How to Use Walkie-Talkie in watchOS 5

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Apple's watchOS 5 update, out now for all Apple Watch models with the exception of the original Apple Watch, introduces a fun new feature that mimics old school walkie talkies. With Walkie-Talkie, you can connect to your friends and family and have push-to-talk conversations right on your wrist.

The video below demonstrates Walkie-Talkie in action, while the post explains the steps to set it up and use it.


Turning on Walkie-Talkie and Adding Friends

Walkie-Talkie is an app on the Apple Watch with an icon that looks like a little walkie talkie on a field of yellow. Whenever you want to use Walkie-Talkie to communicate with someone, you'll need to open up the Walkie-Talkie app. The first step, though, is adding a friend to chat with.


  1. Open the Walkie-Talkie app.
  2. Turn the Digital Crown to scroll through your contacts.
  3. Choose a friend who has an Apple Watch and watchOS 5.
  4. Tap on the person's name in the contacts list.
  5. When a yellow card with their name appears on your Apple Watch in the Walkie-Talkie app, tap on the card.
  6. Press on the "Talk" button to initiate a connection.
  7. You'll need to wait for your friend to receive your message and approve the Walkie-Talkie connection. It will say "Connecting to [Your Friend's Name].
  8. When a connection is established, it will go back to the Talk button and you will be able to have a Walkie-Talkie conversation with your friend.
If a connection cannot be established, you'll see a popup that says "[Your Friend] is not available." If this happens, it means the person on the other end did not answer the incoming Walkie-Talkie notification.


If the Walkie-Talkie connection screen hangs indefinitely on the connecting screen, it means the person does not have an Apple Watch or does not have watchOS 5 installed.

When a friend adds you to Walkie-Talkie, you'll see an incoming notification that your friend wants to establish a connection with you. To chat, you will need to tap on "Always Allow."


Talking With a Friend Using Walkie Talkie

Once a connection has been approved between you and your friend, you do not need to get approval for each and every message. You can just push to talk and whatever you say will be beamed to your friend's Apple Watch.
  1. Open up the Walkie-Talkie app.
  2. Tap on the card for the friend you want to talk to.
  3. Hold down the "Talk" button for the entire time that you're speaking. You will see little concentric circles flashing, which means your message is being relayed to your friend.
  4. When you're done speaking, stop pressing on the Talk button. This will allow your friend to press the Talk button on their end to send a response to you.
You can have multiple Walkie-Talkie connections with your friends, but you can only communicate with one friend at a time because Walkie-Talkie is a one-on-one feature. Group chats between multiple people are not supported.

Accessing Walkie-Talkie Quickly

Once you have a Walkie-Talkie connection established with at least one person, a little Walkie-Talkie icon will be displayed at the top of the Apple Watch's main screen. If you tap it, it will take you right into the Walkie-Talkie app.


This icon also serves as an indicator that you're available for Walkie-Talkie conversations and that any friends you've established a connection with can message you at any time.

Adjusting Walkie-Talkie Volume

  1. Open the Walkie-Talkie app.
  2. Choose a Walkie-Talkie contact card.
  3. At the talk interface, turn the Digital Crown.
  4. A downward turn lowers the Walkie-Talkie volume, while an upward turn makes it louder. Turning it all the way down effectively mutes the conversation.
Using Walkie-Talkie With AirPods or Bluetooth Headphones

If you have AirPods or other Bluetooth headphones connected to your Apple Watch, you will hear incoming Walkie-Talkie messages through the accessory rather than directly through the Apple Watch. You will also be able to speak into the microphone of the AirPods, keeping your conversations more private.

Turning Off Walkie-Talkie and Removing Contacts

If you want to shut off Walkie-Talkie conversations and refuse incoming messages, you can do so by setting yourself to unavailable.
  1. Open up the Walkie-Talkie app.
  2. Scroll all the way to the top to see the "Available" toggle.
  3. Toggle "Available" to off.
When your Walkie-Talkie availability is disabled in the Walkie-Talkie app, people who attempt to connect to you will see the message "[Your Name] is Not Available" and you will get a notification that someone attempted to reach you but you were unavailable with an option to go to the Walkie-Talkie app to resume the conversation.

To remove a contact from Walkie-Talkie, at the main contact card interface, swipe to the left on a name in the list to bring up a red "X" button. Press on the X to remove the contact.


Walkie-Talkie Warnings

Walkie-Talkie takes precedence over other settings on your Apple Watch. You will hear your friend speaking even if your Apple Watch is set to silent, but it does not ignore Do Not Disturb settings.

Article Link: How to Use Walkie-Talkie in watchOS 5
 
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Relentless Power

macrumors Nehalem
Jul 12, 2016
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Definitely see the usefulness just to get across a quick message. Also, I like how it notifies you that someone tried to reach you if you were unavailable, then gives you the option to re-connect.
 

jclo

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What am I missing here? Why not just text or call the person? How is talkie faster?
It's probably ideal for use for things like amusement park trips or other outings where you might be with people but separated and want to be able to communicate without having to initiate a full phone call every time with the dialing, the waiting for an answer, the hanging up, etc.
 

