The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic are undoubtedly one of the best Wear OS smartwatches available in the market. It is currently one of the only smartwatches running the latest version of Google’s smartwatch operating system – Wear OS 3 – making it the best choice for most Android smartphone users looking for a premium smartwatch.
Unfortunately, the Galaxy Watch 4 doesn’t offer the same experience with non-Samsung phones as it does when connected to a Samsung Galaxy device. This makes it a less than ideal purchase for those who own an Android smartphone from another OEM. Fortunately, you can use a couple of third-party apps and mods to get some of the Samsung-exclusive features on the Galaxy Watch 4.
Which Galaxy Watch 4 features are exclusive to Samsung phones?
Before we get to third-party apps and mods, let’s first take a quick look at some of the Samsung-exclusive features you won’t get when connected to a non-Samsung device.
Galaxy Watch 4 features you don’t get when connected to non-Samsung devices:
- Blood pressure monitoring
- Samsung messages
- Camera controls
- Do not disturb mode sync
- Bedtime mode
- Make/receive calls when not connected to a phone via Bluetooth
- Customizable AR Emoji watch faces
Now that you know what you’re missing out on, let’s take a look at some workarounds and third-party apps to get some of these features on the Galaxy Watch 4.
Get the most out of your Galaxy Watch 4 with a non-Samsung phone
Enable ECG and blood pressure monitoring on Galaxy Watch 4 with a non-Samsung phone
First of all, we’re going to talk about enabling ECG and blood pressure monitoring on the Galaxy Watch 4 when connected to a non-Samsung phone. ECG and blood pressure monitoring are two of the most useful Galaxy Watch 4 features, and not having access to them just because you don’t own a Galaxy smartphone is a bummer. Fortunately, a modified version of the Samsung Health Monitor app by XDA Senior Member Dante63 can fix that.
The modified Samsung Health Monitor app enables both ECG and blood pressure monitoring on the Galaxy Watch 4 when connected to a non-Samsung device. Check out our in-depth guide to install the modified Samsung Health Monitor app to enable ECG and blood pressure monitoring on Galaxy Watch 4.
Enable BP sync on Galaxy Watch 4 with a non-Samsung phone
While the modified Samsung Health Monitor app enables ECG and blood pressure monitoring on the Galaxy Watch 4 with all non-Samsung devices, it does not enable BP sync. Without the feature, your blood pressure data won’t sync with the Samsung Health app on your phone, making it difficult to track. However, Dante63 has you covered. Follow the link for our step-by-step guide on how to enable BP sync on Galaxy Watch 4.
Use these third-party apps to get some of the missing features on the Galaxy Watch 4
Now that you’ve enabled ECG and blood pressure monitoring on your Galaxy Watch 4 and turned on BP sync, it’s time to move on to the other features. As mentioned earlier, the Galaxy Watch 4 does not allow you to access the Samsung Messages app when connected to a non-Samsung device. Fortunately, you don’t have to look too hard to find an alternative.
The Google Messages app is a great replacement for the missing Samsung Messages app, and it works on the Galaxy Watch 4 even when connected to a non-Samsung device. You can download the app by opening the Play Store on your Galaxy Watch 4, searching for Google Messages, and then selecting the Install button. The only downside to using Google Messages over Samsung Messages is that it lacks two features. The Google Messages app does not offer support for sending audio messages from the Galaxy Watch 4 or a shortcut to help you quickly open a message on your phone. Unfortunately, you can’t get these features with a third-party app.
Camera One: Wear, Galaxy Watch
While you won’t be able to access camera controls on the Galaxy Watch 4 when connected to a non-Samsung phone, you can get the same set of features with the Camera One app. You can download the app from the Play Store on the Galaxy Watch 4 and use it to preview the viewfinder on the watch’s screen, click photos, record videos and even record audio.
The Camera One app has a functional user interface with buttons for all commonly used camera functions right in the viewfinder. The standard interface includes shutter buttons to help you quickly take photos and videos, along with buttons for power saving mode, timer, flash, zoom, exposure value, white balance and filters. The app opens the rear-facing primary camera by default, and you can swipe down from the top of the screen to switch to the selfie shooter.
Unfortunately, you can’t get Do Not Disturb mode sync, Bedtime mode sync, the ability to make/receive calls when not connected to a phone via Bluetooth, and customizable AR emoji watch faces on the Galaxy Watch 4 using third-party apps. But there are a couple of other third-party apps that you can use to further enhance your experience. Check out the section below for some app recommendations and tips to get the most out of your Galaxy Watch 4 when connected to a non-Samsung phone.
Various apps and tips
Use Gboard instead of the built-in keyboard app
The built-in T9 keyboard on the Galaxy Watch 4 is a blast from the past, and frankly, it should have stayed there. It’s a pain to use and it’s better to install the Gboard app on your watch.
The Gboard app gives you access to a full keyboard layout on your watch’s screen, and the best thing about it is that it offers support for swipe input. It is well optimized for the watch’s small screen and offers a significantly better typing experience than the keyboard app.
Launch apps and perform actions faster with Wear Gesture Launcher
The Wear Gesture Launcher app is a handy app that lets you open apps and perform actions by drawing custom gestures on the Galaxy Watch 4 screen. For example, to open Google Maps, open the app drawer by swiping up on the home screen and then tapping the Google Maps icon in the app drawer.
With the Wear Gesture Launcher, you can do that by tapping the right edge of the screen, no matter which page you’re on, and drawing the Google Maps gesture. The app allows you to add custom gestures for all apps installed on your phone and a few timer actions, such as setting a new alarm, managing alarms, opening the timer and opening the stopwatch.
Enable notifications only for important apps to improve battery life
One of the biggest downsides to using a Wear OS smartwatch is its below-average battery life. When I first started using the Galaxy Watch 4, it barely lasted a full day and I had to take it off while I went to bed to charge it again for the next day. Because of this, I couldn’t use the sleep tracking feature.
While you can’t do anything to make the Galaxy Watch 4 last for days like some fitness trackers without sacrificing more features, you can turn off notifications for all non-essential apps to get about a day and a half of use out of a single charging. I personally only have Telegram and Slack notifications enabled on my watch, and it now lasts just over a day and a half on a single charge, even with continuous heart rate tracking turned on.
Turn on airplane mode while charging to charge your watch faster
Another problem that I encountered during the first few weeks of using the Galaxy Watch 4 is the painfully slow charging speed. Therefore, it initially made sense for me to charge the watch overnight. But I can’t do that anymore as I use it to bed for sleep tracking.
To overcome this I now turn on airplane mode when I put the watch on charge and I have noticed that it charges a bit faster. You can further improve the charging speed by turning it off while charging. But I find it a bit inconvenient, so I stick to airplane mode. Fortunately, Samsung is reportedly doubling the charging speed on the upcoming Galaxy Watch 5 series, so this shouldn’t be a problem if you’re planning to upgrade to one of the newer models.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic
The Galaxy Watch 4 is Samsung’s latest generation of smartwatches, and this classic model retains the beloved spinning bezel from previous watches.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
If you want a more minimalist look without the rotating bezel, the standard Galaxy Watch 4 offers all the same features as the Classic.
That wraps up our guide to getting the most out of the Galaxy Watch 4 with a non-Samsung phone? Which of these tips did you already know? Did you find something useful to improve your experience? Let us know in the comments section below.