The Apple Watch Backtrack feature is available on Apple Watch Ultra, SE, and Series 6 and later.

If you’ve got an Apple Watch Series 6 or later, and Apple Watch SE, or the Apple Watch Ultra, you can use a great feature called Backtrack that helps you retrace your steps should you be lost out in the open.

Backtrack is in the league of other Apple Watch safety features, such as the Apple Watch Ultra Siren and the Apple Watch’s Crash Detection.

Here’s what you need to know about the Apple Watch Backtrack feature…

Apple Watch Backtrack: What It Is & How To UsePin

Apple Watch Backtrack: What Is It?

Backtrack is a feature of the new Compass app found in watchOS 9, which runs on the Apple Watch Series 4 and later. However, the actual Backtrack feature does not work on the Apple Watch Series 4 or Series 5. You need the Apple Watch Series 6, Series 7, Series 8, SE, or Apple Watch Ultra to use Backtrack.

Backtrack allows you to tell the Apple Watch to start monitoring your location. If you get lost, you can use Backtrack to retrace your steps back the way you came. The Backtrack feature of the Compass app will point you in the right direction.

Apple describes Backtrack for the Apple Watch Ultra like this:

Backtrack uses GPS data to create a path showing where the user has been, which is useful if they get lost or disoriented and need help retracing their steps. It can also turn on automatically in the background when off the grid. With a single press of the Action button, users can quickly drop a Compass Waypoint or start or view a Backtrack.


Apple says Backtrack is designed for use in remote settings. Think the hillsides, mountains, or prairies you may be hiking through. Backtrack is not designed for city or near-home use.

Apple Watch Backtrack: What Is The Compass App?

The Apple Watch Compass app got a redesign in watchOS 9, including the addition of the Backtrack feature. Besides the Backtrack feature, the Compass app is – unsurprisingly – designed to be a compass built into your Apple Watch.

The Compass app allows you to see your bearing, incline, elevation, and coordinates. The Compass app also lets you set Waypoints and, if course, provides the Backtrack feature.

Apple Watch Backtrack: Requirements

Before you can use Apple Watch Backtrack, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • Have an Apple Watch Ultra, Apple Watch SE, or Apple Watch Series 6 or later
  • Have watchOS 9 or later installed.

How To Use Apple Watch Backtrack

Using Apple eWatch Backtrack is pretty easy. When you want the use the feature, do the following:

  1. Open the Compass app on your Apple Watch.
  2. Tap the Backtrack button (it’s a circle with feet marks inside).
  3. Tap Start to begin recording your route.
  4. Now if you become lost, you can press the circle pause button.
  5. Then press the Retrace Steps button. Now on the compass, the location where you first started will be marked. Begin walking in that direction and you will see the path that will guide you back to your starting location appear as a white line in the Compass app.
  6. Once you get back to the start, you can press the animated steps button and then the Delete Steps button to delete your Backtrack route.

Backtrack using the Apple Watch Ultra Action Button

If you have an Apple Watch Ultra, you can enable Backtrack without opening the Compass app. You do this by setting the Action button to start a Backtrack. Here’s how to set the Action button to do this:

  1. On your Apple Watch Ultra, open the Settings app.
  2. Tap Action Button.
  3. Select Backtrack as the Action.

Now when you press the Action Button on the Apple Watch Ultra, Backtrack will automatically start in the Compass app.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments