Veteran Android users, particularly those who stick to Nexus devices, are well aware of the fact that you can usually flash OTA updates manually once someone pulls a link to the actual update file. This normally provides a much better option than waiting for your device to get the update sent to it, which could take weeks. Android Wear has this functionality as well, but each watch is a little different in terms of proper procedures for doing so. We're going to run a series of posts on how to manually flash updates to each Android Wear device that supports it (sorry, Moto 360 users) in the hopes of providing some clarity on the issue.

Since this series deserves to be started in grand style, let's start with the newest, and arguably nicest looking, Android Wear device to date - the LG Watch Urbane. Fortunately, LG's third Android Wear offering is no different than that of a Nexus phone or tablet.

watch urbane recovery


Before beginning, make sure you have the following:

  • The latest Google USB driver and platform tools, both of which can be installed via the Android SDK.
  • The OTA ZIP file that you want to flash.

How To Flash

  1. Go into the Settings app on your watch, then scroll down to "About," and tap on it.
  2. Scroll down to the build number and repeatedly tap on it until you see a toast notification telling you that you are now a developer.
  3. Go back to the main settings menu, and now you'll see "Developer Options" below "About." Tap on it.
  4. Turn on "ADB Debugging."
  5. At this point, you'll want to put your watch on the cradle, and plug the cradle into your computer via USB. You'll get something to that pops up on the watch screen asking if you'd like to allow ADB debugging from your computer. Select either "OK" or "Always From This Computer."
  6. If you're on a Windows machine and haven't already installed the Google USB Driver, do that. You'll find an "LG Watch Urbane" under "Unknown Devices" in Device Manager. Browse to the Google USB Driver folder and use "Android Composite ADB Device."
  7. Open a command prompt and type "adb devices." This should show one device connected.
  8. Type "adb reboot bootloader." NOTE: On the Watch Urbane, if you reboot directly into recovery, you will not be able to bring up the recovery menu, thus you must reboot to the bootloader first.
  9. Once the bootloader screen shows up on your watch, press the right arrow key until you see "Recovery Mode," then press the middle circle to select it.
  10. Once recovery mode starts up, tap on the screen to bring up the menu.
  11. Swipe down to select "Apply Update From ADB," then swipe right to select it.
  12. At this point, you may need to install the Android Composite ADB Device driver again via Device Manager.
  13. Once that's done, type "adb devices" at your command prompt again to ensure that it shows one sideload device.
  14. At this point, a simple "adb sideload" should suffice. Replace "" with whatever you named the OTA update file.
  15. The system will go and apply the update. It is very important that you do not unplug your device from USB while updating. If you do, you risk a system that won't boot.

Hopefully, this tutorial will, during the next OTA update cycle, make the wait for the software bump a little less frustrating. We'll be back again with Part Two, so until next time, happy flashing!