Which Apple Watches Have Compass Waypoints and Backtrack Feature?

With the introduction of the Apple Watch Ultra, Series 8, and the new Watch SE, Apple has added a new Waypoint feature to the Compass app. This feature allows users to mark a location or place of interest on the map. When you’re exploring a new region, you can use Compass Waypoints to retrace your steps as you move along and know how far along the way you are from your destination. 

If you’re wondering which Apple Watch will get you this new Waypoint feature, the following post should help understand that in detail. 

Which Apple Watches have the Compass Waypoints and Backtrack features?

Compass Waypoints is a new feature that is available in the redesigned Compass app that can be accessed on watchOS 9. All of Apple’s newest Watch devices will come running watchOS 9 which includes the Apple Watch Ultra, Watch Series 8, and the new Watch SE. You will be able to drop a waypoint inside the Compass app using the Compass Waypoint icon on all these watches but only the Apple Watch Ultra comes with an extra Action button that can be used to drop a waypoint instantly. 

Does Apple Watch Series 8 have the Compass Waypoints and Backtrack features?

Yes. Since the Watch Series 8, just like the Watch Ultra and Watch SE, will run the new watchOS 9 operating system out of the box, you will be able to use the Waypoint feature inside the Compass app straightaway. Waypoints can be viewed and dropped when using any of these modes – analog view, digital view, or hybrid view. 

Unlike the Watch Ultra which has an added Action button that you can customize, you can only add waypoints inside the Compass app on the Watch Series 8 by tapping the Compass Waypoint icon. The feature works in the same fashion on the new Watch SE as well. 

Do older Apple Watches have the Compass Waypoints and Backtrack features?

Currently, only the Apple Watch Ultra, Series 8, and the new Watch SE have the Waypoint feature inside the Compass app. That’s because all three of these Watch models come running watchOS 9 out of the box. watchOS 9 is currently in beta and is set to roll out to the public on September 12, 2022. Once your current Apple Watch version gets the watchOS 9 update, you may be able to access the Waypoint feature within the Compass app right away. 

Will the Compass Waypoints and Backtrack features be released to other watches via an update?

Yes. Waypoint is a new feature in the redesigned Compass app that will release with watchOS 9 update. WatchOS 9 will come to a bunch of older devices, so you can expect to use Compass Waypoint in all of the following Watch models:

  • Apple Watch Series 7
  • Apple Watch Series 6
  • Apple Watch SE (2020)

If you own an Apple Watch Series 3 or older, you won’t see the Waypoint feature appear inside the Compass app as older models won’t be updated to watchOS 9 any time in the future. 

That’s all you need to know about the Compass Waypoints feature on Apple Watch. 

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1 Comment

  1. What’s unfortunate is at this time waypoint and backtracking can’t be used on watches paired via family set-up. It is only available if the watch is directly paired with an IPhone which I think is a severe oversight. I got my dad an ultra so he could use the waypoint feature when he goes on walks. Watch was set up through family setup so he could have his own unlimber and not get notifications not meant for him. If a phone was needed to process the data I could understand. But they were showing it off in ads as a standalone device using the features

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