More Wear OS watch faces will use less power in the future

Google Pixel Watch 2 hands-on
(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google is actively encouraging watch face developers to embrace Watch Face Format, as failure to do so may limit their watch faces to basic features.
  • The new format allows Wear OS to handle processing, enabling developers to focus on aesthetics without the need for extensive code optimizations.
  • Google's push for WFF is closely tied to the hybrid Wear OS interface unveiled at MWC 2024.

Google wants developers to get on board with the new Watch Face Format (WFF) for creating watch faces on Wear OS to make the most out of your battery life.

Back at I/O 2023, Google and Samsung joined forces to create WFF for Wear OS 4. This fresh format is not only easier to handle but also packs a power-saving trick, giving your smartwatch a longer battery life.

At the moment, developers still cling to the older Jetpack or Wearable Support libraries, though they're missing out on harnessing the full potential of the new format.

But Google is now encouraging watch face developers to embrace WFF. Otherwise, their watch faces will only handle the basics like battery, app shortcuts, unread notification count, date, time and date, day of the week, day and date, and world clock (via 9to5Google).

The new format is declarative XML, which basically means no logic or executable code. Wear OS does the heavy lifting, leaving developers free to craft watch faces without getting bogged down by code optimizations. According to Google, this new format is low-maintenance, requiring fewer updates.

However, WFF is not without its limitations. Many have complained on Reddit about how it doesn't play nice with complex features or animations. It seems like Google is nudging everyone towards simpler designs with this one.

Although Watch Face Format is not as loaded with features as the Jetpack or Wearable libraries, Google's push is tied to the new hybrid Wear OS interface revealed at MWC 2024. In Wear OS 4, watch faces can smoothly run on the lower-powered co-processor without drawing power from the main processor in dual-chip smartwatches.

Making WFF a must-have in upcoming Wear OS releases is a strategic move to guarantee top-notch battery life on hybrid Wear OS watches like the OnePlus Watch 2, no matter which watch face you choose.

Jay Bonggolto
News Writer & Reviewer

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.