Here is how to get Pebble smartwatch notifications to work on Windows Phone

Pebble is arguably one of the most important smartwatch brands available to consumers these days. Indeed, the private company has been very successful in raising money for its new Pebble Time device, suggesting that the company has some legs.

However, Pebble and Windows Phones are two things that do not match. We detailed the story of the failed attempt at bringing the Pebble app to Windows Phone before so today we want to talk about that 'demo' app for notifications.

We will also tell you where you can get it and how it works in our hands-on video.

Hands on video of Pebble Connect

First discovered a few weeks ago, the app is an internal beta used for testing Windows Phone notifications with a Pebble smartwatch. It does not have more advanced features like access to the Pebble Store (for installing apps), music controls and more.

However, it can hook into your Windows Phone notification system to alert you to phone calls, email, general notifications, even when music stops/start playing (the 'Media' option).

And yes, it runs in the background.

Can I download it from the Store?

Unfortunately, since it is a private beta, none of us have permission to download it to our phones. Many people have noticed the 'Download and install manually' option, but this too will not work for sideloading due to restrictions placed on the APPX.

But, there is a way. Here's how.

Sideloading the modified Pebble Connect app

Luckily, through various friends, we have found a way to remove those restrictions. As a result, we have a modified version of the Pebble Connect APPX.

This version can be sideloaded to any Windows Phone 8.1 device using the Windows Phone SDK. Through the SDK, you can developer unlock your phone and manually install ('sideload') the APPX to your phone.

To learn how to developer unlock your Windows Phone, please read our tutorial.

Read: How to Developer Unlock your Windows Phone

Download the modified Pebble Connect APPX file

To grab the modified APPX file for Pebble Connect, simply hit the link up below. Note: this file will only be available for 48 hours, after that, it is up to you what happens to it!

You will need to download this to a PC with the Windows Phone 8.1 SDK and Developers tool installed. Copying directly to your Windows Phone and using local apps will not work.

  • Download Pebble Connect APPX (modified)

Using Pebble Connect

Once installed, you want to launch the Pebble Connect app. You should see a warning about it not being able to run in the background due to its task being disabled. To solve this, follow these steps:

  1. Settings 
  2. Battery Saver 
  3. Usage 
  4. Choose 'Pebble Connect Beta' 
  5. Enable 'Allow app to run in the background' 

Now, you need to pair the Pebble with your Windows Phone (you could also do this step earlier, the ordering does not matter)

Paring your Pebble to Windows Phone

  1. Put Pebble into pairing mode (middle button, settings, Bluetooth) 
  2. On Windows Phone: Settings, Bluetooth 
  3. Your Pebble should eventually show up in the list of devices (it can take some time) 
  4. Tap to pair, follow the instructions 

Once completed, close out the Pebble Connect Beta app and re-launch it. You should no longer see the error message about it running in the background. Instead, you should have an 'allow access to notifications' dialog. Hit 'Agree' and you should now see the Log screen and the Pebble Connect app finding your Pebble.

Pebble Media Alert

A few more things

Just to be clear, this app is only for notifications on your Windows Phone.

  • Cannot install Pebble apps 
  • Cannot install new watch faces 
  • Cannot control music (although there are some media notifications) 

In that sense, Pebble Connect is only partially useful to Windows Phone users. However, if you already have a Pebble that is sitting around, it just became much more helpful to you. At the very least, you can have this app until hopefully someday, Pebble comes around again to Windows Phone.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

