Product reviews, deals and the latest tech news

For Wear OS smartwatches, Google Maps recently received a major update

The latest update to Google Maps for Wear OS smartwatches is the ability to use it independently of a smartphone, assuming that the watch is an LTE model that can connect to a cellular network.

Top-tier Wear OS smartwatches, such as the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 LTE and the Google Pixel Watch LTE, allow users to access Google Maps navigation information independently of a smartphone. That eliminates the need to bring your phone with you the next time you want to go for a walk, jog, or bike ride so that you may use it as a navigational aid.

The Google Maps update is available for non-LTE Wear OS smartwatches as well, so long as they are linked to Wi-Fi. However, you probably won’t have a consistent enough connection to make use of the function unless you’re in a large city.

To utilise the new Google Maps function you’ll want to launch the programme on your Wear OS wristwatch, input a destination using your voice or the keyboard, decide how you want to go there (either on foot, by bike on in a car), and then tap start and get off on your trip.

While public transportation route information is still unavailable on the Wear OS version of Google Maps, it does offer a nifty extra feature. While this is undoubtedly a limited use case, if you have enabled mirroring and begun navigating on your smartphone only to leave it behind, your watch will be able to take over and give you instructions so you can continue the route.

If you’ve been weighing up the benefits and disadvantages of choosing for an LTE wristwatch over a (usually cheaper) non-LTE model, this latest Google Maps update provides you another incentive to choose for the former over the latter. This Maps upgrade is great if you can never find a good spot to store your Android phone when you’re out for a run or a bike ride (and give LTE models an edge).

If you remember to acquire a data plan for your watch, you may also enjoy additional LTE perks, such as receiving calls and texts without your phone and listening to music from some of the greatest music streaming services.