How to Use Walkie-Talkie in watchOS 5

by

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.

walkietalkieicon 1

  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. walkietalkieconnection
  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.

walkietalkieunavailable
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."

walkietalkieallow

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. walkietalkieinuse
  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.

walkietalkieicon
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. walkiewalkieavailable
  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.

walkietalkiedelete

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.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 6
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)

Top Rated Comments

dirt_farmer Avatar
32 months ago
Looks amazing!

Here are my steps to using the Walkie Talkie feature on Apple Watch:

1) Call Apple

2) Ask them to go back to creating amazing society-changing paradigm shifts, rather than churning out streams of gimmicky consumer electronics and marketing copy.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ArtOfWarfare Avatar
32 months ago
Not as seamless as I was promised by the Star Trek communicators.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Apple_Robert Avatar
32 months ago
What am I missing here? Why not just text or call the person? How is talkie faster?
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tigertazz Avatar
32 months ago
It’s a feature I’m unlikely to use (limited friends with Apple Watch ) but I can see the benefits for a quick back and forth
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jclo Avatar
32 months ago

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.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
agsystems Avatar
32 months ago

Good review. Looks like a useful feature.

“One of the biggest feature”
How is this different from calling via FaceTime audio from the contacts in the watch? I might be too old to get it
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Watc black friday 20 sale feature

Apple Black Friday 2020: Best Apple Watch Deals [Updated]

Wednesday November 25, 2020 4:01 pm PST by
Black Friday sales have begun on a variety of products, including the Apple Watch. There are quite a few deals across the Apple Watch lineup this year, including one of the lowest price we've ever seen the Apple Watch Series 3. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the...
AirPods Pro black friday 20 sale feature 2

Black Friday 2020: AirPods Pro Reach Lowest Price Ever [Updated]

Wednesday November 25, 2020 3:22 pm PST by
Black Friday has kicked off this week, and one of the first major sales for the AirPods Pro is available right now on Walmart. You can find this deal below, along with a few other solid discounts on the regular AirPods. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site...
windows 10

Developer Successfully Virtualizes Windows for Arm on M1 Mac

Friday November 27, 2020 7:16 am PST by
Developer Alexander Graf has successfully virtualized the Arm version of Windows on an M1 Mac, proving that the M1 chip is capable of running Microsoft's operating system (via The 8-Bit). Currently, Macs with the M1 chip do not support Windows and there is no Boot Camp feature as there is on Intel Macs, but support for Windows is a feature that many users would like to see. Using the...
General black friday 20 sale feature

Thanksgiving Day Deals Still Available on AirPods, M1 Macs, Apple Watch Series 6, iPads

Thursday November 26, 2020 10:21 am PST by
Black Friday deals seem to start earlier and earlier every year, so there were already a wide variety of discounts available for Apple products on Thanksgiving Day. Many of the deals remain available even after Thanksgiving, but act fast, as inventory quickly fluctuates. Thanksgiving Day Deals on Apple Products — Still Available:AirPods with a wireless charging case remain available for...
iPhone black friday 20 sale feature

Apple Black Friday 2020: Best iPhone Deals

Friday November 27, 2020 12:56 pm PST by
Black Friday is halfway done, but there are still a few deals to shop for on iPhones at carriers like AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile/Sprint. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. AT&T Starting with AT&T, you'll find up to $700 off any iPhone 12 when...
13 16 inch macbook pro air trio

Reliable Leaker Suggests Redesigned MacBooks in 2021 Will Include Both Apple Silicon and Intel Models

Wednesday November 25, 2020 9:15 am PST by
Reliable leaker known as "L0vetodream" has today suggested on Twitter that redesigned MacBooks coming in the second half of 2021 will include models with both Apple Silicon chips and Intel processors. The brief Tweet came in response to a MacRumors article from earlier today, which outlined a report from Ming-Chi Kuo claiming that Apple plans to release redesigned MacBook models with Apple ...
iphone trade in store

UK Environmental Committee Says Apple Contributing to 'Throwaway Culture' of 'Short-Lived Products'

Thursday November 26, 2020 7:07 am PST by
Technology companies like Apple are contributing to e-waste by making their products difficult to repair, and charging expensive repair fees, according to a lengthy report published today by the UK Parliament's Environmental Audit Committee. "We were told that Apple glues and solders parts together on their laptops, which makes repairing them very difficult," the Committee wrote in a summary ...
m1 chip macbook air pro

Kuo: Redesigned MacBooks With Apple Silicon to Launch in Second Half of 2021

Tuesday November 24, 2020 7:53 pm PST by
Apple plans to release additional MacBook models with Apple Silicon in the second half of 2021, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, as part of the company's two-year transition away from Intel processors across its Mac lineup. In a research note today, obtained by MacRumors, Kuo said that these MacBook models will feature a new design. Kuo did not specify which models these will be, but he...
mac mini macbook pro macbook air

Apple M1 Hands-On Comparison: MacBook Air vs. MacBook Pro vs. Mac Mini

Monday November 23, 2020 3:40 pm PST by
Apple's M1 Macs are out in the wild now, but ahead of the holidays, you might still be trying to figure out which one to pick up, either for yourself or as a gift for someone else. We've got all three of the new Macs available, so we thought we'd give MacRumors readers a hands-on overview of each machine in our latest YouTube video. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. ...
iPad Pro 5G and Mini LED feature

Rumored 2021 High-End iPad Pro May Feature 5G With mmWave Support

Thursday November 26, 2020 2:14 am PST by
Apple's rumored high-end iPad Pro models to be released next year will be 5G-enabled with mmWave support, according to sources cited by industry publication DigiTimes. Multiple rumors have suggested Apple is planning to release a high-end 12.9-inch iPad Pro with a mini-LED display next year, with the possibility that there will be an 11-inch mini-LED model too, but details beyond that have...