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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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                              You're reading How To Use Backtrack On Apple Watch

                              How To Use Low Power Mode On Apple Watch

                              While most of us are in the habit of charging the Apple Watch daily, what happens if you’re away from a charger for a longer period of time? That would’ve traditionally meant running out of battery, but with watchOS 9 and Apple’s new Low Power Mode, there’s now another option available.

                              Here’s all you need to know about using Low Power Mode on the Apple Watch, from supported models to the features it’ll disable and, of course, how to enable it.

                              Which models of Apple Watch support Low Power mode?

                              While Low Power Mode was announced as a feature of the Apple Watch Series 8 at Apple’s September 2023 event, the feature isn’t exclusive to Apple’s latest wearable. In fact, it’s available for quite a few models of Apple Watch running watchOS 9 including:

                              Apple Watch Ultra

                              Apple Watch Series 8

                              Apple Watch SE (second-gen)

                              Apple Watch Series 7

                              Apple Watch Series 6

                              Apple Watch SE (first-gen)

                              Apple Watch Series 5

                              Apple Watch Series 4

                              Older models of Apple Watch, including the Series 3, Series 2, Series 1 and the OG Apple Watch don’t get access to the latest Apple Watch update, meaning they miss out on the Low Power mode functionality.

                              If you’re tempted to upgrade to the latest generation, take a look at where to buy the Apple Watch Series 8 and our Apple Watch Series 8 review too.

                              What features does Low Power Mode disable?

                              Of course, the whole point of a low-power mode – be it on iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch – is to disable certain functionality to extend battery life. Apple strives to provide the most functionality in Low Power mode as possible, but it’s particularly noticeable when it comes to the Apple Watch, disabling some key features of Apple’s wearable.

                              Apple does explain what it’s doing to enable the long battery life when enabling Low Power mode on the Apple Watch, but in case you dismissed it or you’re just curious, enabling Low Power mode on Apple’s wearable does the following:

                              Disables always-on display, heart rate monitoring including notifications for irregular rhythm, blood oxygen monitoring and start workout reminders

                              App notifications are delivered hourly

                              Call notifications are disabled

                              Wi-Fi and Cellular are disabled

                              Making calls can take longer

                              Background app refresh happens less frequently

                              Watch complications refresh less frequently

                              Siri can take longer to process requests

                              Possible stutter in animations and when scrolling

                              It’s worth noting that measurements including heart rate and pace are still measured when using tracking an exercise via the Workout app with Low Power Mode active, so you don’t need to worry about losing out on valuable exercise data to extend battery life.

                              How to enable Low Power Mode on an Apple Watch

                              At a glance

                              Time to complete:

                              1 minute

                              Tools required: Supported Apple Watch running watchOS 9


                              Go to Control Centre

                              Lewis Painter / Foundry

                              Swipe up from the bottom of the screen on your Apple Watch to access the Control Centre


                              Battery icon

                              Lewis Painter / Foundry

                              Tap the battery percentage icon


                              Enable Low Power Mode

                              Lewis Painter / Foundry

                              Tap the switch next to Low Power mode


                              Choose for how long

                              Lewis Painter / Foundry

                              Scroll to the bottom of the explainer and tap ‘Turn on’

                              Tip: Low Power Mode automatically turns off when your Watch reaches 80% charge, but if you want to use it for longer, you can tap Turn on For… to enable Low Power mode for either 1, 2 or 3 days.

                              Now, Low Power Mode should now be active on your Apple Watch, represented by a yellow circle icon at the top of the screen. The battery percentage indicator, charging animation and nightstand text colour will also turn yellow to indicate its status.

                              How long will my Apple Watch last with Low Power Mode enabled?

                              Apple claims that you can effectively double the battery life of a standard Apple Watch on Low Power mode, extending from its standard 18 hours to up to 36 hours.

                              That’s impressive, but it’s most impressive on the Apple Watch Ultra, which extends the battery from its standard 36 hours to a whopping 60 hours.

                              Related content you might like

                              How To Use The Compass On Apple Watch Series 5

                              Often people require a compass to find the proper direction. Mostly, compasses are used by travelers, but anyone might require a compass at any point in time. Other smartwatch manufacturers have been offering compass feature for quite some time and Apple has finally joined the bandwagon with Apple Watch Series 5.

                              The Compass app on Apple Watch Series 5 doesn’t need WiFi or iPhone to work. Next time you are stuck while hiking, use your Apple Watch Compass app to find your way out. In this article, we are going to walk you through some of the best ways in which you can use the Compass app on Apple Watch Series 5. Furthermore, the article will also help if you are facing any issues while using the Compass app on your Apple Watch.