  • Can it run in the background? Is that why the error goes away?
  • Of course.
  • Daniel, is there another file you can provide? The one linked seems to have an issue with installing. It won't deploy
  • Try the new link/file
  • Worked great, thank you!  
  • By any chance is there another link available? I missed the opportunity to download it.
  • I tipped them about how I got it to work with photos and even pmed Dan yet no mention of my name :/ I even posted a thread about it, check my threads and pebble threads for it :(
  • Could be that you weren't the only one to send in the tip or, I don't know, maybe Daniel was already writing the post when he got your tip. 
  • I sent it to him around 8 hours before this article. Guess my tip doesent count because this is another appx that's not exactly protected unlike the original appxbundle. Ill install this one too and see if its more stable compared to the original.
  • Why are you so upset about not being mentioned? I tip them all the time but you don't ever see me posting "where's my name????" Maybe you weren't the only tipper?
  • @lkcbharath You failed to mention that this file needs to be modified in order to side load. You did not do the actual legwork here, hence no mention. You literally provided me no information or details to help in this endevour. Sorry, it's nothing personal. If you just download the APPX from the Store, you cannot, I repeat cannot, sideload it.
  • Not entirely true. I downloaded the appx bundle from the site last night and loaded it on my lumia 822 (WP 8.1 Denim DP Unlocked). I didn't need to use the version posted in the article. I do want to try this version though, to see if there are any difference. One difference I noticed with the article and my experience. I didn't have to go into the settings and toggle the run in background setting.
  • What s are you referring to? I have the original appx file with a nokia 1520 dev unlock and trying to side load through sdk, microsoft visual studio express 2013 but keep getting an unable to install error. help please?
  • i got the appx from here: ans used this site yo get the package installed: some users did say that they just had to keep trying in order for the app to install
  • There you are lkcbharath... You got your mention!
  • :) Rename the .zip to .appxbundle
  • Just one question. Does Pebble have touch screen ?
  • After reading the in-depth story of how Pebble basically walked away from an integration with Windows Phone being handed to them, I lost any desire to want to support that company.
  • Don't blame you there... This is why MS has to have their own $hiznit, and not rely on others... They're big enough to support themselves..
  • I'm not sure if Microsoft was ready to make an app for Pebble and just publish it, they wanted to purchase Pebble. Not only did they want to purchase it, they wanted it to ensure that Windows Phone got preference over Android and iOS for features. I mean if you think about it, why would Pebble give special features to an OS that barely has any grip over the marketshare? I'm not familiar with the whole situation, but I sure as hell know that it is not something to get upset over, Pebble is the least of your problems considering how many wearables don't support the Windows Phone platform. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • You are over-reading that part of the article. Two companies merely exploring mutual ways to benefit from each other is a lot different than a predatory Microsoft that you are portraying.
  • I agree. I'd rather not support a company that has gone out of there way to ignore Windows phones. Particularly when their product doesn't even do as much as my Band... and (my opinion) is ugly as sin.
  • I say this not for the overall sake of the platform, but, I don't see what WE need pebble for... We have the band, and MS has plenty of apps that support it just fine....
  • You da man Rodney! You hit the nail on the head and I think Balmer saw that OEMs were turning their backs on Microsoft and he knew they would need to start making their own hardware..... Let's hope Satya doesn't destroy that! I don't mind MS services being on other platforms, but with Cortana making the jump, I'm not sure it will entice users to come over as hardware is not Apple or Android problem as they have plenty manufactures willing to make good hardware unlike WP, so let's hope WP 10 brings something amazing otherwise Satya may assist in shrinking WP share in America! Oh yeah, I love my band, but also looking forward to B2....i hope that's why paynos Panay and the surface team has gone zero dark thirty!
  • Yep, and as far as supporting W10P I really don't have faith in any OEM besides MS... I wanna say Nokia so bad... MS definitely has the upper hand when it comes to hardware.. They make their own great hardware, and have others doing more for them...
    I just hate to bring it up, because I know yall are sick of it,, but marketing.... That's the last piece of the puzzle that's missing...
  • I'm 100% with you, but I guess Satya only thinks the cloud is the only thing that needs to be advertised or worked on instead of moving every MS product forward along with the, "Ubiquitous Cloud".....You know that's his favorite word...Ubiquitous.....
  • SMDH... This is where I say they are over thinking things...
  • Wrong it's speculation. SPECULATION that Cortana may be available on other platforms.
  • Well, if you're going to have that attitude then you should say that you're speculating that it's speculation..... That is,, if you aim to stay neutral.
  • Agreed
  • I feel that I don't want to support pebble now. I want my devices to sync/notifications to my phone, tablet, pc and maybe xbox one, if I ever buy one. I have no room for blind hatred. If it doesn't make business sense, then good. But otherwise the consumer is king. Give me what I want, not what you want. Microsoft is actually giving me what I want. Microsoft keep it up.
  • Exactly.. We're supposed to expect that MS products will work best with the MS Ecosystem....
  • Yes, it should. Disappointed my w8.1 one drive app doesn't support albums. I have an android camera, so glad that MS is supporting Android.
  • Huhhhh..... I wonder if more WP fans switch to the iPhone, or Android, if they decide to leave...
    Just wondering.
  • OneDrive does support albums now. Check it out.
  • On windows 8.1? I know it does on my phone, not on my surface 2
  • This is great, but I'm hoping MS has a variety of SW form factors up their sleeves..
  • excellent news, i will now look to see if there is a colorscreen stylish pebble watch out there, i dont even know pebble's line of watches, but now i get to research, microsoft band is too expensive for me at the moment and i hear pebble is cheaper and ultimately i want notifications
  • Pebble Time is color. And on Kickstarter still.
  • Sorry, you're misinformed.
    Last year's Pebble Steel is not color & costs $199 (same as the Band).
    The yet to be released Pebble Steel Time, which is color, is $249.
    Neither of which work completely with Windows phones.
  • I hope all of your who get it don't get your bubbles burst of pebble decides to block access to their API breaking this functionality leaving you guys with three options: 1. Switch platforms
    2. Take a loss on hardware that doesn't work with your platform of choice
    3. Use our via their website
  • That Pebble watch looks shit, what is this, the 1990s? Wtf is all the fuss about?
  • Yea yea it's not a band...
  • Their newer watches look better, but they are also more expensive. 
  • Although, I'm not too excited about them, they do have another version that looks a little better... I'm pretty sure there was one they were trying to raid money for that didn't look like a Mickey Mouse watch from WalMart.
  • How about you educate yourself instead of making yourself look stupid?
  • Whoever you're replying to you can't be too smart yourself, because nobody said anything personal to you.. What's wrong with you?
  • Uhh, this is a reply to a comment...
  • Which one, that it looks like shit or Mickey Mouse-ish? Because, being quite educated on Pebbles models, I agree with both. They looks like some Mickey Mouse bullshit.
  • Lol....
  • Confirmed