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3 min read 4 comments

How to use Google Maps on Android Wear smartwatches

It’s easy to get turn-by-turn directions on your Android Wear smartwatch. Plus, with Android Wear 2.0, you can do it without being connected to your smartphone if your smartwatch has GPS built-in. Here’s how to use Google Maps on your Android Wear smartwatch, by voice command and manually.

If you want to use navigation on your smartwatch, the first step you should take is downloading the Google Maps app from the Play Store onto your watch.

Maps - Navigation & Transit Install on Google Play

Like I said above, if your watch has GPS and Android Wear 2.0, you can navigate without being connected to your smartphone. You can even have the map always on with the ambient display. But, even if you’re on the older version of Android Wear, you can still navigate on your watch if your phone is locked, as long as its location is still enabled.

Get turn-by-turn directions by voice

You can tell your watch to give your directions to a particular place using your voice. Here’s how:

  • ​Wake up your watch and say “OK Google...”
  • Then say “...navigate to [your destination]...”
  • Then specify the mode of transportation “ [foot, bike or car].”
  • A Google Maps card will appear, and you may need to further clarify your destination.
  • Turn-by-turn navigation will then begin
AndroidPIT moto 360 2015 35
You can ask for navigational help by voice or by hand. / © ANDROIDPIT

Get turn-by-turn directions manually

If you don’t want to set a destination by voice, you can do it manually. Here’s how:

  • Open the Google Maps app on your smartwatch.
  • Tap a destination on the map.
  • Press the Navigate button at the bottom of the display.
  • Swipe left to see the address of the destination you chose, and swipe left again to change the mode of transportation between walking, riding a bicycle or driving, then swipe again to close that menu and go!

Other Google Maps tips for Android Wear

  • Once you’ve begun navigating, you can see a list of the directions by swiping up on the green card at the bottom.
  • To see the time and distance left until you reach your destination, swipe left once.
  • To take a break from full-screen navigation and mute the directions, swipe right. To go back to navigation, tap the blue arrow on the directions notification.
  • To cancel your navigation, swipe the card up, then left and tap Exit navigation.

It's easy to get directions on your Android Wear smartwatch, whether by voice or by hand. Are there any other step-by-step instructions you want us to create for your smartwatch? Do you have any further tips to share? Let us know in the comments!



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  • Yes I have the same issue with my Australia based Huawei 2 sport with its own sim card... Very surprising for the reasons above that is supposed to operate without the need for a phone. Are there other nav apps for wear?

  • DLM 4 months ago Link to comment

    So far, this does not seem to be the case. I have the ZTE Quartz, running AW 2.0, with GPS, its own SIM card, running on T-Mobile's 3G network, and, despite the device itself including, in settings, a Location option of "Device Only," in terms of specifying location, it still requires the use of my phone for Google Maps to provide navigation.

    It won't even find my location, unless my phone is connected, making the watch useless as a stand alone device, in terms of navigational use.

    This means dragging along my phone, which, nine times out of ten, winds up with me leaving my watch at home, since I have to use the phone anyway, and may as well use the phone's larger real estate for easier navigation.

    What's odd is that several reviews of the ZTE Quartz refer to use for stand alone navigation, and, running AW 2.0, it seemed the overhaul of AW was meant to achieve more independence for wearables, specifically to allow for independent device use in terms of Google Maps.

    I have read similar complaints regarding the Huawei 2, which buyers understood to allow for independent navigation, and it also seems to require a phone to be connected.

    Curious to know then, where your information is coming from, that this should be achievable? Is there a device with AW 2.0 that actually allows for the device to use Google Maps without a phone? I wish it was possible on my device. Would make owning a smartwatch a lot more practical.

    • Exactly, I just got my LG Sport Watch, slapped in my gsm sim card, and every time I tell it to navigate, it says it needs my phone... So I'm returning it until at least wear 3.0 comes out.

    • Kal-El 3 months ago Link to comment

      I JUST tried to do this on my ZTE Quatz on T-Mobile....I have the same results. Typically I would return something like this back to the store, but I'm on the fence as to whether I should keep the watch or not since it was "free" from TMobile so long as I commit to subscribing to the Wearable data plan (also discounted to $15/mo). My conflict here is this...what good is me having a Wearable data plan if I can't use Google Maps as a standalone app?? The cost of the watch now at TMobile is now reduced to $96 at a monthly rate of $4 on the EIP installment....much less money than having to dish out $15/mo just to get the watch free. So without that data plan, wouldn't the watch still work perfectly fine so long as it's tethered to the cell phone via Bluetooth? I have a few more days to reverse the data plan and simply play out of pocket ($96) for this otherwise great watch which can still make/receive calls without the unlimited data plan being necessary. Thoughts, please??

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