Google is making good on its promise from August to bring Google Maps back to the Apple Watch after yanking it back in 2017. It’s available now, and as we wrote last month, its noteworthy features include providing route estimates and step-by-step directions to and from pre-saved locations on your wrist. Google Maps first became available for the Apple Watch in 2015, but it hasn’t been available to download since 2017 when Google removed the app without explaining why.
As 9to5Google notes, this new version doesn’t let you seek out a new location directly from the Watch. For spontaneous trips to places not saved on your Watch, you’ll need to use your phone to start the process, then you can continue with navigation on the Apple Watch. So it’s still a relatively basic experience, but it’s nice to have for people who don’t want to be stuck with Apple Maps.
In order to install the new app onto the Apple Watch, we first had to update the Google Maps app on the iPhone to the latest version 5.52. Here’s the link for the download on Apple’s App Store. The watchOS app requires watchOS 5 or later, which excludes the original Apple Watch.
Google’s popular navigation is back on the Apple Watch, but other apps that mysteriously abandoned Apple’s wearable platform, like the official Twitter and Amazon apps, still haven’t returned.