How to Use the Compass on Apple Watch

Among the standard apps on Apple Watch Series 5 or later models there is also the Compass, useful for seeing at a glance which way you are going. The app shows the direction the top of your watch is pointing, while the orientation is displayed in the upper left corner. If the Compass app is removed from the iPhone, it is also removed from the Apple Watch.

By default, the compass uses magnetic north. To switch to true north, just open Settings on your Apple Watch, tap Compass, then turn on the “Use true north” option.

The compass works in several positions. For the most accurate reading, Apple recommends holding the Apple Watch horizontally to align the cross-shaped pointers in the center of the compass. As we move, the red cone surrounding the compass needle shows the accuracy of the heading. A narrow cone indicates better accuracy than a wider cone.

By turning the Digital Crown up, you can see the altitude, grade, and coordinates.

Set the location

To set the location, just swipe down, then tap Add Tracking. Then, use the Digital Crown to adjust.

Add detection

To add a bearing, simply open the Compass app, rotate the Digital Crown up, select “Add Bearing,” face Apple Watch at the bearing, then tap Done.

To edit a bearing, you need to rotate the Digital Crown up, select “Edit Bearing”, face Apple Watch at the new bearing, then tap Done.

If you want to remove the bearing, simply rotate the Digital Crown up, then select “Clear Bearing”.

Add the Compass complication to the Apple Watch face

You can add the elevation complication to the Apple Watch face to view elevation with a simple glance. When the watch face is shown, just press and hold the screen, then tap Edit. At this point, scroll all the way to the left. If complications are available for the watch face, they are shown on the last screen. You can tap a complication to select it, rotate the Digital Crown to Compass, then choose Altitude. Press the Digital Crown to save your changes, then tap the watch face to view it.

The Compass app will not show altitude or coordinates if the Location is turned off. To turn Location on or off, open the Settings app on Apple Watch, tap Privacy, then “Location”.using compass in Apple Watch


Apple explains that the Compass app can be affected by the magnetic materials found in some bands. The presence of magnets can affect the accuracy of the compass sensors. The leather mesh strap, leather loop, Milanese loop, and earlier versions of Apple’s Sport Loop watch bands use magnets or magnetic materials that could compromise the accuracy of the compass. Compass operation is not affected by Sport Loop bands introduced in September 2019 or later or by any Sport band.


Developers can use compass information in their apps to create richer experiences or show at a glance which way you are going.

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