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Maps on Apple Watch is probably one of those apps you only open when you really need it. Maybe you need directions or want to look up a recent spot. But you can explore Maps on Apple Watch just like you would on your iPhone or Mac.
Of course you can do things like see your spot on a map if you’re traveling and in an unfamiliar location. But you can also get the hours or phone number for a nearby business or check out one of the curated city guides introduced with iOS 14.
Make the most of the Maps app on your Apple Watch with these helpful tips.Maps on Apple Watch
1. Quickly find a nearby business
One of the best features of any map app is seeing popular or common businesses near your current location. You don’t have to spend time searching for a coffee shop or gas station. These types of places are only a tap away with Maps on Apple Watch.
Open Maps on your Watch and tap Search. Right below your search options you’ll see a section for Nearby that offers locations like restaurants, pharmacies, hotels, and more.
Tap the type of spot you want, select one from the results, and then get details or directions.
2. See location details
It’s not always about how to get somewhere, but when you can go, how long it will take, and if it’s worth the trip.
Tap any location to get details that include hours, directions and travel time with various transportation types, the phone number, address, and of course, its spot on the map. Also powered by Yelp and TripAdvisor, you can see the star rating for the location and tap to see reviews. (Note: You may have to open your iPhone to read the Yelp reviews.)
3. Search your favorite way
If you don’t see the type of nearby location you need or have an exact address, you can perform a search. And you can use the Maps search feature in a few ways, so use the one that’s most convenient for you.
Tap Search and then pick the Microphone icon to dictate or the Scribble icon to jot it down with your finger. But don’t forget about your handy virtual assistant! Yes, you can use Siri on Apple Watch to search for a location. Access Siri on your wrist as you normally would and make your request.
4. View your surroundings
If you’re traveling and want to view your current area, this is also easy in Maps on your Watch. Tap Location, to the right of Search. Your current spot will pop up on the map and from there, you can do the following.
Use the Digital Crown to zoom out and back in.
Double-tap to zoom in.
Drag with your finger to move about the map.
Tap and hold to add a pin.
Tap a pin to view the location details.
Tap the three dots in the bottom right corner to search within your area or get a transit map.
5. Browse city guides
With iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, Apple brought a nice feature to maps for curated city guides. These guides help you find great places to visit in major cities around the world. Any guides that you find and save on your iPhone or iPad are also available on your Apple Watch.
Open Maps on your Watch and scroll down below Favorites to see your Guides. This section includes both guides you’ve saved from before and after upgrading to iOS 14. So if you saved other places, those will be in the list with the city guides too.
The Maps app has a connection to your Contacts app. So if you want to see a friend’s address, or even give them a call, you can also do this in Maps.
In Maps on your Watch, tap Search. Then tap the Contacts icon and select someone. You can call them, message them, or send an email. And if you scroll below those options, you’ll see their address. Note: You’ll need their address stored in your Contacts app.
If you want to see a contact’s current location, you’ll use the Find My app. Check out our tutorial for using Find My on Apple Watch for your friends and family.
Take control of Maps on Apple Watch
Whether you want to do more with Apple Maps on your Watch, or even less, here are some helpful articles to help you control how Maps works on Apple Watch.Wrapping it up
Obviously, you can see your Favorites in Maps on Apple Watch and get directions quickly. But Maps offers up a lot more on the Watch than you might expect. So the next time you’re in a hurry for a quick bite to eat or simply want to browse your city guides, don’t forget about Maps on Apple Watch!
What are your favorite features of Apple Maps on your Watch? Are there any features you think are missing and hope to see in the future? Share your thoughts below or hit us up on Twitter or Facebook!
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Apple sent out an email blast this week marketing the Apple Watch as a Mother’s Day gift recommendation:
the perfect Mother’s Day gift to help her stay connected and active throughout the day.
The email was fine as far as marketing messages go. It featured the message above plus a nice photograph of a woman wearing an Apple Watch Sport with a band color-matched to her jacket. “Celebrate her with a gift she’ll love” and “Finally, something that can keep up with her” cleverly nudged you into making Apple Watch the fashionable fitness tracker gift for the May 8th holiday.
But it also reminded me of a recent experience I had in an Apple Store and a realization about Apple Watch right now. Agree or disagree, I believe the window on buying the first-gen Apple Watch has closed, and in almost every situation potential customers should wait for Apple Watch 2.
I’ll start with my recent shopping experience at an Apple Store. I had a Genius Bar appointment to replace a defective iPad display during an out-of-town visit with my mom. I moved to the iPhone SE and gave my mom my iPhone 6s Plus, and we’d been chatting about fitness and exercising over the weekend.
