How To Use Walkie-Talkie On Your Apple Watch

An Apple Watch can do a lot more than just tell time — it can also let you engage in instant verbal communication with fellow users via its Walkie-Talkie app. Unlike conventional two-way radios, the range of the Apple Watch Walkie-Talkie is unlimited. This allows conversations between friends and family to take place instantly at a push of a virtual button, regardless of distance. However, getting your Apple Watch Walkie-Talkie app working means having to meet certain requirements. For instance, using it requires an internet connection via WiFi or cellular data, either through your iPhone or on the Apple Watch itself (via Apple). 

If you're planning on using the app outside the United States, make sure the place you're visiting is included in Apple's WatchOS Feature Availability list, as the service might not be available in certain countries. In addition, if the Walkie-Talkie app is not opening or is missing outright, make sure that your iPhone version is on at least iOS 12.4 and has FaceTime installed. While the app itself does work on models as old as the Apple Watch Series 1, updating your device to WatchOS 5.3 or later is necessary to get it working properly. Once all these requirements are covered, you can finally start using the Walkie-Talkie feature.

How to setup and use the Walkie-Talkie app

The whole process is as simple as it is intuitive and won't take very long. Before you begin, ensure that you've already set up the FaceTime app using your Apple ID on your iPhone to avoid any issues with invitations (via Apple support). Here's how to add your friends from your contacts and then chat with them using the Walkie-Talkie app.

  1. On your Apple Watch, jump into the app menu to find and open the Walkie-Talkie app, which appears as a yellow tile with a black radio transceiver icon in the middle. If the app doesn't appear there, download it from the App Store.
  2. With the app open, tap on the yellow plus sign (+) at the bottom.
  3. Choose the person you want to talk to from the contacts list that appears.
  4. Wait for your chosen contact to accept your invitation – their name will appear grayed out until they do.
  5. Once the contact's name turns yellow, you can finally tap on it.
  6. Afterward, you will see a yellow "TALK" button; press and hold this button, then simply talk into your Apple Watch mic.
  7. When you're done talking, let go of the yellow button to deliver your audio message instantly.

If a contact invites you via the Walkie-Talkie app, you'll receive a notification instead. To accept, tap on "Always Allow" and start chatting. To decline, simply tap "Dismiss."

How to remove contacts or disable Walkie-Talkie

Removing contacts is an even easier and quicker process than adding them. To start, open the Walkie-Talkie app first using step 1 above.

  1. From your Apple Watch's Walkie-Talkie app interface, scroll to the name of the contact you want to remove.
  2. Swipe left on the contact name.
  3. Tap on the red "X" button on the right.

If you don't want to remove Walkie-Talkie contacts but want to temporarily prevent them from contacting you through the app, you can follow the steps below.

  1. Open the Walkie-Talkie app.
  2. Tap on the "Walkie-Talkie" toggle at the top to make yourself unavailable for communication.
  3. Simply tap the toggle again to re-enable the Walkie-Talkie function afterward.

Alternatively, you can enable Theater Mode to automatically disable Walkie-Talkie, according to Apple.

  1. Open Control Center by swiping up on your Apple Watch.
  2. Find the icon with the tragedy and comedy theater masks.
  3. Tap on it to enable Theater Mode.
  4. This will make Walkie-Talkie unavailable, but you will still get vibration notifications.

Is the Walkie-Talkie app safe?

It took Apple years before finally releasing Apple Watch's Walkie-Talkie app. However, it wasn't long after launch that Apple caught wind of a worrying vulnerability. In 2019, Apple was forced to shut down the Walkie-Talkie service, albeit temporarily, due to a bug that potentially allowed hackers to eavesdrop on iPhones using FaceTime. While Apple didn't report any cases of users being victimized by such exploits, it prevented Apple Watches from using the Walkie-Talkie app as a security measure.

Fortunately, Apple brought the Walkie-Talkie function back online a couple of weeks later after releasing the WatchOS 5.3 and iOS 12.4 updates, which patched up the potentially dangerous vulnerability. Now, Apple Watch wearers will no longer have to worry about using the troublesome version of the app since having WatchOS 5.3 and iOS 12.4 is a mandatory requirement to get it running, as mentioned above. Overall, safety concerns shouldn't be much of an issue anymore, but if your Walkie-Talkie app isn't working or is still missing, just make sure you've updated your Apple Watch to the latest version.