HomeTechnologyNewsApple Watch Walkie-Talkie not working? 6 fixes to try

Apple Watch Walkie-Talkie not working? 6 fixes to try

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Tim Brookes / Instruction Geek

If Walkie-Talkie isn’t working on your Apple Watch, here are a few things you can try. First, make sure Walkie-Talkie is enabled by pressing the Digital Crown, locating Walkie-Talkie, and turning it on. You can also restart your watch and iPhone and then try again. If this doesn’t work, there are other possible solutions.

Walkie-Talkie is a feature of Apple Watch that allows you to chat with other people without having to initiate a phone call. Unfortunately, the feature often doesn’t work as advertised. If you’re having problems with the Walkie-Talkie app, you’ll find possible solutions below.

Common Walkie-Talkie Problems

The Apple Watch Walkie-Talkie feature is notoriously buggy. Perhaps the most common problem is the inability to start a chat with a friend on the service. This can happen randomly and does not appear to affect the other party’s ability to initiate contact with you.

Pending Walkie Talkie invite on Apple Watch
Tim Brookes / Instruction Geek

Sometimes this issue can be caused by one of the parties disabling Walkie-Talkie availability (either on purpose or by accident). You might even have trouble adding contacts to Walkie-Talkie, as invites have been known to get lost.

Lastly, the service can act erratically from time to time. We’ve heard that the Walkie-Talkie “squelch” sound (indicating someone is about to send you a message) glitches and repeats, often requiring a full power cycle to restore normality.

These problems come and go. Here are potential solutions if you’re having trouble with any of these issues.

Walkie-Talkie Requirements

You will need to meet Apple’s minimum requirements for Walkie-Talkie to work. The feature works on Apple Watch Series 1 or later with a minimum software version of watchOS 5.3. You’ll also need an iPhone 5S or later, running iOS 12.4 or higher.

FaceTime will also need to be set up on your device. To make sure FaceTime is enabled, go to Settings > FaceTime and turn on the feature.

To use Walkie-Talkie, your iPhone must be within range of your GPS-only Apple Watch. This range is about 35 feet (about 10 meters). If you have a GPS + Cellular model, the feature should work even out of range (if you have reception).

Walkie-Talkie only works with approved contacts. Launch the app and tap “Add Friends”. Here, choose a contact to send them an invitation. Once they accept your request, they will appear in the Walkie-Talkie app and you can tap on them to start a chat.

Make sure Walkie-Talkie is enabled

You can quickly turn Walkie-Talkie on or off using the app or a Control Center shortcut.

To use the app, press the digital crown on the side of your watch to reveal installed apps, then tap Walkie-Talkie to launch it. You will see a switch at the top of the screen that allows you to turn the service on (green) and off (grey).

To access the Control Center shortcut, make sure your Apple Watch is displaying your watch face and swipe up to display Control Center. From here, look for the Walkie-Talkie button.

If the service is active (and you are available), the yellow button will be highlighted. If it is dimmed, tap it to activate the service.

Walkie-talkie availability

Remember that anyone you try to contact will also need to do this. If you’re having trouble reaching someone, tell them to make sure their Walkie-Talkie status is set to available using this method.

RELATED: How to disable Walkie Talkie on Apple Watch

Restart the affected watch and iPhone

If you’re having problems with the Walkie-Talkie feature, restarting watchOS might solve the problem.

To reset your watch, make sure it is unlocked. Then press and hold the side button (not the digital crown, the download button below) until you see some sliders appear on the screen.

From here, tap the “Power” button in the top right corner of the screen, then slide the slider to the right to turn off your watch.

Turn off an Apple Watch

Note: In older versions of watchOS, all you need to do is hold down the side button and slide the slider. This applies to Apple Watch Series 1, 2, and 3, as software support for these models ended in watchOS 8.

It’s a good idea to have the contact you’re trying to reach also reset. The app issue may be on your end.

You don’t want random contacts to start grinding on your wrist. That’s why Apple implemented the invitation process. However, problems can arise during this process.

If your problems are limited to a specific contact, try removing them from your contact list and adding them again.

To do this, open the Walkie-Talkie app and search for the contact in question. Swipe them to the left and tap the “X” button to remove them from your contact list.

Delete and add a contact on Walkie Talkie

You will now need to add them again using the “Add Friends” button, and the contact will need to accept your invitation.

Check FaceTime settings

Apple’s Walkie-Talkie relies on FaceTime to work. Basically, you’re setting up a FaceTime call with each contact you choose to chat with via Walkie-Talkie. So, FaceTime must be enabled for the service to work.

Make sure your FaceTime settings are configured correctly

If you’re having trouble, try turning FaceTime off and back on in Settings > FaceTime on your iPhone.

While you’re there, make sure your email address is checked in the “You can be FaceTimed at” section. Finally, if you’re having issues with invitations, make sure you haven’t blocked the contact in question in the “Blocked Contacts” section.

Delete and reinstall the Walkie-Talkie app

If you’ve tried everything else, reinstalling the Walkie-Talkie app can’t hurt. To do this, find the app in your app list by tapping the Digital Crown while your watch face is displayed.

Remove Walkie Talkie app from your Apple Watch

Touch and hold the Walkie-Talkie app icon, then select “Edit apps”. Tap the “X” icon to remove the app. Your watch may ask you to confirm by tapping “Remove App”. Now, you can re-download the app by visiting the App Store on your watch and searching for Walkie-Talkie.

Consider resetting iPhone network settings

Apple Watch apps rely heavily on your iPhone for network access. Since there is no option to reset your Apple Watch’s network settings directly (even on cellular models), you can try resetting your iPhone’s network settings to see if that helps.

Warning: Please note that resetting your network settings will remove all custom settings from your device. That includes stored wireless networks and passwords, VPN profiles, custom DNS settings, and anything that wasn’t installed as part of a mobile device management (MDM) plan.

You can reset by going to Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPhone > Reset > Reset Network Settings.

Reset iPhone network settings

There is no guarantee that this will work. If your desire to use Walkie-Talkie isn’t necessarily as strong as your desire to keep all your saved wireless networks and settings, you’re better off just avoiding the app. There are many other great Apple Watch features to enjoy.

Walkie-Talkie can be temperamental

Even after trying all of these solutions, Walkie-Talkie may not work. We’ve experienced a temporary hiatus of issues after deleting and adding contacts again or rebooting devices, only for the issue to return a day or so later.

Walkie-Talkie was first introduced with watchOS 5 in 2018 and has (in our experience) not been entirely reliable. Fortunately, there are many more reasons to have an Apple Watch, such as monitoring activity and getting fit, protecting against falls and accidents, or monitoring your heart.

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