Her birthday is in May, just a few days after Mother’s Day, so I thought about maybe buying an Apple Watch Sport on the spot as an early gift. Then I considered the downsides to mine — speed and functionality — and I thought about how long Apple Watch has been out and how a refresh is due this fall. Even at $300, down from $350 before March, I couldn’t bring myself to hit go on the purchase even with the birthday/holiday excuse.
The fact is the Apple Watch was introduced 18 months ago, has been on sale for 12, and probably has another 5 months left before being upgraded. We’re at the tail end of its run before being refreshed by an overdue upgrade.
New color options, band varieties, and a price drop make it more compelling right now, but there’s a reward for those who wait. The hardware you buy today, even in rose gold Sport with a Nylon Woven band, is the same hardware introduced a year ago.
Just wait. The next Apple Watch will likely debut this fall alongside new iPhones, which typically launch in September. Whether or not Apple Watch 2 looks different, features a FaceTime camera or cellular connection, or has features we haven’t imagined yet, it will surely be faster and just better at doing what the current Apple Watch already does.
It’s not that there’s anything totally wrong with the Apple Watch. It’s easily criticized, but I generally really like mine. I wear it everyday and would honestly miss not having it, plus it’s way more motivational as a fitness tracker than dedicated bands I’ve tried in the past. It’s just that I expect Apple Watch 2 will be that much better at everything Apple Watch already does. Apple Watch has been on the market for 12 months now and the weak spots are hard to miss. Take it from me: wait 5 or 6 months and see what Apple Watch 2 has to offer.
Speed improvements, reduced glare and increased brightness, better microphones and louder speakers. Any of these changes would make waiting a few more months worth it if you plan on buying an Apple Watch and not replacing it soon after.
Consider past upgrades of first generation Apple hardware too. iPhone to iPhone 3G gained much faster cellular connectivity. iPad to iPad 2 added speed, cameras, reduced weight, thinness, and a new color option. If Apple Watch to Apple Watch 2 is anything like those changes, at this point it’s worth the wait.
There are a few exceptions to my recommendation. If you’re buying a used Apple Watch or find a deal (say, on 9to5Toys) that’s seriously below the $300, then buy now if you’re in the market and strongly consider upgrading in the fall. I’d say $150 is the most you should spend at this point (that’s about the price of a fitness tracker anyway). If you haven’t bought an Apple Watch yet and really want to collect the first generation product, then buy new now or wait until Apple Watch 2 and buy used for less in the fall. Or if you just really want an Apple Watch now and couldn’t care less about what Apple Watch 2 offers, go ahead … if you must.
Finally, a note on bands. We don’t know for sure that Apple Watch bands now will fit Apple Watch 2 when it debuts, but I’d bet money on it. Apple Watch can get a whole lot thinner before it needs to change the band connector unless it goes narrow instead. I believe that Apple continuing to introduce new bands throughout the year suggests we’ll see band compatibility for several generations.
Do consider color, however, as not all bands technically match. I have a stainless steel Apple Watch with Classic Buckle band (although I primarily use black Sport), but plan to buy a space gray Apple Watch Sport next time around which wouldn’t match.
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Do you need to retrace your steps in an unfamiliar place with little to no Wi-Fi or cellular signal? Using the Apple Watch Backtrack feature, you can track and trace your steps to get back to your starting point in the Compass app. This feature works even if your Apple Watch isn’t connected to the Internet, which makes it extremely convenient during emergency situations in remote locations. This tutorial examines which Apple Watch models and watchOS versions have this feature and how it’s used.Apple Watch Backtrack Supported Models and WatchOS Versions
The Compass app is available starting from the Apple Watch Series 5, but the Backtrack feature is only available on the Apple Watch models released after Apple Watch Series 5. These include:
Apple Watch SE (1st generation)
Apple Watch Series 6
Apple Watch Series 7
Apple Watch SE (2nd generation)
Apple Watch Series 8
Apple Watch Ultra
On top of model compatibility, your watch also needs to be updated to watchOS 9 or above to use Backtrack.
Note: the Backtrack feature isn’t available on Family Setup Apple Watch devices, so if yours was set up using a family member’s iPhone instead of your own through Family Sharing, you can’t use the feature in the Compass app.Things To Do Before Using Backtrack
The Compass app requires permission to access your precise location and significant locations to provide you with accurate location and route data. Follow the steps below to allow location services for the Compass app:
Launch the Settings app on the iPhone that is paired with your Apple Watch.
Scroll down and tap “Privacy & Security.”
In the Privacy & Security screen, tap “Location Services.”
Find and tap “Compass.”
