Last week, we reported that Wear OS (at least on the Pixel Watch) was preparing a new grid-style app drawer to replace the scrolling list. Now, instructions have surfaced to show off the feature early and even enable it on your own watch.
Wear OS has long used a simple scrolling list of apps to serve as its drawer, but as the ecosystem has expanded, this method of browsing watch apps has gotten out of control. The problem is only exacerbated by apps like Google Fit and Fitbit, both of which include additional shortcuts.
In an attempt to tame the smartwatch app experience, Google’s core “Wear OS” app – responsible for much of the system UI on the Pixel Watch – introduced some early work toward a three-column grid for the app drawer.
As uncovered by developer and researcher “AA” and reshared by Android Authority, the feature is actually further along than we initially expected. In fact, it can even be enabled on a Pixel Watch (1 or 2) with relative ease. Shown below, the grid view for Wear OS does away with showing each app’s name and only displays the icon. The experience is loosely reminiscent of the “honeycomb” launcher that was once prominent on the Apple Watch.
Notably, once the new app drawer style has been enabled on a Pixel Watch, you’ll also find a handy way to toggle styles at the bottom of the drawer. This should be particularly helpful for those who find they don’t like using an app grid on Wear OS, as well as for moments when you forget which icon is which. The same toggle can also be found in the Settings app; look for the “App view” option in the “General” section.
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