Apple

How to navigate Maps on the Apple Watch

One of the key features of the Apple Watch vs. other wearables is that fact that it can run full-featured apps like Maps. Cory Bohon shows you how to set up and navigate around town with the Apple Watch.

Maps on Apple Watch

Maps on the Apple Watch is a smaller version than that found on iOS 8, but it still allows you many of the navigation features you've become used to on your iPhone. Let's take a look at how you can set a navigation route, use the turn-by-turn features, and load recent searches from the Maps app on your Apple Watch.

Use Siri to navigate to a location

Whenever you wish to navigate to a specific location on your Apple Watch, simply activate Siri and say "Get [walking or driving] directions to X" (replacing "x" with the location that you wish to navigate to). Apple Watch can give both turn-by-turn walking or driving directions, depending on which you'd like to use.

After requesting navigation directions, Siri will open the Maps app on the Apple Watch and will find the location you've requested. Once a route has been found, you'll see a Start button (Figure A). Tapping this button will launch the turn-by-turn interface, and the route navigation will begin. If you want to cancel the directions, tap the Clear button to clear the navigation route interface.

Figure A

Figure A

A route on the Maps app.

Use the Maps app to search for a location

If you launch the Maps app on the Apple Watch, you can also search for a location. Here how:

  1. Force-touch on the main map interface
  2. Tap Search
  3. Tap Dictation or Favorites, or select from any of the Recents to begin navigating to the location you want (Figure B).

Figure B

Figure B

You can search for the location you want to navigate to.

Any time you navigate to a location, it will appear in the Recents list, allowing you to easily re-navigate to that same location again.

Turn-by-turn directions

When you are in the navigation interface, the Apple Watch will make a ticking sound and use the Taptic engine to gently remind you when turn-based actions are necessary to continue navigation on the current route.

Whenever navigation is in progress, your Apple Watch will display the current directions when you raise your wrist. By default, this view shows a large next action view, displaying the next turn action that you'll need to make. If you want to see a map instead, swipe to the left to display the map view (Figure C).

Figure C

Figure C

Swipe to the left to display the map view.

Here are some of the Apple Watch Taptic engine cues:

  • A steady series of 12 taps means turn right at the intersection you're approaching
  • Three pairs of two taps means turn left
  • You'll feel a vibration when you start the first leg and when you're on the last leg of the trip

Do you have a favorite feature of Maps on Apple Watch? Let us know about it in the discussion thread below.

Also see

About Cory Bohon

Cory Bohon is an indie developer specializing in iOS and OS X development. He runs a software company called Cocoa App and is also a developer at MartianCraft. He was introduced to technology at an early age and has been writing about his favorite te...

Editor's Picks

Free Newsletters, In your Inbox