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Wear OS will have Google Maps navigation without the need for a phone

It's not clear which devices will get this nor if you'll need an LTE model, but it's exciting news regardless.
By
August 10, 2022
The new Google Maps application on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4.
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • Google Maps on Wear OS will get navigation support even without a tethered smartphone.
  • Google announced this will come “later this year” during Samsung’s latest Galaxy Unpacked event.
  • It’s not clear which devices would support this feature.

Wear OS has a pretty robust selection of apps. One of the most popular is Google Maps, which can help you get from one place to another without needing to touch your phone.

Unfortunately, your phone still needs to be connected to your Wear OS watch to get turn-by-turn navigation. In the future, though, that won’t be necessary. At Samsung’s latest Galaxy Unpacked event, Google announced that Google Maps on Wear OS will support navigation without the need for a phone.

As Google describes it, this would allow you to go for a run or bike ride and leave your phone behind while still having the advantages of Maps navigation.

See also: How to plan a road trip with Google Maps

Google didn’t have much to say about this feature, other than that it will be coming later this year. It didn’t even say which watches would support it. However, considering Google made the announcement during the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5, it’s a safe bet it will land on that device first.

Google also didn’t mention if this would be a feature exclusively for LTE watches. Theoretically, it would be possible to begin a new navigation session while connected via Bluetooth to your phone. Then, you could leave your phone behind and the watch could keep navigating with information it downloaded when you started. However, LTE-enabled watches likely wouldn’t have this barrier and would be more efficient.

We’ll need to wait and see how this new Google Maps on Wear OS feature works. Hopefully, it doesn’t take Google as long to roll this out to Wear OS as it did Google Assistant support.