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Android Wear Emulator and ambient mode

Posted by: admin May 14, 2020 Leave a comment


How can I test ambient mode in Android Wear emulator?
I need to see how does my app render on different watches while in ambient mode.
Seems ambient mode is different on Moto 360 and Sony Smartwatch 3.

How to&Answers:

To test Ambient Mode in an emulator, you need to do the following:

  1. In the Emulator, Go to settings and Turn ON “Always-on Screen: ON”.
  2. While emulator window is active Press “F7” (F7 emulates the power button) then press the power button to turn on ambient mode.

Hope this helps.


On recent Wear emulators you can just press the power button in the associated control panel. The power button within the emulator frame acts as a press on the main button, eg opening the list of apps.

Screenshot of emulator with power button in toolbar indicated


Not your main question but hopefully this helps you in regards to the differences you’re seeing between the Moto 360 and SmartWatch 3 ambient modes:

I believe what you’re referring to is ambient mode versus low-bit ambient mode. Google covers some of it in their developer documentation but it doesn’t seem to be mentioned anywhere else. I did a huge write-up for the community based on my own research since I was frustrated with the lack of info (it’s mostly written from a consumer perspective though):



The latest Wear emulator lets you click in the top of the emulator window to toggle between full power and ambient modes (the shaded section in the screenshot).

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