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What does 'Connected, running sync loop' mean on Android Wear?

In short, the 'running sync loop' part is nothing to worry about

If you're using an Android Wear smartwatch, you may have noticed a slightly different connection message appearing in your notification tray of late. In short, instead of the standard "Connected" dialog, you'll get one saying "Connected, running sync loop." For most of the AC staff, the change seems to have come about with the update to the latest version of Google Play Services (version 6.5) in the past week.

Elsewhere, users of Android Wear devices like the LG G Watch, G Watch R and Moto 360 appear to be split — some are seeing "Connected," while others get "Connected, running sync loop." So what's going on? Read on for a full explanation.

Connected, running sync loop notification

You'll get more info in your notification shade — and the Android Wear app — if Developer Options are turned on.

It took us a while to track down exactly what was going on here, but here's the deal — for all intents and purposes, both messages mean the same thing. If you're seeing "Connected, running sync loop" instead of the simpler "Connected" message, it's because you've got Developer Options enabled on your phone. Turning on Developer Options seems to prompt Android Wear to display the more verbose connection message in the notification shade, assuming that you're actually a developer and need a bit more technical info.

If you disable Developer Options on your phone using the toggle under Settings > Developer Options, then disconnect and reconnect your watch, it'll toggle back to the standard "Connected" message. (It's worth noting that the watch's Developer Options state seems to have no effect on this.)

The Developer Options toggle also determines how much info Android Wear shares with you when your watch is disconnected, and makes some additional options available in the Android Wear app itself. With developer mode enabled, you'll periodically see "Waiting (x) seconds to retry connection" when your watch is out of range. Similarly, the "Report wearable bug" and "View wearable bug report" options in the overflow menu are only visible if you've got Developer Options toggled on.

Android Wear screenshot

It's also worth addressing the "running sync loop" part of the message, as that's what has some users spooked. If it's running a loop, does that mean it's using more battery power on the phone or watch? In our experience, no. I've been using the LG G Watch R paired with a Samsung Galaxy Note 4, while Phil Nickinson has been using the Moto X paired with a Moto 360; we've both noticed absolutely no difference in battery life whether we're "running sync loop" or simply "connected." As far as we can tell, the message is just intended to convey more information to advanced users.

So that's that. If you're seeing more information than before in Android Wear — including "Connected, running sync loop" — chances are it's because you've got Developer Options enabled. Don't want to see this extra stuff? Simply disable the toggle in Settings > Developer Options and then reconnect your watch.

More: All about Android's developer options

Alex Dobie
Alex Dobie

Alex is global Executive Editor for Android Central, and is usually found in the UK. He has been blogging since before it was called that, and currently most of his time is spent leading video for AC, which involves pointing a camera at phones and speaking words at a microphone. He would just love to hear your thoughts at alex@androidcentral.com, or on the social things at @alexdobie.

27 Comments
  • thanks for the clarification! I have moto x G1 with 360 and no diff in battery life Posted via the Android Central App with my Moto X G1
  • Good info, Alex. Thanks!
  • It means not the gear s Posted via the Android Central App
  • Funny thing is, I never had developer options unlocked since I flashed 5.0 Posted via the Android Central App
  • Thank you guys this has been driving me crazy. :) Posted via the Android Central App
  • +1 Posted via Android Central App
  • I just disabled notifications of Google play services. I didnt like it cluttering up my drop down. Nice to know that it doesnt mean any thing different though Posted via the Android Central App
  • Thanks! By doing this, it actually hides it from the notifications area which is what I ultimately wanted to do at the end. I did this through App Ops though. Posted via Android Central App
  • Thanks Alex. It's on my Zenwatch and I've been seeing a number of posts about it. Posted via Android Central App
  • Thanks for the clarification!
  • Thanks for tracking this down!
  • Thanks, this had me going crazy lol
  • I have developer options unlocked, but am not seeing the running sync loop part. I have a nexus 5 running lollipop, and a moto 360. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Along with this. I'm seeing battery drain. Also when Bluetooth and wifi connected at the same time it slows down wifi a lot
  • I was just wondering if the LG G watch is compatible with the HTC One M7 ?
  • It is, as long as the M7 is running 4.3 or above. Posted via the Moto X Pure Edition
  • Fantastic job, guys! Posted via the Android Central App
  • Thanks for the info. I've been getting that message the past couple days and I was worried what was constantly running in the background. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Wow great find and write up! Thanks for the info!
  • I was just wondering this myself today! Perfect timing for this article. OK Google, when will you allow us to remove the stupid persistent notification from our tray? And where is Wear 2.0???
  • You already have it. That name refers to the 4.4W2 update.
  • I do? Well that is a huge letdown!
  • thanx so much for that info
  • i had that 2 days ago. battery drain like crazy. bluetooth at one point used more battery than my screen.
    i went into settings and turned off developer mode. rebooted both things and status went back to regular, connected and no more battery drain
  • are you sure it's normal....if it's normal...why is google support asking me to provide them bug report from my phone? i have truncated some of the message on how they ask me to send the bug report.. "Hello, In order for Android engineers to investigate this issue further, we'd like to ask for a bug report on this issue. If you're still able to reproduce the problem, please reply to this message and attach a bug report file. It would be most helpful if you create the report immediately after you see the issue appear. Try pairing the watch to your phone and triggering the 'Connected, running sync loop' notification. Instructions follow for generating a bug report on your device. Privacy Note: The file you generate may contain information not directly related to the issue you're experiencing. Google takes your privacy and security very seriously and if you send the file to us, we will use only the relevant information you provide and only for the purposes of investigating the issue you reported. For details on our privacy practices, please visit http://www.google.com/privacy.html Instructions to send a bug report on Nexus and Google Play edition phones and tablets:
    Before you get started, make sure you have access to a computer......"
  • My face is clear
  • You people are simply godlike! There's no way in hell I could have figured this out on my own. However I'd like to add that my watch and phone became pretty much unusable when I started getting this message. My 360 would get really hot and the battery would go from 100 to 40 percent in 15 minutes, with my s5 going from 100 to 80 in the same amount of time, and get hot too. Thank you for this!