Under “Allow Location Access,” check “While Using the App” to give the Compass app permission to show your location and calculate true north. Enable “Precise Location” to let the Compass app use your location.
Go back to the Location Services screen.
Scroll all the way to the bottom of the list and tap “System Services.”
Tap “Significant Locations,” located at the bottom of the list on the System Services screen.
Enable “Significant Locations.” This allows your iPhone to learn places significant to you to provide location-related information in Maps, Calendar, Photos, and other apps.
Good to know: Backtrack does not require Apple Watch to be paired with your iPhone, allowing you to retrace your steps off the grid with only your Apple Watch.How to Retrace Your Steps with Backtrack on Apple Watch
After allowing your Apple Watch and iPhone to access your location, you can use the Backtrack feature to retrace your steps. Follow this step-by-step guide to use it:
On your Apple Watch, launch the Compass app.
Tap the Backtrack button at the bottom right of the screen.
When the Backtrack button turns into a Pause button, the Compass app has started tracking your step route. You can use other apps while Backtrack is tracking your steps and can also put your wrist down.
Once you reach the end of your step route, tap the pause button, then tap “Retrace Steps.”
The tracked route will show up on the compass. Rotate the digital crown up and down to control the compass zoom.
To go back to where you started, follow the white line that appears on the compass, which is the route you’ve taken.
After reaching your starting point, tap the Backtrack button.
Tap “Delete Steps” to give room for another route. The Compass app can’t save previous routes.
Safety tip: If you forgot to turn Backtrack on at the start of a route, the feature may be able to retrace your steps using your historical location data. To use this feature, launch the Compass app on your Apple Watch, then tap the Backtrack button. This feature only works when your current location is away from significant locations, such as your home or workplace, or there’s no Wi-Fi signal.
Other tracking: aside from your routes, your Apple Watch can also track your sleep.Other Apple Watch Compass App Features
If you enjoy the great outdoors, there are many benefits with the Apple Watch’s Compass app?1. Find your direction, elevation, incline, and coordinates.
When you launch the Compass app, you’ll see the direction you’re facing. To view your elevation, incline, and coordinates, rotate the digital crown up. You can also tap on the menu button at the top left of the screen to view this information better.
Note: coordinates aren’t supported in the Compass app in Mainland China.2. Add waypoints.
In the Compass app for Apple Watch, you can set waypoints for locations you want to go back to. They’ll show up on the compass and as map locations in the Compass app. You can use these waypoints to find your way back to important locations and measure the distance between each waypoint and to your current location.
To add waypoints, launch the Compass app on your Apple Watch, then tap the waypoint button at the bottom right of the screen.
Note: like Backtrack, adding waypoints in the Compass app isn’t available for Family Setup Apple Watch devices.Frequently Asked Questions Is it possible to save step routes in the Compass app?
It’s not possible to save step routes for future use with Backtrack. The only route you can retrace is the one you just took. If you want to save your step routes, use third-party apps that allow you to record, save, and view routes.Is there an iOS app that has the same function as Backtrack?
If you’re looking for a similar feature you can use with your iPhone or older Apple Watch models, the Footpath Route Planner and Relive apps record your walking, running, cycling, and other activities. Using the apps’ recorded routes, you can retrace your path if you get lost or want to take the same route in the future.
Image credit: Unsplash. All screenshots by Natalie dela Vega.
Natalie dela Vega
Natalie is a writer specializing in tech how-tos and gaming. When she’s not writing, she plays PC games and travels. Here at MakeTechEasier, you will see her write about guides, tips, and solutions for Windows and iOS.
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Since the release of the first Apple Watch in 2023, Apple has expanded the device’s health capabilities with features like the ECG app and fall detection. In a new interview with the Independent this weekend, Apple’s Jeff Williams, Sumbul Desai, and Kevin Lynch have offered more details on how health became one of the central focuses of Apple Watch.
Williams, who serves as Apple’s chief operating officer, said that Apple’s expansion into health has been “very organic.” He explained that Apple didn’t necessarily have a “major health initiative” planned, but that it was an area in which the company quickly realized it could expand:
Williams also explained that the first time Apple received a letter from a custom about the Apple Watch’s health features, people were somewhat surprised:
The first letter that we got about it saving somebody’s life with just the heart rate monitor, we were surprised, because anybody can go watch the clock and get their heart rate. But then we started getting more and more and we realized we had a huge chance and maybe even an obligation to do more. That led us down the path to do everything including medically regulated apps.
