As previously teased, Google Maps for Wear OS now supports turn-by-turn navigation without needing a paired phone for LTE watch owners.
Update 1/11: Following last week’s announcement, Google Maps for Wear OS is rolling out independent navigation. Open Maps and navigate to Settings at the very bottom. “Launch Mode” is a new menu between “Auto-launch” and “Terms of Service.”
- Navigation will be launched on: Automatic or Watch only
This preference appears on both Bluetooth/Wi-Fi and LTE-only devices. It’s a server-side rollout and does not require an app update.
Original 1/5: Stand-alone navigation is specifically available “if you have an LTE-enabled watch, or your watch is connected to the internet via WiFi.” Google imagines this as being “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 is a good feature for those that bought LTE watches, like Pixel Watch or Galaxy Watch 5, and are subscribed to accompanying cellular plans.
Google Maps for Wear OS currently supports cycling, driving, and walking navigation. A nifty feature is how “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.” Otherwise:
- 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.
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- Wear OS 3 launch has led to 3x boost in active Google-powered watches
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