In previous releases of Watch OS the Maps app was little more than a token gesture, although its ability to tap you on the wrist when it’s time to make a turn was useful.
In the Watch OS 2.2 update released in March, however, it becomes the true counterpart of its iPhone sibling. You can create and start routes from the Watch, and look up places of interest nearby (removing the need for inferior apps like AroundMe). In short, you no longer need to pull out your iPhone to get somewhere.
- Routing home or to work: Simply start the Maps app on the Watch, and tap the Home or Work buttons at the top of the screen, then tap the Start button once the route appears. As with all routes initiated on the Watch, there’s no need to have the iPhone app running, or for the iPhone even to be awake, because the app will start automatically to show the route.
- Routing to a specific location: Start the Maps app on the Watch, then tap the Search button. Then tap the Dictation button. You can speak Zip/postal codes, or street/city names. Tap the screen when finished (or push the digital crown to cancel). If a choice of destinations appears select the one you want, then select the transport mode you require – walking, driving or transport. Finally, tap the Start button once the route appears.
- Routing to a favorite/recent location: Start the Maps app on the Watch, then tap the Search button. Recents and favorites will be listed below.
- Finding things nearby: Start the Maps app on the Watch and then tap the Nearby button at the bottom of the menu listing. Then tap what you’re interested in. When you choose a place to visit, the phone number will appear – tap it to dial from the Watch – and the usual walking, driving and transport buttons. Force pressing the screen at this point will not only let you cancel the route, but also offer the option to call your destination from the Watch. Tap the Start button once the route appears. If you don’t see a Nearby menu option it might be because it’s not available where you live – presently it’s only available in the US, Australia, Canada, China, Finland, France, Germany, Netherlands, and the UK.
- Cancelling any route once it’s in progress: Force Press the screen, and tap Stop Directions. You can also invoke Siri and say something like, “Cancel route.”
- Using Siri:You can also use Siri to specify a destination even when the Maps app isn’t running – to start Siri, press and hold the digital crown, or say, “Hey Siri” after waking the Watch. You can specify walking or transit directions within your question too – “Hey Siri, give me walking directions to Starbucks.”