For those of you who have been clinging onto hope that Android Pay for Android Wear 2.0 would allow you to make mobile payments even if your device’s bootloader is unlocked, we have some bad news to share.
Google has confirmed to AndroidPolice Android Pay on the latest Wear 2.0 update will not work if the paired smartphone has an unlocked bootloader. While ultimately disappointing, it’s not as if this news is unexpected. Although the Wear 2.0 update introduces the ability to install standalone applications onto your smartwatch, adding cards to the Android Pay application on Wear 2.0 requires you to go through the Android Pay application on your smartphone.
Given that the smartphone Android Pay application already refuses to add cards on devices with unlocked bootloaders, it is no surprise that the application will refuse to do the same for your smartwatch. After all, if Google treats your smartphone with an unlocked bootloader as a potentially compromised device, there’s no way that determination changes simply because you plan on using your smartphone only to add new cards to Android Pay on your watch. If your smartphone is compromised, then any data sent to your smartwatch (such as the card information beamed to your Android Wear watch via Bluetooth) could also become compromised.
Of course, this is all just speculation on Google’s thought process behind why they are barring Android Pay from being used on your smartwatch even if the smartwatch itself has a locked bootloader. It is unclear if this situation will ever change in the future or if there might be a workaround. For now your only option if you want to use Android Pay on your smartwatch is to re-lock the bootloader on your smartphone, but that may trigger a factory reset on certain devices and means you won’t be able to enjoy any of the awesome mods that are posted on our forums.