Back at the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 in August 2022, Google and Samsung made the quietest of announcements about Google Maps and navigation. They said at the time that users of Wear OS would “soon” be able to experience Google Maps without a smartphone connection. Today, that feature has arrived.
In a short post to the Wear OS support community, Google announced that you can now “leave your phone behind and get to more places with Wear OS on Google Maps.”
What that means is that LTE-equipped (or when connected to WiFi) Wear OS watches can access turn-by-turn navigation in the Google Maps app without a phone nearby. It’s like a stand-alone Google Maps navigation experience from your wrist, no phone required.
As you can imagine, this could be handy if you were to lose your phone or leave it behind on purpose to head out on a run or ride or walk and you may still need to figure out where you are going.
To fire this up on your Wear OS watch without a phone nearby, Google offers these instructions:
- 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.
Simple enough. For more on using stand-alone Google Maps like this, here’s an entire guide.