How to use the Compass on Apple Watch?

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 in which 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.

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By default, the compass uses magnetic north. To switch to geographic north, just open Settings on the Apple Watch, tap Compass, then activate the “Use geographic 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. When we move, the red cone surrounding the compass needle shows the accuracy of the direction. A narrow cone indicates better accuracy than a wider cone.

By rotating the Digital Crown upwards, it is possible to see the altitude, slope 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”, point Apple Watch towards the bearing, then tap Done.

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

To remove the bearing, simply rotate the Digital Crown upwards, 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 dial, 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 the altitude or coordinates if the Location option is not active. To enable or disable Location, open the Settings app on Apple Watch, tap Privacy, then “Location”.


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 where you are going at a glance.

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