As 2018 came to a close, Apple launched a function to the Apple Watch that is tremendously useful but has received little notice.
This new communications tool is an always-on Walkie-Talkie app that allows you to immediately begin a voice conversation with any contact who also has an Apple Watch; it is accessible for all Apple Watches even the Series.
This app is like having a walkie-talkie built into your phone from the early 2000s; you can talk to someone across the room, or across the nation, and never have to worry about your call being answered.
Of course, there are times when having a loved one’s voice emanate from your wrist wouldn’t be ideal.
But fear not, Apple has considered that as well. Let’s look at the Apple Watch’s built-in Walkie-Talkie app and how to set it up and use it to keep in touch with the people that matter most to you.
How to Use Your Apple Watch’s Built-In Walkie Talkie?
1. Materials needed: You and at least one contact with an iPhone running iOS 12.4 or later with FaceTime enabled and an Apple Watch running WatchOS 5.3 or later
2. Estimated time: 1 minute for initial setup, basically instant for all subsequent connections
3. Demo video:
Step 1: Open the App and Invite Your First Contact
First, open your Apple Watch’s App List by tapping the Digital Crown. Inside, find and tap the Walkie-Talkie app in red on the left, above.
If you’ve never used the app before, you’ll need to add your first contact in order to connect with them.
You can do this by tapping Add Friends in red, on the right, above. When you do, you’ll be presented with a list of your contacts.
Tap one to send them an invite. Once they accept, you can proceed to Step 2.
Step 2: Connect to Your Contact
Once your contact accepts your invitation, they’ll show up on your friend list. From there, you just need to tap on them to begin a conversation.
If you were previously connected with another contact, or it’s been a while since the last time you chatted with this contact, chances are it will take a few seconds for the Walkie-Talkie app to check their availability. you’ll connect and can proceed to Step 3.
Step 3: Start Talking
Once you’re connected with your contact, all you need to do is press and hold the helpfully-named Touch & Hold to Talk button and start speaking.
Your voice will be transmitted to their Apple Watch after a short chirp. Another tone will sound when you let go of the button, letting the other participant in the conversation know they can speak.
If you have mobility issues, or you’d rather just toggle your connection on and off with a single tap, you can enable this mode by going into the Settings app on your Apple watch and turning on Tap to Talk under the Walkie-Talkie section.
With this mode enabled, one tap will open the mic and a second will close it.
Final Step: Exiting the Walkie-Talkie App
You can exit the app and return to your Apple Watch’s watch face by pressing its Digital Crown.
Doing so will leave your app running in the background, allowing any Friends in the Walkie-Talkie app to communicate with you at any time.