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Samsung Developer Program

Develop Watch Face Apps


Note: In August 2018, Samsung Gear became Samsung Galaxy Watch. Information referring to Galaxy Watch also applies to earlier Gear devices and apps, unless stated otherwise. 

Develop Watch Face Apps
Watch face apps are displayed on the home screen of the watch. Although the clock is the watch face app's main functionality, you can display other information such as sensor data (e.g., heart rate, accelerometer). You can customize a watch face application by designing your own style and providing other information, such as news headlines and weather information.

This section describes how to create a simple watch face using the Galaxy Watch Designer (formerly Gear Watch Designer) tool and an API-based watch face app on the Tizen platform using Tizen Studio. You can include in-app purchase (IAP) items on your Galaxy watch face. 

Galaxy Watch Designer

The Galaxy Watch Designer tool is a one-stop shop for designers who want to develop and distribute their own watch faces. This tool is available for Windows and Mac users only.

To learn more about and download the Galaxy Watch Designer tool, click here.

To develop watch faces using Galaxy Watch Designer, start here.

Tizen web and native app development

See Tizen Studio and Web API Example for information about how to develop a watch face app on the Tizen platform.

The Tizen platform supports two primary application types:

  • Web apps are Internet-enabled apps that are accessible through the mobile device’s web browser. A web framework provides state-of-the-art HTML5/W3C APIs, web UI framework, supplementary APIs, and additional Tizen device APIs. Web has strong portability, ease of app development, and has a minimal learning curve.
  • A native framework supports full-featured native application development and provides a variety of features such as background service and image and face recognition. Native apps use the native API, which provides all of the memory management and performance benefits that come with building applications for Linux in C.

For more detailed information about web and native APIs, see the following links:

Web and native applications Differences between Tizen web-specific and native-specific applications, Tizen architecture, and Tizen documentation
Web app introduction Guides you to familiarity with Tizen web API programming and application models
Web app development Helps you create and develop your first web app
Native app introduction Guides you to familiarity with Tizen native API programming and application models
Native app development Helps you create and develop your first native app

Standalone and companion apps  

A watch app that was developed using either a web or native application can be either a standalone or a companion app.


A standalone watch app can function on its own and does not require any other app to execute its functionality.

  • Standalone watch apps may or may not need network connectivity (the calculator app is an example of an app that does not need network connectivity in order to function).
  • Standalone apps can also handle authentication on the watch application.


Companion apps consist of two apps working together. One app runs on the watch, and the other is an Android app running on the Android device.

  • Most companion apps use the phone's connectivity to communicate to the cloud. If the watch is no longer connected to the phone, it can use its own Wi-Fi connectivity (or 3G) to talk to the cloud. 
  • Watch companion apps can take advantage of Android companion apps to get user credentials. 
  • Samsung provides a Samsung Accessory Protocol (SAP) library (Samsung Accessory SDK), which can be downloaded separately. SAP library has all the APIs necessary to handle the communication between watches and Android apps.
  • To enable host devices (such as the phone) to recognize companion apps, specific metadata must be declared on both the host Android app's manifest file and on the watch app’s config.xml or Tizen manifest file. For more information, see:

In-app items

Within watch apps (companion or standalone, web or native), you can sell commercial in-app items (such as virtual items, increasing levels of play, advanced app features) by integrating In-App Purchase (IAP) functionality.


For more information, see the Galaxy Watch In-App Purchase Items section.

Additional information

Screen capture

You can capture and review any watch screenshot. After transferring them to a connected compatible Android smartphone (including any Samsung smartphone), you can download screenshot files and use them for your app development and marketing purposes. 

To capture, review, download, and delete screenshots:


To capture a screenshot:

Navigate to the screen to be captured.

  1. Press and hold the Power (lower) button. 
  2. Swipe the display from left to right.

Screenshots are saved in the Gallery app.


To review captured screenshots:

  1. Press the Home button.
  2. Rotate the bezel to scroll through the available apps and select the Gallery app.
  3. Tap the Gallery icon to launch the Gallery app.
  4. Tap the screenshot thumbnail to view the screenshot.






To download or delete one captured screenshot:

  1. In the Gallery, navigate to and tap a captured screenshot to select it.
  2. To send the screenshots to phone:
    1. Tap the More Options icon.
    2. Tap Send to phone.
  3. To delete the selected screenshot:
    1. In the Gallery, tap the More Options icon.
    2. Tap Delete.
    3. To delete multiple images, long-press and select the images you want to delete, and click the x.




To download or delete many captured screenshots:

  1. Select the screenshots:
    1. In the Gallery, navigate to and tap a captured screenshot.
    2. Press and hold the screen.
    3. In the Captured Screenshot Gallery:
      1. Swipe left or right to navigate to each captured screenshot.
      2. Tap an image to select it (surrounded by a blue circle); tap again to unselect it.
        Note: The number of currently selected screenshots is displayed.
  2. To download and use selected screenshots:
    1. Tap the More Options icon.
    2. Tap Send to phone.
    3. If necessary, connect to the phone:
      1. Position the phone near the watch.
      2. In the Connect via Bluetooth screen, tap the Checkmark icon.
    4. Transfer screenshot from the Android phone to a computer:
      1. Connect the Android phone to a computer.
      2. In the computer file manager:
        1. Transfer the screenshot from the phone to the computer storage.
        2. Use the captured screenshot.
  3. To delete the selected images:
    1. Tap Delete.
    2. In the Delete [#] photos? screen, tap the Checkmark icon.