How to use your Android Wear smartwatch as a remote shutter for a smartphone camera

You can now add "taking photos" to the list of things an Android Wear smartwatch can do. Okay, kind of. Android Wear smartwatches don't have cameras, but they can act as a remote shutter for your smartphone's camera, thus allowing you to take pics from a distance.

How would this feature be of any use? Well, imagine that you wanted to take a picture with you in it – you could place your phone on a flat surface, aim it, then go into the frame with your buddies and press the shutter from your smartwatch. Or you can use it to spy on people, although that wouldn't be a nice thing to do, and don't blame us if you get in trouble for being too nosy.

Anyway, let's get to business.

To turn your Android Wear smartwatch into a remote shutter, you'll need the right app. Currently, there are several Android camera apps that can "talk" to smartwatches, and one of them you're likely familiar with. It's called Google Camera.

The moment you open Google Camera on your phone, your smartwatch will display a new card labeled "Remote". If you tap it, your watch's display will turn into a big shutter key. Tapping the key enables a 3-second timer and then a photo is taken. After the photo has been captured, a preview of it is shown on the watch's display.

There are several limitations to this method, however. Firstly, Google Camera can't turn your watch into a viewfinder – you can't see what your image looks like until it has been shot. Also, the aforementioned delay can't be disabled, and adjusting camera settings is out of the question.

Download: Google Camera

The alternatives: Wear Camera Remote

Alternatively, there's a neat little app called Wear Camera Remote. Unlike Google Camera, it can display an image preview on your Android Wear watch, and if that's not enough, you get control over the flash setting and the camera's self-timer feature. Better yet, the application is free to download and use.

To use Wear Camera Remote, launch the app from your smartwatch. You do this either with a voice command or manually, by tapping on the screen, scrolling all the way down to the "Start..." option, and launching the app from there. Note that the app will start and will be capable of taking pictures even when your phone's display is off.


If neither of these work, or if you need to have more control over the image being taken, there are two more apps you may try. They'll cost you a buck or two, however. 

PixtoCam is the first premium app on the list. Feature-wise, it is similar to Wear Camera Remote in that it delivers a real-time preview of the image and works even with the phone's screen off. What makes it stand out, however, is that you can shoot video as well. You may also control the zoom setting, adjust image resolution, and enable the flash while shooting video, all from your wrist.

Download: PixtoCam ($1.99)

Remote Shot for Android Wear

And finally, here's Remote Shot for Android Wear. It is just as capable as PixtoCam from a functional perspective – you may switch between your phone's front or rear cameras, you may adjust image resolution, you may set a timer, and you may control the camera flash. And yes, it will work silently even with your phone's display is off.

Download: Remote Shot for Android Wear ($1.49)



1. DirtyDan23

Posts: 280; Member since: Aug 12, 2014


2. sgodsell

Posts: 7416; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

There is a number of other free camera remote apps that will do a number of other nifty things like paper camera. There is even a motion capture version that will display what moved in front of the camera and send it to your watch.

3. nctx77

Posts: 2540; Member since: Sep 03, 2013

That LG watch looks absolutely terrible!

4. rob14

Posts: 1; Member since: May 27, 2015

Just discovered an interesting thing: I have an LG G3 (kitkat) and a Moto 360 Smartwatch. I installed google camera and knew I could photos remotely by the watch. Indeed I could not see the image I wanted to take. BUT, and that's interesting: the next time I wanted to enable the camera through the volume button of the phone, I was asked which camera I wanted to be linked to this "shortcut". I choose the stock camera of my LG G3. Now, every time I open the camera (or through the shortcut or through the camera icon) I can see the live-image through my Moto 360. There I can choose additionally (swiping) if I want a timer of 3 sec or not. Isn't that interesting? I did not found any info on Internet about that, therefore I am writing it down here.

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