Some Wear OS watches no longer need a nearby phone to get Google Maps turn-by-turn directions


Last August, during the Samsung Unpacked event that unveiled Samsung’s latest foldables and Galaxy Watches, Google announced that it would allow Wear OS watches to deliver turn-by-turn directions from Google Maps even if the user’s paired smartphone was miles away. At the time, it wasn’t clear whether the watch needed to be connected to an LTE network, although we said that it would seem likely that this requirement would be necessary.
Today, a new support page was posted by Google with the title, “Leave your phone behind and get to more places with Wear OS and Google Maps” And Google made it clear that watches running Wear OS connected to an LTE network can now get turn-by-turn directions from Google Maps without depending on a nearby paired Android phone.

Want turn-by-turn directions from Google Maps on your Wear OS device but forgot your phone? No problem!

As Google wrote, “We’re excited to share that you can now get Google Maps turn-by-turn navigation right on your LTE watch, no phone required. If you have an LTE-enabled watch, or your watch is connected to the internet via Wi-Fi, you can now enjoy having Maps available on your wrist. This is especially helpful when you’re out for a run or ride and have left your phone behind but want to take a detour or need help finding your way home.”

This feature is available only on Wear OS version 3 or higher. You can find out which version of the operating system your watch is using by going to Settings > System > About > Versions. You’ll see two numbers. The OS version tells you what version of Wear OS is running on your timepiece (you want to see version 3 or higher). The System version tells you which version of the Wear OS app is on your phone.

If you want to use Google Maps on your OS Wear watch without your paired phone nearby, follow these directions:
  • Open Maps from your watch.
  • Use the voice or keyboard tool to input your destination. You can also tap the map to view your location.
  • Select your mode of transportation. From here, you can view your ETA.
  • Start your walk, bicycle, or car trip.

Google reiterates that, “You can start navigation on your watch without your phone nearby if your watch is LTE-enabled or connected to the internet via Wi-Fi.” Google also notes that watch-based navigation is also supported when the timepiece is paired with iOS devices with one exception. If you have enabled mirroring and start navigation on your phone and then leave your phone behind, your watch will take over navigation from your phone. This only works on watches paired with Android devices.

Use your voice to navigate to a destination using Google Maps on your Wear OS watch

To enable mirroring, which would allow you to start navigation on your phone, leave it behind, and continue to receive navigation for the same trip from your OS Wear watch, go to Settings > Mirroring. Toggle on “Mirror on the phone.”

Users can also use their voices to navigate to a location using their OS Wear-powered watch. Awaken the Google Assistant by saying “Hello, Google,” or by pressing and holding the power button. Say something along the lines of “Navigate to (the name of the destination).” Once navigation begins, you’ll be able to see on your watch the trip duration, the current time, and find the next three directions. Swiping to the left will cancel the trip, or you can swipe to the bottom of the display and tap on “Stop.”

This feature is available for the Google Pixel Watch which is running Wear OS 3.5. There are other Wear OS watches running version 3 which means that they do offer this feature.
If you need information on how to update your Watch OS device, tap on this link. It will take you to the Google support page which makes it easy to update your watch.



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