Months after promising the feature was coming, Google finally rolled out phoneless navigation to Google Maps on Wear OS.
Google confirmed the feature in an update posted on the Wear OS help forum, writing:
“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 WiFi, 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.”
Of course, it’s worth keeping in mind you’d need to have an LTE connection set up for your smartwatch, which in Canada likely means paying an extra $10/mo or so. And you’ll also need an LTE-capable Wear OS watch, such as Google’s own Pixel Watch or the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5.
Google and Samsung said the Google Maps update was coming back in August, with Samsung specifically saying it was “coming soon,” (via 9to5Google). Apparently, “soon” means about five months.
If you have a cellular Wear OS watch with Google Maps support, you can access on-wrist turn-by-turn navigation by opening the Maps app and entering the destination you want to go to. If you don’t have your smartphone nearby, the watch should automatically handle navigation by itself. If you start navigation with your phone nearby but move away from it, the watch will take over and continue navigation (although Google notes this only works if your watch is paired to an Android phone).
You can learn more about Google Maps navigation on Wear OS here.
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