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Upcoming Wear OS smartwatches will be much better for left-handed people

Wear OS
How Wear OS software looks on current smartwatches (Image credit: Future)

Google's Wear OS smartwatches have never been built for left-handed people, but a new update is set to mean future smartwatches running the software will be a touch easier to use.

Spotted by journalist Mishaal Rahman, an update to the Google Issue Tracker confirms the company is working on a feature that will allow you to rotate the screen 180 degrees.

The idea is you'll be able to wear your watch on the right wrist, but upside down. Most smartwatches come with the buttons on the right, which can make them harder to reach, so switching the orientation would allow your buttons to be on the left.

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A user complained on the Google Issue Tracker in 2018 that it wasn't possible to switch the screen. The person said, "My android wear watch has buttons on one side. and i would like to wear the watch upside down on my other arm (i am left handed.)"

The comment is from 2018, so that's why they refer to it as Android Wear. It's unknown why Google has now picked this up as a feature to introduce, but the response suggests it'll be coming in the future.

The comment refers to it as a feature for "future new devices", which suggests this won't come as a software update to your existing watch. We don't know why that will be, but it could be an element of why this fix took so long to implement.


Analysis: Want to keep your smartwatch? Try Lefty

If you want this feature, you're seemingly going to have to upgrade your current smartwatch. And you'll also need to wait a while to see when devices will launch with this feature onboard.

It may be that this is an element of the Wear OS 3 update that we expect to be running on a lot of upcoming Wear OS watches. Again, it doesn't seem to be a feature that will land on your current watch even if it does get an upgrade to the newest software.

If you're wedded to your current smartwatch and you're left-handed, you may want to try the Wear OS app Lefty. It inverts the user interface on your smartwatch in a similar way to how we expect this new feature will work.

Reviews of the app are middling - we've yet to use it ourselves - but it may be worth trying, as it's a free service that you can install on your current Wear OS smartwatch.

Via Android Central

James Peckham

James is Senior Phones Editor for TechRadar, and he has covered smartphones for the best part of a decade bringing you news on all the big announcements from top manufacturers making mobile phones. James is often testing out and reviewing the latest and greatest mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, virtual reality headsets, fitness trackers and more. He has also worked on other leading tech brands, such as T3 and Gizmodo UK, as well as appearing as an expert on TV and radio for the BBC and other publications. Be sure to follow him on Twitter for all the latest smartphone news.


James is currently most excited about the Samsung Galaxy S22, God of War: Ragnarok and the rumored foldable iPhone