Offline Maps for the Apple Watch Ultra was one of the top feature requests in early reviews. It’s true that Apple Maps almost doesn’t support offline viewing yet. Luckily, some fast Apple Watch users have successfully turned to other solutions.
Alternatives to the Apple Watch
If you’re really going off the grid, the safest solution is to have a good old-fashioned paper map that you can point your iPhone to for extra functionality. Apple Maps also doesn’t support offline mapping on the iPhone, but Google Maps allows areas to be downloaded in advance.
It’s not as convenient as tracking navigation on your wrist, but the iPhone has other advantages as well. For example, many iPhone 14 users will soon have access to emergency satellite calling when the service first rolls out in the US and Canada.
Apple Watch offline maps
Today, the best solution for saving offline maps to your Apple Watch for use without a signal is an app called WorkOutDoors. It currently costs $5.99 on the App Store as a one-time purchase. Before purchasing, you can learn more about the features of the app here.
“WorkOutDoors shows a fully functional vector map (just like maps on the iPhone). The map is perfect for outdoor workouts as it contains paths, trails, tracks and tracks,” says app developer Ian Muriss.
“Maps can be easily panned with your finger and zoomed in with the digital crown. They can also be saved offline on your watch for use when there is no data signal. Choose from standard maps or topographic maps with hill outlines and shading. Maps for the whole world are included. There is no subscription or additional payment,” adds Muriss.
Years before the missing feature was highlighted with the Apple Watch Ultra, the app was already being used to fill the feature gap on Apple Watches. Looking for a solution, I came across this blog post from 2018 on bluebones.net:
I tried many things before I found the WorkOutDoors app. You can use it to save a segment of a map (any size) to your phone in all zoomable detail, and even show a trace of your location and a persistent compass pointing to your starting point. […] I no longer wanted to run in a straight line and back to unfamiliar places, but instead felt confident that after a race I could go anywhere with it.
Joonas Lehtinen recently published a blog entry that gives a fair and detailed assessment of the process involved.
Another alternative solution is a workout tracking app called Footpath, which we’ve already covered. “Footpath Elite lets you send directions to your Apple Watch, with full support for GPS tracking and turn-by-turn audio navigation, even offline,” according to the website. Elite is a subscription tier that currently costs $3.99/month or $23.99/year. There is also a single route option for $1.99 and a seven-day free trial before subscribing.
Whether you have a brand new Apple Watch Ultra or the original or new SE, these solutions work for offline maps thanks to built-in GPS in all models since series 2. Make your own offline map experience for Apple Watch or even iPhone and iPad ? Let us know on our social networks.
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