HomeTech TalkEnhanced Navigation in watchOS 11: Offline Maps and Custom Routes

Enhanced Navigation in watchOS 11: Offline Maps and Custom Routes

Scheduled for September release, watchOS 11 promises several exciting enhancements for Apple Watch enthusiasts. Among the standout features are offline maps and the ability to create custom circular routes using iPhone, Mac, or iPad, seamlessly synced to the Apple Watch. This update significantly boosts usability by allowing users to access maps directly on their watch, independent of iPhone connectivity.

Previously, Apple Watch users relied on a connected iPhone for map functions unless using an LTE-enabled model. With watchOS 11, creating and syncing roundtrip routes is now possible without a continuous phone connection, a boon for users exploring offline.

However, the absence of GPS capabilities, specifically offline maps and turn-by-turn guidance, set the Apple Watch Ultra 2 apart from leading running watches. For users accustomed to Garmin devices like the Garmin Epix Pro, Garmin Connect simplifies route creation with GPS and machine learning, designing precise circular routes effortlessly.

Once synchronized, Garmin devices provide intuitive turn-by-turn directions on the watch screen, complemented by real-time workout metrics and speed tracking.

Yet, the integration of circular routes into Apple’s Workout app remains a sticking point, especially for users desiring seamless navigation during activities such as running or hiking. Despite offering post-workout route insights, Apple Watch requires toggling between Workout and Maps apps for live navigation, a drawback compared to Garmin’s streamlined approach.

Looking forward, while watchOS 11 features are in beta with ongoing bug testing, significant alterations are unlikely before launch. Future updates, possibly in watchOS 12, may bridge these integration gaps, influencing user choices between Apple and Garmin devices.

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