Get Driving Directions Apple Watch
Kevin Parrish

Gone are the days of using paper maps to navigate unknown roads and cities. Now, we have smart devices placing navigational tools on wrists and in our pockets. This guide shows how to get driving directions on your Apple Watch.

If you’re a fan of Google Maps, you won’t find it on Apple’s smartwatch. Google dropped support in 2017, though you can still use Google Maps in CarPlay, iOS, and iPadOS.

Apple Maps is a great alternative that works across all Apple-made devices. On the Apple Watch, it’s represented as a white arrow pointing up captured within a blue circle. This circle resides over an intersection on a map in the app icon’s background.

Apple Watch showing the Maps icon

Apple splits the main Maps screen into five components: Search, Location, Favorites, Collections, and Recents.

Most of the information you’ll see derives from the Maps app on your iPhone. For instance, if you typically connect your iPhone to CarPlay for driving directions, all recent visits appear in Maps on your iPhone and carry over to Apple Watch. On the flip side, if you use Apple Watch to find directions, these destinations also appear in Maps on your iPhone.

Favorites and Collections are created on the iPhone. A “Collection” is a group of destinations shared through email, texts, social media, and so on. “Favorites” provide quick access to your personal destinations, which can be handy if you travel to the same hotel or amusement park while on vacation.

What’s great about Apple’s navigation system is that the Watch portion includes haptic feedback. When directions change or you need to make a turn, you’ll hear “dings” from the device. You’ll also feel a slight tapping on your forearm.

How to Use Search in Maps on Apple Watch

First, press the Digital Crown to launch the Apple Watch’s homescreen.

Apple Watch Digital Crown
Kevin Parrish

Next, locate and tap the Maps app icon from the app grid. With the app open, tap the “Search” box illustrated with a magnifying glass.

Using the Search function in the Maps app on Apple Watch

Here, you can dictate an address, scribble, or pull a destination from your contacts.

Choosing Dictation, Scribble, Contacts in Search

Maps also scans for destinations based on your location and lists them under “Nearby.” Categories include Restaurants, Fast Food, Gas Stations, and more.

Maps app shows you Restaurants Groceries and more in Search nearby

For this example, we tapped Smithfield’s Chicken ‘N Bar-B-Q listed in the Restaurant section. Turn the Digital Crown and the watch scrolls through options for walking, driving, and public transportation. Since we want driving instructions, tap the car bubble listed under “Directions.”

Maps shows you various ways to navigate to your destination

Finally, tap the car icon on the following screen to start navigation. You might see a single “Suggested” route or multiple “Suggested” and “Alternatives” routes, depending on the destination. Use the Digital Crown to scroll through multiple routes.

Navigation immediately begins when you tap the desired route.

The Maps app on Apple Watch shows a Suggested Route

How to Use Favorites in Maps on Apple Watch

Launch the Maps app on your Apple Watch by pressing the Digital Crown and then tapping on its icon.

Next, tap on a destination from the “Favorites” section that you assigned from within the Maps app on your iPhone. From there, select the car icon on the following screen. Again, you might see a single “Suggested” route or multiple “Suggested” and “Alternatives” routes, depending on the destination. Use the Digital Crown to scroll through multiple routes.

Navigation immediately begins when you tap the desired route.

Using Favorites in the Maps app to find suggested routes

How to Use Recents in Maps on Apple Watch

As before, press the Digital Crown from your Apple Watch’s home screen and then select the Maps icon to launch the app.

From there, scroll down to the “Recents” section and select a destination. Next, tap the car icon on the following screen. You might see a single “Suggested” route or multiple “Suggested” and “Alternatives” routes, depending on the destination. Use the Digital Crown to scroll through multiple routes.

Navigation immediately begins when you tap the desired route.

Using Recents in the Maps app to find suggested routes

How to Use Siri to Get Directions on Apple Watch

Press and hold the Digital Crown until you see this message on the screen:

Siri asks, What can I help you with?

Alternatively, you can also press the Digital Crown just once to wake the Watch and then say, “Hey, Siri.”

Next, say “Navigate to [your destination].” Siri then searches for the location and acquires driving directions.

As with the other methods, tap the car icon on the following screen. Again, you might see a single “Suggested” route or multiple “Suggested” and “Alternatives” routes, depending on the destination. Use the Digital Crown to scroll through multiple routes.

Navigation immediately begins when you tap the desired route.

Kevin Parrish Kevin Parrish
Kevin is a first-generation gamer and a former mall rat that grew up in the arcades. He began writing online in the mid-1990s after his uncle dropped a box of computer parts at his feet, saying "have fun." Developer id Software released Quake shortly thereafter, which began supporting a new thing called a GPU. That kicked off Kevin's (costly) obsession for better graphics and better performance in his PCs and games. After writing about games for over a decade, he switched over to mainly hardware and devices in 2008. Published articles previously appeared on Tom's Hardware, Tom's Guide, and Maximum PC. Recent articles spanning news, reviews, how-to guides, and op-ed pieces are currently available on Digital Trends and Android Authority.
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