The Maps app for the Apple Watch is set to receive a useful upgrade with new features with the upcoming watchOS 2.2 release. Currently in beta, the upcoming software update adds the Nearby search features in Apple Maps as well as quick navigation buttons for travel directions to home and work addresses.
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In the current watchOS version, the Maps application launches to a view of your current location, then pressing the display firmly reveals buttons to access contact addresses, search, and toggling between transit and standard directions.
Starting with watchOS 2.2, Maps on Apple Watch has a whole new layer of actions. Just like Google Maps for Apple Watch, Apple’s Maps app now includes shortcuts to navigating to your home and work address from your current location. Search is also a more accessible button that doesn’t require Force Touch. The old Maps view can still be accessed through the My Location button beneath Search.
Finally, the useful Nearby feature introduced to Maps with iOS 9 in six countries including the US and Canada is now available on the Apple Watch starting with watchOS 2.2.
This feature works similarly to Yelp’s Apple Watch app (Yelp is a data provider here) and lets you choose between Food, Drinks, Shopping, Travel, Services, Fun, Health and Transport categories. Each section includes an additional list of more detailed categories followed by specific local businesses listed by distance with star ratings and business hours, contact information, directions, and location.
iOS 9’s Nearby feature in Maps also appeared in CarPlay with new beta software introduced this week. See our video hands-on for more details.
Aside from a revamped Maps app, watchOS 2.2 also allows iPhones to pair multiple Apple Watches simultaneously. The most recently unlocked and raised Apple Watch automatically becomes active with the paired iPhone.
For more on Apple’s latest software updates for each of its platforms, check out 9to5Mac’s coverage from this week:
- Apple releases first iOS 9.3, OS X 10.11.4, tvOS 9.2, & watchOS 2.2 betas
- iOS 9.3 adds multi-user support for iPads in schools, new Classroom app, more
- iOS 9.3 adds Night Mode, upgraded Health, Notes & News Apps + CarPlay Music
- Photos: With tvOS 9.2, Apple TV adds Podcasts app, Folders, Bluetooth keyboard support, new app switcher and more
- iOS 9.3 Gallery & Feature List: Night Shift, New 3D Touch features, updated Health app, Notes Touch ID, more
- iOS 9.3 Preview: First look at updated Apple Music + Maps apps in CarPlay [Video]
- tvOS 9.2 Preview: First look at Apple TV’s new Podcasts app, folders & switcher UI, Bluetooth keyboard support, more [Video]
- iOS 9.3 Preview: First look at Night Shift mode, Touch ID Notes, new 3D Touch quick actions, much more [Video]
- OS X 10.11.4 beta adds support for viewing and sharing Live Photos in Messages
- Happy Hour Podcast 049 | Apple’s latest feature-packed beta releases
- iOS 9.3 public beta + 9.3 dev beta 1.1 w/ Night Shift, Touch ID Notes, more now available
- OS X 10.11.4 public beta with Live Photos in Messages, secure Notes, and more is now available
The watchOS 2.2 update for Apple Watch is currently only available in beta. Public availability will likely accompany the iOS 9.3 release later this year.