Google working on built-in ‘Wear OS Screen Recording’ tool

Following a small tweak to the notification experience last week, Google’s next feature for Wear OS looks to be a Screen Recording tool. Similar in implementation to screenshots, evidence of this functionality appears in an update to the Wear OS Android companion app today. 

About APK Insight: In this ‘APK Insight’ post, we’ve decompiled the latest version of an application that Google uploaded to the Play Store. When we decompile these files (called APKs, in the case of Android apps), we’re able to see various lines of code within that hint at possible future features. Keep in mind that Google may or may not ever ship these features, and our interpretation of what they are may be imperfect. We’ll try to enable those that are closer to being finished, however, to show you how they’ll look in the case that they do ship. With that in mind, read on.

The Wear OS app on Android has long let you “Take screenshot of watch” from the overflow menu in the top-right corner. A notification then appears on your phone with a tap opening the system Share sheet.

Ready to send watch screenshot.

Tap to send.

Wear OS today features a trio of strings describing an identical process but for “watch screen recording.” If you select the email share target, the subject line can be pre-filled. 

<string name=”screen_recording_wearable_notification_title”>Ready to send watch screen recording.</string>

<string name=”screen_recording_wearable_notification_text”>Tap to send.</string>

<string name=”screen_recording_email_subject”>Wear OS Screen Recording</string>

Installing that version on your phone today does not add the new option to the overflow menu. It’s not clear whether each capture will have a fixed length or if you can start/stop on device.

Additionally, it’s not obvious how this functionality will appear on the watch at a technical level. It could require a broader system update or arrive with a new version of the on-watch Wear OS component.

This feature will be most useful for Wear OS app developers, with the capability being more limited for end users. It will provide a more convenient way to capture any issues for bug reports.

More about Wear OS:

Thanks to JEB Decompiler, which some APK Insight teardowns benefit from.

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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: