How to Use Your Apple Watch as a Walkie-Talkie

I didn't use walkie-talkies much as a kid, but now with this feature on Apple Watch I can indulge in a slightly more futuristic way. Here's a general overview on how to use Walkie-Talkie on Apple Watch. To use Walkie-Talkie, you'll need Apple Watch series 1 or later updated to watchOS 5.

Related: How to Automatically Reopen an App on Your Apple Watch

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How to Turn on Walkie-Talkie

There are two ways to make yourself turn on the Walkie-Talkie feature so that you can send and recieve messages:

  • Open the Walkie-Talkie app and toggle Available to ON.

  • Swipe up on the watch face to open the Control Center and tap on the Walkie-Talkie icon to turn it yellow.

How to Find & Add Contacts

For the most part, you'll have to invite contacts to use Walkie-Talkie. The first time you open Walkie-Talkie, you'll see a welcome message followed by a list of suggested contacts with compatible Apple Watches.

  • Scroll through the contact list and tap the name of the person you want to add.

If you send an invite to someone who can't use Walkie-Talkie, a notification will pop up and you can cancel the invite.

  • In the future when you open the app, you'll see a list of your Walkie-Talkie contacts and a yellow+ below the contact list. Tap the yellow + to invite contacts.

  • Their contact card will say Invited until they accept. After acceptance, their contact card will be yellow and you chat with them using Walkie-Talkie.

  • For you to accept a Walkie-Talkie invitation, tap the notification and tap Always Allow.

How to Send A Message

  • Open Walkie-Talkie and select a contact.
  • Tap and hold the yellow Talk button. As you hold it down, say your message. When you’re done, let go to send. 
  • When the other person replies, pulsating concentric circles will appear on the screen.

  • Walkie-Talkie doesn't work as a live conversation but as a push-message system. The messages are played automatically and can't be replayed.
  • You can use the Digital Crown to adjust the volume.

How to Make Yourself Unavailable

Here are a few ways to be undisturbed by Walkie-Talkie messages:

  • In Walkie-Talkie, toggle Available to OFF.

  • Swipe up from the bottom of your watch face to open the Control Center and tap the Walkie-Talkie icon. You are available when the icon is yellow and unvailable when the icon is clear.

  • Enable Theater Mode or Do Not Disturb mode.

  • If your Watch is in Silent Mode, you'll still hear the chimes from an incoming Walkie-Talkie call and the voice message.

Walkie-Talkie is a fun feature for quick conversations. You won't be able to save any messages, so you can use it for casual conversation while enjoying an updated version of a childhood classic.

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Hallei Halter's picture

Hallei is a 2018 graduate of Maharishi University of Management with a BFA in Creative & Professional Writing. She's currently working on a novel about people using witchcraft to clean their houses.