Up until now, there have only been two gestures on Android Wear (both of which I use constantly): scroll up by flicking the wrist in, and scroll down by flicking the wrist out. I've found these to be quick and easy ways of interacting with Android Wear, especially when I'm busy with other things or my hands are full. Since these were introduced, I've often hoped for more gestures, especially for things like exiting apps or going to the next screen.

With Android Wear 1.4 (Marshmallow), Google must've realized how valuable gestures can be, because it brought three new ones to the table: select, go back, and exit to watch face. While I don't feel like these are nearly as easy to execute (well, two of them, anyway) as the existing gestures, it's still neat that they're along for the ride…most of the time.


This one kind of makes sense, but at the same time it kind of doesn't. To execute the select gesture, you quickly "push" your arm down with whatever you want to open on the screen. So, for example, let's say you just got an SMS — you can flick your wrist out to open the message, then push your arm down to select the message (which is basically like swiping to the next screen). Here's where things get kind of messy, though: if you want to swipe again to view the conversation, you're out of luck. Another push will simply select the available executable, which is to reply. That's awesome if all you're trying to do is reply, but I think the action itself is a little confusing since pushing your arm down on the main SMS message works just like swiping to the next screen. It's easy to forget what this gesture does and just start swinging your arms around like a lunatic just hoping for the right thing to happen.

Go Back

The gesture to go back is exactly the opposite of the select gesture: you pivot your arm up quickly. This further complicates the select gesture in my opinion, because it again makes it easy to confuse select with "forward." Anyway, this one is very straightforward (or is it straightback? I GOT JOKES FOR DAYS, Y'ALL) — swing your arm up, and it's like the swipe back action on the display.

Exit to Watch Face

This one is the simplest of all the new gestures, because it's basically a combination of the scroll up and scroll down movement — simply shake your arm back and forth to exit any screen and go back to the watch face. I can see how this one could be accidentally executed when trying to scroll up or down with the existing gestures, but thankfully I haven't had that issue yet.


The new gestures have their quirks, but I still like them (and have been using them quite a bit since getting the Urbane 2). I'd really like to see a way to toggle each gesture on an individual basis instead of the all-or-nothing approach that exists right now, so hopefully that's something that will be an option in the future.

Either way, this is most likely what you can expect on the current crop of Wear watches once they get Marshmallow. Get stoked.