Apple Watch Walkie-Talkie: How to set up and use the feature on your smartwatch

Go full Dick Tracy with your Apple smartwatch pals
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One of the newest features that has come to the Apple Watch is Walkie-Talkie – a feature that lets owners communicate from smartwatch to smartwatch.

It's not a million miles away from how a regular walkie-talkie would work, though, as we say, this will only work between two Apple Watch devices. And though no headphones are required, you will need a Wi-Fi or cellular connection.

Essential reading: Apple Watch tips and tricks

Want to learn what else there is to know about Walkie-Talkie, including steps on how to set up and use it? Below, we've detailed everything.

Set up Walkie-Talkie on the Apple Watch

Apple Watch Walkie-Talkie: How to set up and use the feature on your smartwatch

What you need

1. Make sure your Apple Watch is running watchOS 5 or later.

2. An Apple Watch Series 1 or later, which means owners of the original Apple Watch are left out of this one.

3. If you've ticked both of the above boxes, you'll find the Walkie-Talkie app is pre-installed on the Watch and ready to go. All you need to do is open it up and get cracking.

Add and remove contacts on Walkie-Talkie

Apple Watch Walkie-Talkie: How to set up and use the feature on your smartwatch

To get adding friends and family to Walkie-Talkie, open up the app and do the following:

1. Tap the plus icon at the bottom of your list of contacts.
2. Scroll through the list of contacts. Note that it will give you Suggested names at the top – these are all the people who already have Walkie-Talkie set up.
3. Tap the contact you want to add. The box will stay grey and display the word "Invited" until they accept.
4. Once your friend has accepted your invitation, their box will turn yellow.

To remove a pending invitation, simply swipe left on their name box and tap the red cross. Same goes for any contacts you want to remove.

Invitations you receive will appear as notifications, which give you the option of accepting the invite for a one-off chat or to "Always allow", which means they'll be able to contact you any time your status is set to available.

How to talk to someone with Walkie-Talkie on the Apple Watch

You've added a friend and you're both ready for some classic conversation. Here's how to start chatting:

1. Open the Walkie-Talkie app and tap on the contact you want to chat with.
2. A Talk button should appear. Tap it and the Watch will try to make a connection. If it says Connecting, give it a second to establish the line.
3. As soon as contact is made, hold a finger on the button, speak into the Watch and the other person should hear you. Release it to let them respond – and back and forth you go. Just like old times, eh?

To adjust the volume at any time, just scroll the Digital Crown, as if you were doing it for music.

Adjusting your availability status

Look, there are going to be times that you don't want people dropping impromptu messages to your wrist. In those instances, you can make yourself unavailable to all your contacts.

Just open the Walkie-Talkie app and swipe to the top. You'll see a toggle appear, which you can tap to make yourself available/unavailable.

There's another way to do this, which you might prefer. You can simply swipe up from the clock face to get into Control Center and tap the Walkie-Talkie icon there, instead.

How we test

Hugh Langley


Now at Business Insider, Hugh originally joined Wareable from TechRadar where he’d been writing news, features, reviews and just about everything else you can think of for three years.

Hugh is now a correspondent at Business Insider.

Prior to Wareable, Hugh freelanced while studying, writing about bad indie bands and slightly better movies. He found his way into tech journalism at the beginning of the wearables boom, when everyone was talking about Google Glass and the Oculus Rift was merely a Kickstarter campaign - and has been fascinated ever since.

He’s particularly interested in VR and any fitness tech that will help him (eventually) get back into shape. Hugh has also written for T3, Wired, Total Film, Little White Lies and China Daily.

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