Over the weekend, I decided to flash a shiny new Android 5.0.1 ROM on my HTC One, and it’s been mostly great, except for one thing – it’s changed the way I use my Moto 360 (also running Android 5.0) and not for the better.
The details on how things have been changed has been covered in greater detail by Android Central, but the tl;dr is my standard setup of “silence the phone only get notifications on my wrist” – something you’d think would be simple – is broken, for a couple of reasons.
The first reason is that Google arbitrarily decided that I want to have the same notification setting on my watch as I do on my phone. But…why? Aren’t there completely reasonable situations where I’d want my phone muted but still get notifications on my watch, or vice-versa? Apparently not in Google’s eyes.
The second reason is that Google also arbitrarily decided to replace “Silent” mode (a standard feature on phones for who-knows-how-long) with “Priority” mode, which is great in theory but frustrating in practice. This effectively silences all notifications except the ones I specifically allow through, which would be great if it wasn’t also putting my watch in priority mode.
The key to this seems to be the “Mute Connected Phone” feature option in the Android Wear, which unfortunately at this point seems to only work when it wants to, which, as far as I can tell, is entirely random.
Nothing quite like seeing my phone claim it’s muted by Android Wear, only to then vibrate or make a sound. Nailed it, Google.
I realize my complaints are pretty specific, but I imagine the use-case I describe for Android Wear is actually a pretty common setup, if not the most common. Why would I ever need my phone to make a sound or vibrate if I have a connected watch? Sure, give me the option if I really want it, but muting the connected device should be the default, not something that, as of this writing, doesn’t even work.
Also, I’m not sure if it’s a related bug or not, but sometimes my watch decides it doesn’t want to buzz anymore, which, well, is a pretty frustrating flaw in a device whose primary purpose is to notify me of things.
I love many of the things that Google does, but find myself constantly baffled by why they feel the need to change things that aren’t broken. You know what worked fine? The Sound/Vibrate/Silent modes that have existed in Android for years, and separate notification settings for my watch and my phone. Sure, add a Do Not Disturb option if you want to, but that should be an additional feature, not something that replaces what everyone has already gotten used to.
In the past week, my phone and my watch have both been “updated”, yet I feel like my personal workflow has taken a step back, not a step forward. Get your shit together, Google.