Android AlwaysOn Sample

A basic sample showing how to support ambient mode for native Android Wear apps.


WearableActivity offers methods for supporting your native app staying on the screen when the Wear device enters ambient mode.

This example extends WearableActivity and overrides onEnterAmbient, onUpdateAmbient, and onExitAmbient to allow the simple native Wear app to support ambient mode.

In ambient mode, this app follows best practices by keeping most pixels black, avoiding large blocks of white pixels, using only black and white, and disabling anti-aliasing (following the design guidelines for Watch Faces).

In addition and most importantly, the app sleeps while in ambient mode for 20 seconds between any updates to conserving battery life (processor allowed to sleep). If you can hold off on updates for a full minute, you can throw away the Handler and just use onUpdateAmbient to save even more battery life.

As always, you will still want to apply the performance guidelines outlined in the Watch Faces documention to your app.


  • Android SDK v22
  • Android Build Tools v22.0.1
  • Android Support Repository


Getting Started

This sample uses the Gradle build system. To build this project, use the “gradlew build” command or use “Import Project” in Android Studio.


If you've found an error in this sample, please file an issue:

Patches are encouraged, and may be submitted by forking this project and submitting a pull request through GitHub. Please see for more details.


Copyright 2014 The Android Open Source Project, Inc.

Licensed to the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) under one or more contributor license agreements. See the NOTICE file distributed with this work for additional information regarding copyright ownership. The ASF licenses this file to you under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the “License”); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an “AS IS” BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.