Google Maps is back on Apple Watch — how to get it now

Google Maps Apple Watch
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Google Maps is at long last available once again on Apple Watch, after close to three years of no support.

The return to watchOS was announced on August 10 in a Google blog post, along with new interaction with CarPlay. However, as 9to5Google observed, the rollout of Google Maps for Apple Watch has only begun alongside the release of Google Maps iOS app's version 5.52

You need to have the main app updated before you can use the watchOS version of Google Maps. You also need an Apple Watch running watchOS 5 or later, meaning that original Apple Watch users are left out in the cold.

(Image credit: Google)

To better suit the smaller, more immediately accessible display, you don't actually see a map on the app. Instead you get a choice of navigating to your favorited destinations via car, bike, public transport or walking. Once you've picked a place from the list or typed in a new one onto your phone, and selected your mode of transport, you'll then get a list of step-by-step instructions complete with haptic alerts to make sure you don't miss a turn.

If you want quick access to the maps, you can also add a shortcut to the app as a complication to the Apple Watch's home screen.

This isn't an app that can be used by itself though. You'll need to use your phone to input an unsaved destination or to check the actual map. This means it isn't as smooth to use as the Apple Maps app. But if you're one of the surprisingly large group of people who like to use Apple's hardware but Google's apps, Google Maps is worth giving another shot on Apple Watch.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.