Navigating with Maps and Apple Watch can be very useful with distinctive taps for upcoming turns, but the feature can be distracting if you have a better solution with CarPlay. Starting with iOS 12 and watchOS 5, Apple now lets you choose when you want to receive navigation alerts on Apple Watch.

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Navigation alerts work best for me when I’m simply walking and using Maps for directions or driving in a car without CarPlay. Both the tone and taps prepare you for your next turn without glancing at your iPhone or waking your watch screen. Apple Watch even has distinctive tones to distinguish between left and right turns:

A low tone followed by a high tone (tock tick, tock tick) means turn right at the intersection you’re approaching; a high tone followed by a low tone (tick tock, tick tock) means turn left.

CarPlay puts Apple Maps (and now Google Maps and Waze) on the built-in screen in your car, however, and the display matched with audio cues can make alerts from your watch sensory overload — or at least redundant.

Maps even has an option to mute alerts on CarPlay and just use navigation for viewing traffic conditions and your estimated time of arrival, but Apple Watch will still send navigation alerts even in this mode.

CarPlay Watch

New with iOS 12 and watchOS 5 is the ability to actually opt out of navigation alerts when driving with CarPlay and Apple Watch. The feature is offered in the Watch app on iPhone on the My Watch tab and the Maps section.

Turn alerts can now be toggled on or off individually for Driving, Driving with CarPlay, and Walking. If you’re like me and find the navigation alerts on Apple Watch redundant when driving with CarPlay, turning off that middle option should create a more relaxed driving experience.


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