Meanwhile, Williams and Desai, Apple’s vice president of health, both emphasized that health is only one aspect of the Apple Watch’s features. This helps it appeal to a wider set of customers, they said:
Williams: Health is such an important dimension. But it’s just one dimension of the Watch. It does so much more, from telling the time to sending messages or making calls and so on. If you tried to sell a heart rate monitor to alert you to problems, you know, 12 people would buy it. So, the people who are wearing it, we get the chance to in some ways ambush them with information about their health, which is what’s allowed us to have such a big impact.
Desai: That’s really important. Because I think part of the challenge with health is people don’t want to think about their health all the time but here it’s just woven into the overall experience.
What about the future of the Apple Watch in terms of health tracking hardware? Kevin Lynch, Apple’s vice president of technology, said that while there’s already so much the Apple Watch is capable of, we’re only really at the beginning:
There’s already a tremendous amount we can learn from the current hardware. Heart studies are a good example. With the existing monitor in the Watch, we were able to get AFib readings from that. There’s already so much that we can work on. It’s really a matter of choosing our focus areas and asking really great questions that then lead to insightful answers. That’s the journey we’re on.
The latest studies around hearing health, for example, women’s health, more heart studies, we think we can learn a ton from those areas with all the existing technology that we have, using them in this focused way. That may lead to inventing some other new things, but even with the current stuff, we’re at the beginning right now. There’s so much to learn. There are so many areas that we could focus on. And so that’s strategically the most important thing for us: asking where can we make a meaningful contribution?
The full piece is absolutely worth a read and can be found on the Independent.
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Apple itself sells refurbished Watches, but you’ll generally find lower prices from other websites that specialise in refurbished wearables and phones.
If you’re searching for a Watch 7 deal because buying the latest model outright is too expensive, then you might consider getting one on contract.
Apple sells both cellular and non-cellular versions of its smartwatch, and although the cellular is more expensive, they become affordable when you can pay monthly for them over, typically, 24- or 36-months.Where to buy an Apple Watch Series 7
As the Watch 7 was discontinued in 2023 when Apple launched the Series 8, you could have a tough time tracking down a brand new one.
However, here are some of the best places to look for one.US retailers UK retailers Best Apple Watch 7 Prices right now
Below you should see live prices from any retailers selling the Apple Watch Series 7 in its various guises. If you see nothing for a particular model, then our system can’t find any on sale.Apple Watch Series 7 (41mm, GPS)
Apple Watch Series 7 (41mm, GPS + Cellular)
View DealApple Watch Series 7 (45mm, GPS)
Apple Watch Series 7 (45mm, GPS + Cellular)Where to buy the Apple Watch Series 7 on contract
Chances, you’ll discover that the mobile operators and carriers below no longer offer the Series 7 and you might be directed to the current model. Note that you’ll need a compatible iPhone in order to use a cellular Apple Watch: despite the fact they can work without an iPhone, you’ll still need one to set it up in the first place.
You can also pay for the cellular model in instalments via the following US carriers:How much did the Apple Watch Series 7 cost when it launched?
Here’s what you’d have paid when the Watch 7 was, so you can easily check whether a deal is any good or not:Aluminium
Apple Watch Series 7 (41mm, Aluminium, GPS) – £369 / $399
Apple Watch Series 7 (45mm, Aluminium, GPS) – £399 / $429
Apple Watch Series 7 (41mm, Aluminium, GPS + Cellular) – £469 / $499
Apple Watch Series 7 (45mm, Aluminium, GPS + Cellular) – £499 / $529Nike+ Edition
Apple Watch Series 7 (41mm, Nike, GPS) – £369 / $399
Apple Watch Series 7 (45mm, Nike, GPS) – £399 / $429
Apple Watch Series 7 (41mm, Nike, GPS + Cellular) – £469 / $499
Apple Watch Series 7 (45mm, Nike, GPS + Cellular) – £499 / $529Stainless Steel
Apple Watch Series 7 (41mm, Stainless Steel with Sport band, GPS + Cellular) – £599 / $699
Apple Watch Series 7 (45mm, Stainless Steel with Sport band, GPS + Cellular) – £649 / $749
Apple Watch Series 7 (41mm, Stainless Steel with Milanese Loop, GPS + Cellular) – £649 / $749
Apple Watch Series 7 (45mm, Stainless Steel with Milanese Loop, GPS + Cellular) – £699 / $799Titanium
Apple Watch Series 7 (41mm, Titanium, GPS + Cellular) – £699 / $799
Apple Watch Series 7 (45mm Titanium, GPS + Cellular) – £749 / $849What were the Apple Watch 7’s new features?
The Series 7 has a slightly updated design compared to the Series 6 with more prominent rounding across its broader, thinner case sizes, which have changed from 40mm and 44mm to 41mm and 45mm, respectively.