                              How to Use the Compass App on Apple Watch Series 5

                              Step #1. First and foremost, you need to open the

                              Compass app on your Apple Watch.

                              on your Apple Watch.

                              Once you open the app, you will find that the compass app will show you the direction that the top of your watch is pointing to, and on the other hand, your bearing will appear in the top-left corner.

                              Note: This app uses the magnetic north by default although you can change it to true north. So in order to change from magnetic north to true north, you need to open the “Settings” on your Apple Watch Series 5 and then tap on the “Compass” menu. Finally, turn on the “Use True North” option.

                              Step #2. After selecting an appropriate north according to your choice, you need to hold your watch flat to align the crosshairs at the center of the compass to get the most accurate result.

                              Image Credit: Apple

                              As you will move after making the above-mentioned settings, you will find that the red cone that surrounds the compass needle shows you the accuracy of the heading.

                              Note: Usually, you will find that a narrow cone gives better accuracy than a wider cone.

                              In this step, you need to rotate the Digital Crown up in order to see your elevation, incline, and co-ordinates.

                              After seeing your elevation, inclination, and co-ordinates, you need to set up your bearing properly. So in order to set the bearing, firstly, you need to press firmly on the watch face and eventually use the Digital Crown to make the required adjustments.

                              Finally, in this step, you have to allow the Compass app to access your location. When you will open the Compass app for the first time, it will ask permission from you to access your current location. So, in order to allow the app to grant your current location, you need to tap on the screen while using the app.

                              How to Allow Compass to Access your Location on Apple Watch Series 5

                              Note: Sometimes it may happen that the app will not be able to detect your location. So in such a case, you need to follow below steps.

                              Step #1. open the “Settings” of your Apple Watch

                              Step #2. Now, tap on “Privacy.”

                              Step #3. Here you need to tap on the “Location Services” option and finally select the “Compass” menu.

                              So, in order to use a compass on your Apple Watch Series 5 effortlessly, you need to execute the above-mentioned steps successfully.


                              As promised at the beginning of this article, we have mentioned the easiest method to use a Compass app on your Apple Watch. We have discussed each and every step in a detailed manner so that you can use the Compass effortlessly.

                              You might want to take a peek at these posts as well:

                              Author Profile


                              The founder of iGeeksBlog, Dhvanesh, is an Apple aficionado, who cannot stand even a slight innuendo about Apple products. He dons the cap of editor-in-chief to make sure that articles match the quality standard before they are published.

                              How To Use Your Apple Watch Stopwatch Like A Pro

                              The Apple Watch, as you might have guessed, is really good at timekeeping. Unsurprisingly, it comes bundled with a stopwatch function that works as both a full-fledged app and a watch face complication. In this post, which is a continuation of our Apple Watch tips series, we’ll show you how to get the most out of the stopwatch functionality on your Apple Watch.

                              First and foremost, it’s a good idea to get familiar with the Stopwatch app. You can launch it in a few ways:

                              Press the Digital Crown to see all your apps and tap the Stopwatch app icon

                              Launch it via a watch face complication

                              Use the Chronograph watch face with a built-in stopwatch

                              How to start and stop the stopwatch on Apple Watch

                              1) Open Apple’s built-in Stopwatch app.

                              2) Digital stopwatch should be the default one. Tap the green Start button to begin the stopwatch. You can safely exit the Stopwatch app, and the stopwatch will keep running.

                              3) To add a lap, tap the Lap button while the stopwatch is running. In the Analog stopwatch, tap the white circular button.

                              4) To stop the stopwatch, return to the Stopwatch app and tap the red Stop button. In the Analog stopwatch, tap the red circular button.

                              5) You can resume the stopwatch by tapping Start. And if you no longer want to keep this stopwatch running, tap the Reset button to bring the stopwatch back to zero.

                              Change your Apple Watch stopwatch format

                              You can change the format of the stopwatch, which alters its look and feel.

                              1) Open the Stopwatch app.

                              2) Tap the name of the current stopwatch style from the top left corner of the screen.

                              3) Pick another stopwatch format like Analog, Digital, Graph, or Hybrid.

                              Note: If you go ahead with the Analog style, you can quickly rotate the Digital Crown up on the Analog stopwatch screen to see a 3-dial view with laps.

                              Tip: Use the Chronograph watch face

                              The Chronograph watch face provides you with a full-fledged stopwatch at all times. If you’re someone who often uses a stopwatch, then it may be wise to adopt the Chronograph watch face as your watch face of choice. To learn more about watch faces and switching between different faces, be sure to check out our full watch face tutorial.

