Android Tip: How to connect your Android Wear device to a new phone—without wiping

This post is part of the series Android Tips

Other posts in this series:

  1. Android Tip: How to connect your Android Wear device to a new phone—without wiping (Current)
  2. ADB File Transfer: The best way to manage your files
  3. Android Tip: Broken push notifications on Android ROM

If you’re like me, you probably reset your phone or change ROMs fairly often. I frequently clean flash on my phone, and as you probably know, this means setting back up your Android Wear device to connect back to your phone, wiping the watch and all data on it. It’s possible, however, to keep your data and simply sync your watch to your newly set up phone.

Step 1: Setup

First of all, you need an ADB kit. I personally use Minimal ADB & Fastboot from XDA; it contains everything you need quickly and easily, but if you prefer, you can download the official ADB and Fastboot tools (without the full Android Studio) from Google’s developer site.

This guide can be done either by connecting your watch to your WiFi or by connecting your watch to your computer, so it’s no big deal what you do. The steps don’t really change.

Now, to enable your watch’s debugging features, go to settings, system, about and tap the build number until it tells you that you are a developer. Then exit settings, open settings again and below system will now be an option called developer options. Enable ADB debugging there and, if using WiFi, enable debugging over WiFi. Take note of the IP address it gives you, and if you don’t have one, close settings, make sure WiFi is connected, then check again. Make sure the watch isn’t connected to your phone.

Step 2: The Commands

Connect your computer to your watch. If you’re doing it over wired, plug your watch into your computer and choose “Always allow from this computer” when prompted on the watch. If doing it over WiFi, connect to the watch via ADB. You can do this by typing “adb connect” with the x’s being the IP you took down earlier under the wireless debugging option. Accept the prompt as described previously on the watch. Once it has successfully connected, run this command:

adb shell "pm clear && reboot"

After a few seconds, you will see the word “Success” appear, followed by your watch rebooting. When it has rebooted, do not attempt to connect to it with your phone. Keep Bluetooth off for now. Connect the watch to your computer again, this time running the following command:

adb shell "am start -a android.bluetooth.adapter.action.REQUEST_DISCOVERABLE"

Allow the prompt on the watch. You may now open the Android Wear app on your phone and synchronize as usual.  If the app gets stuck on searching for updates, close the app and open it again. It’ll go away and work as usual like before, now with your new phone/ROM setup.

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