Thu. Jun 8th, 2023

Shot of a young couple using GPS on their mobile phone during a road trip.

Dean Mitchell/Getty Images

GPS navigation is second nature for a lot of people around the world. I’ve been living in a new city and state for almost a year now and I still rely on Waze to get me to the grocery store. 

I’m not sure if it’s similar to decision fatigue, but I’ve got so many balls in the air right now that learning different routes from my daily ones sounds exhausting. Considering that more than a billion people use Google Maps each month, I’m not alone. 

Waze, available for iOS or Android, is my go-to because of all the extra perks: proactive route recalculation, warnings for sightings of stopped cars, crashes, or animals reported by other drivers, and user interface. 

And when I learned I could change the voice it gives information in, Waze quickly became my favorite. 

Also: My 5 must-have gadgets for work travel now

Whether you’re planning a road trip to visit family for the holidays, or use its guidance every day like me, changing the voice in Waze is sure to add some entertainment to your drive.

How to change the voice in Waze

Hand holding up an iPhone running Waze in front of a neighborhood intersection

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

Open the Waze app on your phone. You don’t have to be logged in to an account to change the voice of the navigation. 

Screenshot of iPhone home page with arrow pointing to Waze app

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

As soon as you open Waze, you’ll see the map with your current location, a search bar, and a My Waze bar. Tap on the voice or sound icon at the bottom right of your screen to access Sound Settings.

Screenshot of iPhone with open Waze app and arrow pointing to voice icon

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

This is where your Waze sound settings reside. You can toggle the sound alerts on or off here, as well as choose your voice directions. Tap on Voice directions to choose a different voice for navigation.

Screenshot of iPhone with open Waze app and arrow pointing to Voice directions

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

Probably the most fun part of this: Now you get to choose the voice to give you directions. The options are always changing, as Waze features different celebrities at different times. Right now, you can get navigation directions from Christina Aguilera or Boy George, for example. Or choose the Terminator, a boy band, a ’90s pop star, or an ’80s aerobics instructor, just to name a few.

And Waze features not only English voices, but different languages as well. Just scroll down to find them.

Screenshot of iPhone with open Waze app and different voices

Scroll down on your phone to find even more options and languages.

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

Also: Did you know Alexa is bilingual?

Does Waze have a Christmas theme?

You can change the Waze app to use the Christmas theme, for a limited time, and even have Santa or Mrs. Claus be the one to give you voice directions. If that doesn’t scream National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation 2022 for a road trip, I don’t know what does.

Three iPhone screenshots of the Christmas theme of the Waze app

Waze’s Drive with Santa really is a whole experience.

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

 To add the holiday theme, follow these steps:

  1. Open Waze.
  2. Tap on My Waze.
  3. Select Drive with Santa.
  4. Customize your Moods, Car, and Voice directions.

Can you have Morgan Freeman or Yoda give you directions?

Waze rotates different celebrity voices at different times. Unfortunately, Morgan Freeman or Yoda voices are not available on the Waze app. However, you can have Waze give you directions using the voices of Terminator, Boy George, Master Chief or Escharum from Halo, Maisie from Sea Beast, Kehlani, Christina Aguilera, or Andy Field, just to name a few.

Can you get Waze directions in your own voice?

Fun fact: You can give yourself directions on Waze by recording different prompts in your own voice. To create your own voice directions, follow these steps:

  1. Open Waze.
  2. Tap on the sound icon to access Sound Settings.
  3. Select Voice directions.
  4. Tap on Add a voice.
  5. Follow the prompts to record your own voice, Waze will prompt you to read different statements that it will use to guide you on road navigations.

Does Waze have other languages aside from English?

In addition to English, Waze has a variety of different languages and different voice options for many of them, such as Dutch, UK English, Spanish, Tagalog, French, even Euskara, and many more.

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