                              Add a stopwatch complication to your watch face

                              Several watch faces feature the ability to add a stopwatch complication right on the face. The nice thing about stopwatch complications is that when the stopwatch is live, you can see it running directly on the face.

                              For complication areas that are larger (like the one on the Mickey Mouse watch face), you’ll see the full stopwatch layout. If you choose a complication area that’s smaller, you’ll get a truncated form of the stopwatch readout. Finally, if you tap the stopwatch complication, it will take you directly to the Stopwatch app.

                              Here’s how to add a stopwatch complication to your watch face:

                              1) Press & hold the current watch face and tap Edit.

                              2) Swipe left to go to the COMPLICATIONS section.

                              3) Tap one of the complication spots.

                              4) Rotate your Digital Crown to find the Stopwatch complication and tap to add it.

                              5) Press the Digital Crown twice to exit the editing screen.

                              Your watch face will now have a stopwatch complication, and tapping it will take you to the Stopwatch app. And when a stopwatch is running, you should see it live in action here.

                              Note: Not all watch faces support complications.

                              As you can see, the stopwatch functionality on Apple Watch is much more robust than it first appears on the surface. If you’re someone who’s extra-serious about timing, then the stopwatch function on Apple Watch can be an instrumental tool.

                              What do you think?

                              Check out next:

                              Opinion: Window On Apple Watch Has Closed, Wait For Apple Watch 2

                              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.

                              FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

                              How To Back Up Your Apple Watch

                              In this post, we’ll explain how to back up your Apple Watch and restore it from a backup after erasing the device, unpairing it from the connected iPhone, or use the previous watch backup while setting up a new Apple Watch.

                              Restoring your Apple Watch from a backup, if you have any, can save you the hassle of setting up the device anew, especially after having it repaired or erased because you’ve forgotten the passcode or have entered the wrong one six times in a row.

                              1. Apple Watch backup happens automatically

                              Your Apple Watch data is backed up automatically to your iPhone. You will see no confirmation or no apparent button to initiate the backup. All you need to do anything is make sure both devices are kept nearby.

                              2. How to back up your Apple Watch manually

                              There’s no specific option to force a backup of your Apple Watch other than unpairing the device from the connected iPhone. Unpairing the devices through the Apple Watch companion app on your iPhone always performs a backup first without you having to do a thing.

                              You should make sure to keep the watch and your iPhone close together as you unpair them because the unpairing process is carried over via Bluetooth.

                              Launch the Watch app on your iPhone.

                              Tap All Watches from the top left corner of the screen.

                              Tap the info icon ⓘ next to the paired Apple Watch.

                              Tap Unpair Apple Watch and confirm. Before unpairing the watch, a backup of all the data on that watch will be created and synced to your iPhone.

                              From there, that backup will itself be backed up either to iCloud or to your computer (Finder on Mac or iTunes on Windows PC), depending on how you have configured your iPhone backup.

                              After it’s been successfully backed up, content and settings on your Apple Watch will be wiped clean, and the device will be set back to default factory settings. This post further details unpairing your Apple Watch from its connected iPhone.

                              3. Back up a family member’s Apple Watch

                              With watchOS 7 and later, you can pair the Apple Watch of a family member to your iPhone if they do not own an iPhone. Such Apple Watches are backed up directly to that person’s iCloud account when the watch is charging and connected to Wi-Fi.

                              What’s included in an Apple Watch backup?

                              A backup file contains the following items:

                              App-specific data for stock apps and settings for stock and third-party apps

                              Your Home screen layout

                              Watch face settings and customizations

                              Dock settings

                              General system settings

                              Health and Fitness data, including history, unlocked achievements, calibration data

                              Music playlists

                              Synced photo album

                              Notification settings

                              Siri Voice Feedback settings

                              Time zone

                              What’s not included in Apple Watch backup?

                              Your Bluetooth pairings

                              Cards used for Apple Pay on Apple Watch

                              Apple Watch passcode


                              Note: If iCloud Messages is on, then your iMessage and SMS are already stored in iCloud.

                              How to restore Apple Watch from backup

                              Restoring your Apple Watch will bring back your stored data and settings. When you’re ready, you can pair your fully erased or brand-new Apple Watch and then set it up from a stored backup.

                              When you’re following the steps to set up your new or erased Apple Watch, you’ll be offered the option to restore a previous backup (if you have one). Simply tap Restore from Backup and pick the most recent backup file.

                              Voilà, Apple Watch is now ready, and you can pick up right where you left off just before the last backup.

                              Check out next: 30+ things to do and know after buying an Apple Watch

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