Is Google Maps Available for Apple Watch?

After a 3-year absence, Google Maps is back on Apple Watch

Google Maps is one of the most useful navigation apps available, and while you used to be able to run it on nearly any platform, Google dropped support for the Apple Watch in early 2017. Three years later, Google was back with a Google Maps app for the Apple Watch.

When Google Dropped Support for Apple Watch

Google Maps worked only on computers, tablets, and smartphones until September 2015, when Google announced the Apple Watch version of its maps app.

The app was redesigned to fit on a watch screen, and it offered an easy way to find directions quickly without pulling out your phone.

It's unclear why Google quit supporting Apple Watch for its maps app, but some theories are that it had too small a user base to keep it running and that Google wanted to redesign the app from the ground up.

Three years later, the Google Maps app returned to the Apple Watch.

Using the Google Maps App

With the Google Maps app, you can access routes to saved locations, such as your office or home, or pull up directions to locations you recently visited from your phone. It makes navigation, particularly by foot, easier than it is through the iPhone app.

You can't enter a new location directly on the Apple Watch—you need the iPhone for that. After you enter a location on the phone and start the navigation, you can follow the directions to it on the Apple Watch. You won't see a map on the Apple Watch screen, but you'll see drive time, turn-by-turn instructions, distances, and turn-direction arrows. The watch uses its haptic capabilities to reinforce the travel instructions.

Google Maps app for Apple Watch

Map Alternatives for Apple Watch

The Apple Maps app improved during the Google Maps absence. The free navigation app is available for the Apple Watch, iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Like Google Maps, Apple Maps shows distance, direction, turn-by-turn directions, and direction arrows on the Apple Watch—and an occasional tiny map.

Trigger Apple Maps on your smartwatch by asking Siri for directions to a new destination and select from driving, walking, cycling, and transit navigation on the watch.

If you use Apple Maps while walking, the watch generates sounds and taps to specify which direction to turn. This is handy because you don't have to glance at your wrist each time you need to change directions.

For more help, find out how to use maps on the Apple Watch.

Citymapper is another Google Maps replacement for Apple Watch that provides public transport information for live bus, metro, train times, and Uber integration. However, it doesn't work in as many cities as Google Maps or Apple Maps.

A person using Apple Watch on a busy street; Google Maps app icon is crossed out

Lifewire / Lisa Fasol

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