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 7
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)
Related Forum: Apple Watch

Top Rated Comments

dirt_farmer Avatar
54 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
54 months ago
Not as seamless as I was promised by the Star Trek communicators.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Apple_Robert Avatar
54 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
54 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
54 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
54 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)

Popular Stories

Apple Watch Series 7 Starlight Midnight

Standard Apple Watch Series 8 Rumored to Feature Same Design as Series 7

Friday August 5, 2022 7:46 am PDT by
The standard 41mm and 45mm models of the Apple Watch Series 8 will feature the same design as the Apple Watch Series 7, according to Twitter user @ShrimpApplePro, who was first to reveal that iPhone 14 Pro models would feature a new pill-and-hole display. Titanium will not be an option for the standard Apple Watch Series 8 models either, according to @ShrimpApplePro, but Bloomberg's Mark...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Front and Back MacRumors Exclusive

Five iPhone 14 Rumors You May Have Missed

Thursday August 4, 2022 6:05 am PDT by
With August upon us, the countdown is officially on. We're just weeks away from when we're expecting Apple to announce the iPhone 14 lineup. Rumors of the next iPhone start early in the year, and as a result, some details about the upcoming device sometimes get lost in the crowd. Exclusive MacRumors iPhone 14 Pro renders by graphic designer Ian Zelbo To help MacRumors readers, we've created a ...
oneplus 10t and iphone 13 pro

Camera Comparison: The New OnePlus 10T vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max

Wednesday August 3, 2022 8:30 am PDT by
Android-based smartphone company OnePlus today announced the launch of its newest device, the OnePlus 10T, which we were able to check out ahead of time. The OnePlus 10T, priced starting at $649, boasts upgraded camera technology, so we thought we'd pit it against the iPhone 13 Pro Max to see just how it measures up. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The OnePlus 10T...
banish safari app pop ups

New iOS App Blocks Those Annoying 'Open in App' Pop-Ups in Safari

Friday August 5, 2022 2:47 am PDT by
You've probably experienced visiting a website like Reddit or LinkedIn on your iPhone only to be greeted with an annoying, almost full-screen pop-up urging you to view the content in their app instead of on the website. It's a common practice for websites that have accompanying iOS apps to push users to open (if they already have the app installed) or download their app from the App Store to ...
apple watch series 7 titanium

Apple Watch Edition Begins Selling Out Ahead of Series 8 Launch

Tuesday August 2, 2022 7:55 am PDT by
Apple Watch Edition models are beginning to sell out just weeks before the Apple Watch Series 8 lineup is expected to be announced. Several of the high-end Apple Watch Series 7 models with titanium casings are listed as "currently unavailable" on Apple's online store in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and select other countries. In the United States, availability of 41mm...