BasicGreatGuy

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Sep 21, 2012
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It's probably ideal for use for things like amusement park trips or other outings where you might be with people but separated and want to be able to communicate without having to initiate a full phone call every time with the dialing, the waiting for an answer, the hanging up, etc.
That may be. However, in park scenarios as mentioned, I would think it would hard to hear if there are a lot of people around, along with ambient noise. In quite surroundings, I can see the appeal for some.
 

macduke

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Jun 27, 2007
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"Walkie talkie" has to be the most Australian sounding American word. Looking it up it's a Canadian invention called the "packset" but the term was coined by soldiers during WWII.

Group chats between multiple people are not supported.
Just wait eight years until they suddenly upgrade this to 32 people at once complete with voice modulators and other effects.

Walkie-Talkie takes precedent over all of the other settings on your Apple Watch. You will hear your friend speaking even if your Apple Watch is set to silent, and it will ignore Do Not Disturb settings as well as Theater Mode.
This is not ideal. Hopefully this is fixed. What I would prefer is a schedule that I could use with my wife so that it's just always on in the evenings and on weekends.
 

Max_B

macrumors newbie
Feb 9, 2018
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Normal voice phone call is established for a limited time to have a conversation.
Walkie-talkie is useful to send short voice message/info once in while and then again later when needed. It's more like a "permanent" link for few voice exchanges.
Like texting, but instant audio (rather than typing or recording a voice message and message it).
 

69Mustang

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It's probably ideal for use for things like amusement park trips or other outings where you might be with people but separated and want to be able to communicate without having to initiate a full phone call every time with the dialing, the waiting for an answer, the hanging up, etc.
Juli your example directly contradicts Dan's use case scenario in the video. He said W-T would probably be useless in an amusement park or other loud environment.

Separately, W-T superseding all other functionality seems like a really bad idea (probably gonna get fixed before public release). Also Dan says the messages auto play so they could be missed in a loud environment. Can you find out if the messages can be saved an replayed later? I imagine they can be since it's they are literal recordings.
 
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Max_B

macrumors newbie
Feb 9, 2018
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W-T is said using FaceTime technology, which works on cellular as well. This is the point: instant-easy-short voice message from "anywhere" (so to speak)
 

jclo

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Dec 7, 2012
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Juli your example directly contradicts Dan's use case scenario in the video. He said W-T would probably be useless in an amusement park or other loud environment.

Separately, W-T superseding all other functionality seems like a really bad idea (probably gonna get fixed before public release). Also Dan says the messages auto play so they could be missed in a loud environment. Can you find out if the messages can be saved an replayed later? I imagine they can be since it's they are literal recordings.
I'm not sure I entirely agree. I've used my Apple Watch for phone calls in those situations and it works, with the sound audible enough. I feel that Walkie Talkie would be similar. It gives a good ping, and if you're expecting someone to converse with you, I don't think you'll necessarily miss it. It's realtime, not a message, so it can't be saved and played later. It's not a recording -- it's one to one voice like a phone call.
[doublepost=1530054942][/doublepost]
I am assuming this feature requires a Wi-Fi connection at least?
It works over WiFi and Cellular.
 
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Pirate!

macrumors member
Jan 17, 2017
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It‘s perfect if you have kids. :)
Can you elaborate, please? Kind of a dinner bell type situation, maybe?

I can't think of a situation where I'd want someone give just popping randomly out of my watch. Sounds like a quick way to get blocked (and yes, I realize I can just turn my availability off and/or not accept any requests).

Also, I'm not a big fan of beep notifications and this one is really annoying (to me). Hopefully that can be turned off or at least disabled with silence (how does that work with auto-override, though?).
 

isomorphic

macrumors regular
Apr 19, 2010
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I like the idea of this, but why isn't it also on other iOS devices? That would increase the pool of people you could talk to...
[doublepost=1530059917][/doublepost]
What am I missing here? Why not just text or call the person? How is talkie faster?
In some ways this is Apple admitting that it's painful to text using just the Watch (i.e., via Siri). The Walkie Talkie interface is better and it's more immediate.
 

BasicGreatGuy

Contributor
Sep 21, 2012
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In the middle of several books.
I like the idea of this, but why isn't it also on other iOS devices? That would increase the pool of people you could talk to...
[doublepost=1530059917][/doublepost]

In some ways this is Apple admitting that it's painful to text using just the Watch (i.e., via Siri). The Walkie Talkie interface is better and it's more immediate.
That is a very good point.
 

B4U

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I'm not sure I entirely agree. I've used my Apple Watch for phone calls in those situations and it works, with the sound audible enough. I feel that Walkie Talkie would be similar. It gives a good ping, and if you're expecting someone to converse with you, I don't think you'll necessarily miss it. It's realtime, not a message, so it can't be saved and played later. It's not a recording -- it's one to one voice like a phone call.
[doublepost=1530054942][/doublepost]

It works over WiFi and Cellular.
In other words, non-cellular watch users (or cellular watch users who don't want to get ripped off by their carriers) cannot use this without WiFi connections.
 

wesk702

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Lol, can’t wait to drop in some childish nonsense on my coworker when it’s his day in the boardroom.