This week, Google introduced Gboard to Wear OS in one of the first wearable app launches in quite some time. One related benefit of Gboard is a much better keypad for entering your PIN on the Wear OS screen lock.
All keyboards and number pads across Wear OS have been moved over from the generic “Google Keyboard” to Gboard. This includes the input for entering your PIN screen unlock. Besides preventing any random person in close proximity to your wearable seeing and responding to your notifications, a lock is required to use Google Pay.
The new Gboard keypad features significantly improved spacing for the 0-9 keys, partly by shrinking the top preview. Checkmark/enter is moved to the bottom-right corner, while delete/backspace is now opposite it. When tapping a key, there’s a round confirmation instead of a popup.
All the changes make it so you’re much less likely to press the wrong number given the small round screen you’re working with, with many Wear OS users of the Gboard PIN keypad agreeing.
Unfortunately, you’re still first taken to a PIN field prompt that’s shown over the watch face. One useful streamlining step would be jumping users directly to the keypad. The new Gboard keyboard is also in use for passwords, though only so much optimization can be done given the physical display constraints.
As of today, Gboard is widely rolled out and can be installed by visiting the My apps section of the wearable Play Store.
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