How to Use Maps on the Apple Watch

Apple Watch with Maps activated

Apple Inc.

Maps is one of the most useful features in the Apple Watch. With Maps on your wrist, you can get turn by turn directions to your destination, just like you can on your phone. With the Watch; however, those directions also come with a gentle tap on your wrist, so you’re sure to not miss a beat. It's the perfect thing to use when you're traveling around a new city and don't want to look like the confused tourist that you are, or for when you plan on biking or riding something like a scooter around town, need GPS directions, and don't really have a good spot to mount your phone.

You can't get Google Maps on the Apple watch, so use the Apple Maps app instead.

Interacting With Maps on the Watch

Using Maps on your Apple Watch is a little different than the experience on the iPhone, but it's still pretty easy to get the hang of. Once you do, it's one of those amazing Apple Watch features that you'll want to use constantly. This is one of those things that the Apple Watch handles really well and something you'll find yourself thankful you have over and over again.

Not quite sure how to use Apple Maps on your Apple Watch? Here’s a quick rundown of the process:

From Your Phone

The easiest way to use Apple Maps on your Watch is to start on your iPhone. When you have an Apple Watch paired with your phone, any directions you start on your iPhone will be automatically sent to your Watch as well. That means that you can put your phone away and follow turn by turn directions on your Watch. Directions will also still be displayed on your phone as well, so if you’re, for instance, walking around with headphones, you’ll still hear the directional cues as well.

If you’re trying to go to a friend’s house, or a hard-to-pronounce location, then starting the Maps process on your iPhone is by far the easiest choice. Honestly, if you're going anywhere at all, this is by far the easiest way to start navigation on your wrist. Also, it ensures you have a backup going already on your phone. That way if you decide you want to detour into that coffee shop down the street or see what restaurants are nearby, you can make the transition quickly.

From the Apple Watch

From the Apple Watch, there are a number of different ways you can interact with Maps. The easiest of which is to simply tap on an address to a text message, email, or other notification you’ve received on the Watch. From there, Maps will launch and show you exactly where on the map that particular destination is located. To just get a feel for where you are right now, you can swipe up on your Watch face to see Maps in your glances. You can also open maps from your Watch’s home screen by tapping on its icon.

By default, Apple Maps on your Apple Watch will show your current location. Turn the digital crown to zoom in or out on your location to get a better feel for where you are. To look for a new location, press firmly on the display. You’ll be given the option to navigate to an address attached to one of your Contacts, or to Search for a new location.

Searches can only be done using your voice and having Siri search the directions for you (part of the reason why it’s easier to start the process on your iPhone). The Watch will display the last few searches you performed on your iPhone as an option, so if you happened to be looking for something beforehand, then you can just tap into directions from the Watch without having to speak out 

When you search for a new location, Apple Watch will pull up the location, its hours, any available contact information for it as well as any available reviews. For directions, you can tap on either walking or driving directions (transit directions are coming soon). Press Start, and you can be on your way.

Directions are displayed one by one on the screen on your Watch, with your ETA to your location displayed at the top so you know when you'll arrive.