Who doesn’t love a walkie-talkie? Most of us grew up seeing them in actions and adventure movies and shows! There’s something so fun about walkie-talkies–even the name itself evokes play.
So, do we really need a reason not to love them?
With the Walkie-Talkie app for Apple Watch, Apple brings that youthful spirit to our modern audience. Now we can turn our Apple Watches into a two-way radio AND still use “over and out, “do you copy,” “roger that,” and all that other cool walkie-talkie lingo!
Walkie-Talkie is perhaps the most exciting feature on the watchOS5 apart from the ability to play podcasts and the introduction of innovative health features.
In this short article, we will show you how you can set up and use the walkie-talkie mode on your Apple Watch.
- We’ve Waited a Long Time for Walkie-Talkie!
- How to Setup Walkie-Talkie
- How to Use Walkie-Talkie
- Send a message
- Walkie Talkie Active Status Icon
- Walkie-Talkie and Airplane Mode–does it work?
- Can I Replay a Message in Walkie-Talkie?
- Does Walkie-Talkie Work Between Contacts That Share an Apple ID?
- Reader Tips
- Walkie-Talkie Not Working, How To Fix
- Here’s Everything that is coming to watchOS 5
- New notification features coming to your Apple Watch
- 6 Incredibly underrated features announced at WWDC 2018
- How to Use Podcasts on your AppleWatch with watchOS 5
We’ve Waited a Long Time for Walkie-Talkie!
This mode of communicating was first shown off on the Apple Watch when the first iteration was unveiled. However, three years later, Apple still didn’t mention it – until June 2018!.
There is now a Walkie-Talkie mode on your Apple Watch, allowing you to send short voice messages back and forth to friends and family, even strangers!
And just like a real walkie-talkie, all you need to do is press a button to talk and release it to listen to a reply.
Walkie-Talkie requires that both participants have some type of connectivity—either via Bluetooth connection to the iPhone, WiFi, or cellular (for applicable Apple Watch models.)
The process of doing this is extremely simple, including setting things up.
How to Setup Walkie-Talkie
First, set up the FaceTime app on your iPhone and tested it out to ensure you can make and receive FaceTime audio calls.
After the Walkie-Talkie app is opened for the first time, you will see some suggested contacts. This list consists of those with compatible Apple Watch’s, making it easy for you to get started.
If you want to add new contacts to the list, you can do so by scrolling all the way to the bottom. From there, you will see a “+” icon and can add contacts at your discretion.
If you run into issues setting up Walkie-Talkie or you constantly are seeing the ‘Connection error’ or unable to add in the contacts into your walkie-talkie setup, Please take a look at our detailed troubleshooting Guide.
For Starters, your iPhone should be running on iOS 12, and you need to have FaceTime activated to use Walkie-Talkie
How to Use Walkie-Talkie
Now that your contacts list is ready to go, you are going to want to send a few messages. You can do so by either opening the Walkie-Talkie app, or by setting up a specific complication.
After you open the app, tap the yellow “card” for the contact of your choice. At the top, you will be able to tell whether that contact is “available,” making life just a bit easier.
The person on the receiving end of the message will have to give permission to the app.
This acceptance is one-time, allowing the conversation to proceed as planned.
After the recipient grants permission, the corresponding Apple Watch’s is now trusted. Doing so means that you will be able to send or receive messages without any hiccups.
Send a message
Walkie-Talkie is all ready to use! You selected your contact is selected, so what’s next? Just tap the big, yellow button named TALK.
Walkie-Talkie records your message for as long as you hold down the button, and then let go to play the message.
If you need to step away from a conversation for a moment, Apple has you covered. There is a mute button in the top right-hand corner which will allow you to turn off the audio.
Can’t or Don’t Want to Press The Talk Button Continuously?
For folks who have difficulty pressing and holding the Talk button, Apple added a method that uses just a single tap, without a hold, to talk with the Walkie-Talkie app.
Tap Once to Talk, Tap Again to Finish Walkie-Talkie Conversation
- Open the Apple Watch app > My Watch
- Go to General > Accessibility
- Toggle on Tap to Talk
- Now just tap once to talk, then tap again when done talking
Walkie Talkie Active Status Icon
Another thing you may notice is a small yellow icon on the top-middle of your watch’s screen. This is Walkie-Talkie’s active icon.
To start a Walkie-Talkie session, just tap that small icon and start talking with friends or family. If you lock your Apple Watch with a passcode, enter it first to proceed.
The active status icon is a new feature in watchOS5 for certain apps, like Phone, Workout, Audio, Maps, and Walkie-Talkie.
Similar status icons show up when your Apple Watch is charging, using Airplane Mode, Do Not Disturb, Theatre Mode, when your watch can’t connect to your iPhone or Cellular, Water Lock, pending Notifications, and when your Apple Watch is locked.
Walkie-Talkie and Airplane Mode–does it work?
The good news is that your walkie-talkie app does indeed work when in Airplane Mode–as long as you have a WiFi connection. Since Walkie-Talkie uses FaceTime Audio, anytime you can use FaceTime Audio, you can use Walkie-Talkie! It’s as simple and wonderful as that!
Can I Replay a Message in Walkie-Talkie?
Unfortunately, in the current version of Walkie-Talkie, you cannot replay any messages.
That’s because Walkie-Talkie is for short and brief conversations, relaying instantaneous messages and information. Just like a regular Walkie-Talkie–it’s a quick way to get a hold of someone with some important information.
We know many families share an Apple ID. However, Walkie-Talkie will not work when members of a family share and use the same Apple ID on their Apple Watches.
When you try and use Walkie-Talkie when sharing an Apple ID, you can invite others who share that Apple ID as contacts. However, those invitations are not visible to anyone with the same Apple ID. So they cannot see or accept the invitation on their Apple watches.
If you and your family members want to use the Walkie-Talkie app, you need to set up a different Apple ID for each family member. We suggest you all join a Family Sharing Account.
Family Sharing supports up to six family members to share iTunes, Apple Books, and App Store purchases, an Apple Music Family Subscription, and an iCloud storage plan.
A family can also share a photo album(s), calendar, and reminders, and help locate each others’ missing devices.
Apple has really thought of just about everything with the release of watchOS 5.
If you have played around with Walkie-Talkie just yet, sound off in the comments and let us know.
If you run into any issues, be sure to let us know and we’ll help to the best of our abilities.
- My daughter and I share an Apple ID. But I created a new Apple ID just for FaceTime and Walkie Talkie. We still both that same Apple ID for most everything on our iPads and iPhones. But I use the new Apple ID for FaceTime and Walkie Talkie–and it works!
Andrew is a freelance writer based on the East Coast of the US.
He has written for a variety of sites over the years, including iMore, Android Central, Phandroid, and a few others. Now, he spends his days working for an HVAC company, while moonlighting as a freelance writer at night.