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An analyst establishes that YouTube Music cannot be made to run on older Wear OS smartwatches

YouTube Music to go? Maybe not. (Source: Google)
YouTube Music to go? Maybe not. (Source: Google)
Google may have sparked some dissatisfaction by announcing YouTube Music for wearables, then confirming that it is compatible with smartwatches capable of running the latest Wear OS 3 version only. A mobile security analyst has tried what is probably one of the most effective work-arounds for this potential problem, but ultimately came up unsuccessful in this effort.

YouTube Music is the successor to the discontinued Google Play Music app, and may thus be overlooked by many users - particularly those with wearables - in favor of third-party alternatives. On the other hand, some users might have preferred not to bother with the hassle of moving away from default options, and may thus have been antagonized to find that its new smartwatch-specific version is exclusive to Wear OS 3 devices.

We at Notebookcheck have found this combination not to be as streamlined, intuitive and convenient as one might expect thus far. Nevertheless, some advanced Android enthusiasts may have been confident of work-arounds should they want to get the app working on their non-Galaxy Watch4-line wearable anyway. Unfortunately, the potentially most likely candidate for such a method has been debunked.

This technique, according to linuxct, involves a tear-down of the YouTube Music APK for wearables in order to reset the minimum API version to 28. This level of application programming interface is associated with Android 9.0 (Pie), on which older versions of Wear OS is based.

Wear OS 3, on the other hand, is based on Android 11 and uses the updated API 29. linuxct has reported that, regardless of how carefully and precisely a modified version of the YouTube Music APK is recompiled, Google Mobile Services will still detect the absence of the newer interface and will block sign-ins to the app on-screen.

Therefore, it seems this particular work-around to get YouTube Music on a Wear OS 2 watch has been seen coming by Google. linuxct has observed that it would have been perfectly possible to make the app backwards-compatible instead; however, the Mountain View giant has chosen not to.

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Deirdre O'Donnell
Deirdre O'Donnell - Senior Tech Writer - 5109 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2018
I became a professional writer and editor shortly after graduation. My degrees are in biomedical sciences; however, they led to some experience in the biotech area, which convinced me of its potential to revolutionize our health, environment and lives in general. This developed into an all-consuming interest in more aspects of tech over time: I can never write enough on the latest electronics, gadgets and innovations. My other interests include imaging, astronomy, and streaming all the things. Oh, and coffee.
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2021 08 > An analyst establishes that YouTube Music cannot be made to run on older Wear OS smartwatches
Deirdre O'Donnell, 2021-08-28 (Update: 2021-08-30)