This wider design facilitates a display that’s nearly 20 percent larger, with a 1.7mm bezel that’s 40 percent thinner than the Series 6’s. The cover crystal is 50 percent thicker (and thus more crack-resistant) and the Watch 7 also has an IP6X rating for resisting dust ingress.
While the company didn’t explicitly specify during the watch’s unveiling, the Series 7 runs on similar hardware to its predecessor and has a similar array of sensors, too. They include blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) monitoring – one of the biggest additions to the Series 6.
The Series 7 ran watchOS 8 out of the box, which added extra activity types – such as pilates – and has a few new features, such as fall detection when cycling. But you can now update it to watchOS 9.
We discussed the Apple Watch Series 7’s launch and everything else Apple announced during its September event in episode 83 of Fast Charge:
Just when you thought the dust has settled over Apple’s digital personal assistant, Siri, and the company’s Google Maps replacement software in iOS, latest reports once again pan the two services over gross inaccuracies.
Worse, these stories paint Apple Maps and Siri in a not-so-favorable light – and very publicly, too.
The first report comes from Alaska and warns about people looking for directions to the Fairbanks International Airport, only to be instructed to drive onto an airport taxiway, which is located directly across the runway where airplanes take off and land….
According to AlaskaDispatch:
Twice in the past three weeks drivers from outside Fairbanks who relied on the iPhones built-in map app to get to the airport have driven onto Taxiway Bravo and proceeded to drive across the main runway. No one has been injured and Apple promises a fix by Wednesday.
The airport’s chief of operations, Melissa Osborn, warned Apple Maps instructed people to drive straight onto the airport taxiway. “These folks drove past several signs,” she said. “They even drove past a gate. None of that cued them that they did something inappropriate”.
Just out of curiosity, how come these folks did not notice they were being directed to the taxiway? I mean, it’s obviously not something one’d easily fail to grasp.
After airport personnel, police and the TSA converged on the driver of a rental car during the Sept. 6 daylight runway crossing, the airport staff complained through the attorney general’s office to Apple.
The airport has since closed the aircraft access route to Taxiway Bravo from the Float Pond Road. Even though Apple did promise a prompt fix by Wednesday, it was nowhere to be seen at press time, as per reports form the Apple legal department to the attorney general’s office and Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.
I’m not sure why exactly it’s taking Apple that long to respond.
At the very least, Apple should have temporarily disabled those specific directions until the Maps team is able to correct such a downright dangerous error. If anything, Apple’s numerous job posts for Ground Truth specialists indicates the company’s willingness to put more experts on the Maps team to deal with these inaccuracies.
Keep in mind that Apple partners with dozes of local data providers so correcting a specific error involves paperwork and is not a simple matter of flipping a few switches.
Meanwhile, Siri continues to experience issues of its own.
Conan O’Brien had actress Jane Lynch on his show yesterday night, who didn’t mince words describing her first world problem with Siri. Specifically, she said Siri told her “I have no listing for Let Pam Cookie Ian” when asked for directions to Le Pain Quotidien.
Lynch and O’Brien then did some live Siri tests that didn’t go down well.
We’ve all been there and it’s no secret Siri isn’t perfect.
But when your personal digital assistant gets ridiculed on mainstream late-night shows whose audiences count tens of millions of people, bad press is unavoidable.
In Siri’s defense, O’Brien didn’t do her justice by allowing Lynch to converse with Siri using his own phone. As you know, Siri adapts herself to the user’s unique voice signature and pronunciation, getting better over time.
Siri understands its owner best so voices new to her tend to yield poorer results. Regardless, Apple should be credit for improving Siri in iOS 7 in a number of ways.
For instance, she can now search the web, images and Wikipedia inline, has higher-quality male and female voices, can change your phone and app’s settings and responds faster, thanks to backend improvements.
Also helping Siri is Apple’s use of Multipath TCP networking in iOS 7 which helps the digital assistant automatically switch between Wi-Fi or cellular connection on the fly, depending on network conditions.
By the way, here’s Team CoCo’s take on the iPhone 5s and its fingerprint scanner.
Funny or not?
I’m torn because I love the new iPhone5S’s fingerprint scanner, but I also want to get away with some murders.
— Conan O’Brien (@ConanOBrien) September 15, 2013
Signing off, it’s worth mentioning we heard rumors of Apple potentially supplanting Siri’s Nuance speech recognition with an in-house technology of its own. And to help fine-tune the regional differences in language, Apple has filed for a patent on integrating geolocation with Siri’s speech recognition.
Just out of curiosity, do you use Siri much these days?
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