WatchOS 5 has been available for all users (Series 1 and newer) for a few weeks now.
Speed improvements and some new watch faces are in tow, but there is another communication method in it. You’ve always been able to get that Dick Tracy effect by taking phone calls on your wrist, but there is now a Walkie-Talkie app as well.
It’s precisely what you think it is. You can now have push-to-talk conversations with other Apple Watch users. Those who remember the push-to-talk feature on Sprint Nextel might be fond of this.
Here’s how to use Walkie-Talkie in WatchOS 5.
1. Install WatchOS 5
Walkie-Talkie is a pre-loaded app that comes with WatchOS 5. You’ll want to make sure you’re running the latest software from Apple. Open the iOS Apple Watch app > tap General > then Software Update to check.
2. Open the Walkie-Talkie app
Tap the Digital Crown to open the beehive-styled app viewer on the Apple Watch. Look for the yellow Walkie-Talk icon.
3. Find your friends
Opening the app for the first time will give you a brief intro and show you a long list of contacts. You can manually scroll through to find someone in your address book or look at the suggestions at the top. A massive con is that you need to navigate through a long list depending on how many contacts you have.
Choosing a name will send an invite to that person in Walkie-Talkie. They can either accept or deny the request. You will get a notification when they’re available to talk. The contacts that you’ve connected with will live in the main screen of this app, giving you easy access to chat.
4. Tap to chat
Once you’ve added contacts, you can tap to chat. The contacts will appear in yellow boxes when they’re available, or gray when offline. If he or she is online tap the box, and then hold the yellow circle (with “talk” in the middle) to chat.
It is “push to talk” meaning that you need to hold it in for as long as your message is. The contact will then receive it within a few seconds.
You can also remove a friend at any time from this main page. Just swipe left to the left on their name and hit the “X.”
Remember, you’re always on.
A problem with any Walkie-Talkie app by nature is that you can’t choose to accept an incoming message on a case by case basis. Being marked as available means that any chat will arrive at any moment. So if you’re in school or at the office, it might be a wise move to flick the availability to off.
Lastly, to receive Walkie-Talkie messages, you need a connection, whether it’s WiFi or LTE.