At its WWDC keynote presentation on 4 June, Apple unveiled watchOS 5, the upcoming operating system update for the Apple Watch (except the first-gen model, which misses out). This adds a wide range of new features, including a cool tool called Walkie-Talkie which we're going to focus on in this article.
What is Walkie-Talkie?
Walkie-Talkie is a new app for the Apple Watch that comes with the watchOS 5 update. It's designed to replicate the experience of using an old-fashioned walkie-talkie, and lets you talk in real time to another person, via your watch.
How to set up Walkie-Talkie
When you open the Walkie-Talkie app you'll see a list of people you can talk to. To add new ones, tap the plus sign at the bottom of the list, and Walkie-Talkie will suggest people from your wider contacts list. Select one and it will then appear as a new yellow icon on the list.
In this way you can add multiple contacts to Walkie-Talkie's list. Just keep tapping the plus sign each time you want to add someone new.
How to initiate a Walkie-Talkie conversation
Open the app - there's a new complication that lets you do this directly from your watch face - and tap one of the yellow contact icons in the main screen to start talking to that person. (There's a slider toggle at the top labelled Available. If this is green then you'll be able to see who is actually available to talk to.)
The first time you contact someone via Walkie-Talkie they will have to give permission for the conversation to proceed, but this is a one-time-only permission: the button they tap is labelled Always Allow. From then on, your devices will regard each other as trusted, and will allow conversations to be initiated unilaterally by either party. The other will receive a haptic buzzing and then the conversation will begin.
How to use Walkie-Talkie
The app has an incredibly simple interface: just a massive yellow circle labelled TALK. Hold down the button and you can talk; let go and you just listen. It's as simple as that.
There's one other piece of screen furniture, and that's a mute button at the top right. Tap this to shut off the audio.