The update to Android Wear 5.1.1 is starting to arrive on Android Wear devices that aren’t the LG Watch Urbane (which launched at that version), but not everyone will get it straight away. Google’s staged over-the-air (OTA) update system ensures that it might be days or even a week until your watch sees the update and prompts you to upgrade. There’s a good reason for this; Google does staged rollouts so that if significant issues are experienced, they can put a stop to the update and prevent the majority of users from being affected. Fortunately, that hasn’t happened often, but the downside is that it means most users will be waiting a while to catch up with the bleeding edge.

There is a way around that wait, though: some more technical users worked out a while ago that the OTA update files could be ‘captured’ and applied manually to devices, to shortcut the upgrade to the latest version. We’ve got some of the OTA links below, and we’ll add more once they become known.

LG G Watch:
from 5.0.2 to 5.1.1: platina LDZ22D from LWX49K

LG G Watch R:
from 5.0.2 to 5.1.1: lenok LDZ22D from LWX49K

Moto 360:
Coming soon.

Samsung Gear Live:
Coming soon.

Sony SmartWatch 3:
from 5.0.2 to 5.1.1: tetra LDZ22D from LWX49K

ASUS ZenWatch:
from 5.0.2 to 5.1.1: anthias LDZ21T from LWX49K

We’ve published a how-to guide on using ADB to sideload OTA updates to phones and tablets, and largely the same process applies to sideloading an update onto Android Wear. This will be a lot easier for devices that have a direct USB connection available; on the Moto 360, we believe it’s possible, but rather more difficult. In short, the process for Android Wear will be something like this:

  1. Connect your watch to your computer using USB (so, directly in the case of the Smarwatch 3 which has a USB port, or using the charging/USB cradle for devices from LG).
  2. Reboot it into recovery mode (instructions vary, Googling for “recovery mode <watch name here>” will help you — here’s an example result for the LG G Watch)
  3. Select ‘Apply update from ADB’
  4. Use ADB as follows: ‘adb sideload’
  5. Profit

These are minimal instructions, which are targeted squarely at power users who know what they’re doing. It’s not too easy to destroy your Android Wear device by following these steps, but as usual we recommend not applying an OTA update in this fashion unless you’re particularly confident about what you’re doing. Ausdroid offers no guarantees, warranties, etc.

For those who may have forgotten, here’s what the new update brings:

  • Always-on screen, always-on apps: Most Android Wear watches include an always-on screen—no tapping, twisting or shaking required to see what time it is. Now we’re expanding this option to apps, so they can stay visible as long as you need them, instead of disappearing when you drop your arm. Perfect for running, navigating, or grocery shopping!
  • New launcher & Wrist gestures: Now you can access your apps and contacts by simply swiping left from the watch face. Android Wear also now responds to specific navigation gestures so you can scroll between cards with a simple flick of the wrist. Learn more with our YouTube video.
  • Draw emojis: In response to texts, instant messages, or emails, you can now send emojis to your contacts by drawing them on your watch screen. The watch will recognize the emoji you drew and send it via whichever messaging app you’re using. Give it a try by selecting “Draw emoji” whenever you’re replying to a message!
  • Heads-up notifications: Incoming notifications like text messages will now appear on-screen even when you’re looking at something else on your watch, like directions or fitness stats, so you won’t miss anything important.
  • Switching watches made easier: The Android Wear companion app now lets you pair your phone with more than one watch at a time – ideal for swapping watches to match your style.
  • Change your font size: Want to see more text on your watch screen? Or less? You can now adjust the font size from your watch’s settings.
  • Lock your watch’s screen: Want to lock your watch’s screen when you’re not wearing it? Turn on the new “Screen lock” feature from your watch’s settings. When enabled, if your watch detects you’re not wearing it (or it loses the connection to your phone) for a period of time, then your specified swipe pattern will be required to unlock it.
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LG G Watch OTA just applied (clear cache+data & uninstall Android wear app) , reset watch, re pair, profit

Peter Massey

Wooooo awesome, thanks!! My LG G Watch is now nicely running 5.1.1. Getting to the recovery took me 4 reboots. In fact the time it worked, I held the button so long it shutdown, then when I powered it back on, it then worked.

My favourite new feature so far: Small font size!

Also found an “issue” with the lock screen. If you enter it wrong the first time, I couldn’t find a way to cancel it. I had to re-do it a second time incorrectly (well for what I wanted) then unset it and re-set it.