Android Wear devices like the second-generation Moto 360, Fossil Q, and $1,500 Tag Heuer Connected smartwatch are currently incompatible with Apple’s new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. The issue was discovered soon after both phones launched nearly two weeks ago.
Google added iOS support to Android Wear back in August 2015. For the last couple months, I’ve been using a Moto 360 alongside my iPhone because I like the way it looks and its nice-looking wrist notifications; I have no illusions of Android Wear matching the Apple Watch’s functionality on iOS, but I’ve enjoyed the experience so far. Things were fine on the iPhone 6S Plus, but once I upgraded to Apple’s latest handset, I hit a major roadblock — and I’m not alone. Complaints have piled up in this Android Wear discussion thread.
The iPhones 7 are simply unable to pair with the following Android Wear devices:
That’s a big list, and the Moto 360 in particular is among the most popular Android Wear devices out there. If my experience matches with others, these watches all hang at the pairing stage of the Android Wear setup process. The iPhone seems to recognize that they’re nearby because they show up in the Android Wear app, but attempts to pair with them are unsuccessful every time. It gets stuck at this step:
Apple just fixed another bug that temporarily caused some compatibility issues between Android Wear devices and iOS 10. That was quickly resolved with the release of iOS 10.0.2. But this problem with certain hardware models seems a little deeper. Google’s Android Wear team says it’s aware of the "serious pairing issue" and is investigating a fix. The team seems to be trying, at least. Android Wear’s iOS app has been updated twice in the last week — but the iPhone 7 problem remains.
Should these devices ultimately require a firmware update to start working with iPhone 7, that might turn into a major headache. Since the smartwatches are currently unable to pair, installing any system update would pose a challenge; Android Wear products must be paired with a smartphone before updates can be downloaded. Users would thus have to use another iOS device that’s not an iPhone 7 (or an Android phone) to load the fix.
This is a problem that’s likely affecting a very, very small number of people. I don’t think the iPhone / Android Wear combo is very popular among everyday consumers. But for those who do prefer other smartwatches over the Apple Watch, well, this is pretty annoying. And it has led me to take a serious look at Series 2.
Update September 29th 5:30PM ET: The list of models has been changed to remove the Michael Kors Android Wear watch and add the Moto 360 Sport after further clarification from Google.