How to disable unused built-in apps like YouTube Music or Fitbit on Google Pixel Watch

YouTube Music app on Google Pixel Watch

If you don’t use some of the built-in apps on your Google Pixel Watch, you cannot currently uninstall them, but you can disable them.

When you disable an app, it won’t show up on your list of apps, and it also won’t be updated.

For example, I don’t subscribe to YouTube Music, so I really don’t want that app on my watch. I prefer to uninstall it entirely, but since that isn’t an option (at least, not yet), what I can do is disable it, so it’s not actively showing up on my watch.

I know quite a few people who don’t want to use Fitbit on their Pixel watches (preferring to use Google Fit or third-party apps instead), and they are in the same boat. They can’t uninstall Fitbit, but they can disable it!

So let’s learn how.

What’s the difference between disabling and uninstalling an app? Google Pixel Watch uninstall app

When you uninstall an app from your Pixel Watch, you completely remove it from your watch, including its operating files and any data that the app stores for you. 

When you disable an app, the app itself remains on the watch, but you cannot use it. It doesn’t update and doesn’t show up on your list of apps. However, you can re-enable the app to use it again.

While you can uninstall most apps, such as any app, especially third-party apps, you added after setting up your watch; you cannot uninstall your system and built-in apps, including apps like YouTube Music and Fitbit.

So it’s a good idea to determine if you can uninstall an app or if you need to disable it. The easiest way is to open the Settings app on your watch > Apps & notifications > App info. Google Pixel Watch apps that you can uninstall

Any apps listed there are apps you added to the watch after setting it up–and you can uninstall these.

If an app isn’t listed just beneath App info, you’ll find it in System Apps, which means you can disable but not uninstall it.q

How to disable built-in system apps on your Pixel Watch Google Pixel Watch disable app

  1. Open the Settings app on your Pixel Watch.
  2. Choose Apps & Notifications. Google Pixel Watch apps and notification settings
  3. Select App Info. Google Pixel watch apps and notification app info settings
  4. Scroll down and tap System Apps. Google Pixel Watch system apps settings
  5. Find the app you want to disable and tap it. Google Pixel Watch system settings for YouTube Music app
  6. Look for the option to Disable and tap it. Google Pixel Watch disable YouTube Music app
  7. If you don’t see Disable, look for Remove Upgrades and tap that. Google Pixel Watch apps remove upgrades
    1. After removing any updates, you should find the option to Disable the app. 
  8. Repeat for any additional apps you want to disable. 

For whatever reason, if your Pixel Watch has two entries for YouTube Music like mine did, disable them both.

Your watch should immediately update once you disable an app. However, restart your watch if you still see the disabled app on your list of apps.

How to uninstall apps from your Pixel Watch

There are two ways to uninstall apps from your Pixel Watch: the Play Store and the Settings app.

Uninstalling apps using the Play Store

Uninstall an app on your Pixel watch: open the Play Store on your watch, scroll, and tap Manage apps. Choose the app you wish to remove and select Uninstall. Google Pixel Watch uninstall apps via the Play Store
Uninstall an app for your Pixel watch using the Google Watch app: on your paired phone, open the Google Watch app. Choose the Play Store and select the app you want to remove. Then, tap Uninstall. Google Watch app uninstall app via Play Store

Uninstalling apps using the Settings app

  1. Open the Settings app on your Pixel Watch.
  2. Choose Apps & Notifications.
  3. Select App Info.
  4. Tap any app just listed below App Info but above System Apps. Google Pixel Watch uninstall app
  5. Select Uninstall. Google Pixel Watch uninstall an app

Your watch should immediately update once you uninstall an app. However, restart your watch if you still see the app in your list of apps.

Final thoughts

I hope this short post helped you better manage your Pixel Watch apps.

One thing I love about the Pixel Watch, especially when compared to Fitbit, is all the third-party apps you can install on your watch. Some of my favorites include Samsung Calculator, Todoist, Strava, Spotify, Sleep Cycle, Facer, MyFitnessPal, and Calm. I wish the Pixel supported Pandora–but at this time, it doesn’t.

It’s easy to discover apps in the Google Play Store on your watch or phone.

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A. Beth Whittenberger
I started my love affair with computers way back in elementary school with the Apple II. Since then, I've worked with technology in my career as a media educator and videomaker. I have an MFA in media making from Temple University, where I also taught undergrads as an adjunct faculty member. Additionally, I was a writer, content producer, and editor on the popular tech blog AppleToolBox. So I know a thing or two about teaching others and creating how-to guides! After a cancer diagnosis, I turned to mobile technology like my Apple Watch to help me monitor my health throughout my chemotherapy treatment and later, to regain my wellness once in remission. I love sharing how to understand and use mobile tech, like smartwatches and phones, as a tool for empowerment to live our best and healthiest lives! Connect with me on LinkedIn!


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