how it made Phil's G watch look, simply amazing versus the stock rubber band, which isn't bad, just not as classy looking as that metal band from Amazon. Posted via Android Central App
  • I bought this one 1/2 the price looks the same. Thank you for this article since I am not a watch guy. I somehow feel a little more sophisticated. I suppose I have to start buying Polaner All Fruit and Grey Poupon to continue the sophistication.
  • He linked to it on G+ so look him up
    Posted by my Nexus 7 (2013)
    Edit: Jerry beat me to it
  • I bought this one for my Samsung Gear Live and it looks FANTASTIC!
  • Where can I buy that exact leather band?
  • It came from an old Mickey Mouse Lorus watch I have here that I broke the crystal on. It's actually 24mm, so I had to swap the springbars and squeeze it into place.
  • But the biggest thing is where to buy a strap it is so rare to find one ebay, amazon, googled it... holey moley why is it sp hard to find a white, red something strap for my gear2... I thought it would be selling like crazy Posted via Android Central App
  • This is the article I was waiting for, thank you very much for the information! Posted via Android Central App
  • Io Posted via Android Central App
  • I'd rather just slap $5-$10 down and let the neighborhood jeweler change the band... :) Posted with my Nexus 7 LTE (2013) via Android Central App
  • Really? I just timed myself and it took me 37 seconds to change out one band on my watch for another. I could not even justify the drive to a jeweler for that. I applaud your support of local business!
  • I hope this doesn't make me sound like a d***, but a minor correction. "They have a shoulder at each end, and believe it or not there is a special tool that's designed to grasp that shoulder, apply tension to the spring inside the springbar, and collapse it by a few millimeters so it can drop into place." You're applying compression to the springbar, not tension.
  • Here's some photos I took of my watchbands I put on the Samsung and LG watches:
  • just installed a NOTO "Bond" band on my G Watch, looks pretty good!
  • Awesome article! Would be nice if you guys made a video :)
  • Great review! Thank you!