How to Use the Apple Maps App

of 03

Introduction to Apple Maps App

using apple maps
Apple Maps in action. Apple Maps copyright Apple Inc.

The built-in Maps app that comes with all iPhones, iPod touch music players and iPads uses a technology called Assisted GPS, which combines standard GPS technology with information derived from cellular data networks for fast and accurate GPS readings.

The Maps app includes many features to help you get where you are going, including:

  • Turn-By-Turn Directions - With turn-by-turn navigation, Siri gives verbal instructions regarding turns, exits, and distances. It is possible to follow Siri's voice and reach your destination without looking at the map while you travel.
  • Map Quality - The quality and the clarity of the maps improves with each new iOS version.
  • 3D - The 3D option transforms maps from flat images to images with depth that you can move in and out of to get directions, find locations of interest, and to browse the globe. 
  • Flyover - This feature gives 3D a new meaning. Instead of just seeing a top-down view of locations, Flyover gives you real-world photos of major metropolitan areas that look as though you're flying over them in a plane or helicopter. You can explore a city without leaving your couch.
  • Transit - Back by popular demand in iOS 10, the Transit option customizes transit information for selected cities—subway, bus, train, and ferry—with the stations and lines displayed on the map. One tap brings up schedules. 
  • Nearby - The Nearby feature shows categories of businesses nearby, such as Food, Drink, Shopping, and Fun, among others. Each category can be expanded to a list of nearby destinations in that category.
  • Rides - Beginning with iOS 10, Apple Maps can hail a Lyft or Uber car for you.

Apple Maps is available for any device that can run iOS 6 or higher.

Continue to the next page to learn how to use Turn-By-Turn Directions to get where you are going.

of 03

Turn-By-Turn Navigation Using Apple Maps

apple maps turn by turn
Apple Maps Turn-By-Turn Navigation. Apple Maps copyright Apple Inc.

While early versions of Maps gave driving directions using the iPhone's built-in GPS, the user had to keep looking at the screen because the phone couldn't speak. In iOS 6 and higher, Siri changed that. Now, you can keep your eyes on the road and let your iPhone tell you when to turn. Here's how.

  1. Begin by tapping the arrow on the screen to identify your current location.
  2. Tap the Search bar and type a destination. This can be a street address or city, a person's name if their address is in your iPhone's Contacts app or a business such as a movie theater or restaurant.  Click on one of the options that appear. If you already have a location saved, select it from the list that appears. In newer versions of iOS, you can tap one of the icons that nearby shopping, heath, restaurant, transportation and other classifications of destinations.
  3. A pin or icon drops onto the map representing your destination. In most cases, the pin has a small label on it for identification. If not, tap the pin or icon to display information.
  4. At the bottom of the screen, select the mode of travel. Although most people use Maps as they are driving, routes are also available in categories of Walk, Transit and, new in iOS 10, Ride, which lists nearby driving services such as Lyft. The suggested route changes depending on the method of travel. In some cases, there will be no transit route, for example. 
  5. Swipe to the bottom of the screen and tap Directions to add your current location to the route planner. (Tap Route in earlier versions of the app.)
  6. The Maps app calculates the quickest routes to your destination. If you plan to drive, you'll probably see three suggested routes with the travel time for each displayed. Tap on the route you plan to take.
  7. Tap Go or Start (depending on your iOS version).
  8. The app begins speaking to you, giving you the directions you need to get to your destination. As you travel, you are represented by the blue circle on the map.
  9. Each direction and the distance to that direction shows on the screen and updates each time you make a turn or take an exit.
  10. When you get to your destination or want to stop receiving turn-by-turn directions, tap End.

Those are the basics, but here are a few tips you may find helpful:

  • If you'd rather see a list of the directions, rather than having them spoken to you, tap the button at the bottom with the three parallel lines. You won't get location-aware directions this way, but your phone won't be telling you what to do, either. Tap Done to return to the turn-by-turn option. To get the direction list In iOS 10, tap the location next to the green Go button. 
  • You'll see small icons on the map for things like restaurants, gas stations, pharmacies, hospitals and more. You can tap on these icons for more information about them and update your directions to take you there if you need a meal or a travel break.
  • Maps use real-time traffic information. If accidents or roadwork are slowing your trip, the Maps app attempts to come up with a quicker route to your destination. If it finds a better route, an alert pops up on screen. Tap it to switch to the new route.

Find out more about Apple Maps options on the next screen.

of 03

Apple Maps Options

apple maps options
Apple Maps options. Apple Maps copyright Apple Inc.

Beyond the core features of Maps, the app offers a number of options that can give you better information. You access almost all of these options by tapping the turned-up corner at the bottom right of the window or the information icon (the letter "i" with a circle around it) in later versions of iOS. These features include:

  • Bookmark Locations - Want to make it easy to get to work, home, a friend's house, or your favorite coffee shop no matter where you are? Then bookmark those locations. To do that, search for the location. Tap the pin for that location or its label (or the information icon, in some cases) to add the location as a bookmark. Now you'll be able to use the name of the bookmark (say, Home) to get directions instead of using the address.
  • Types of Maps - You can choose from three kinds of maps. Standard is the map of roads and geography that looks drawn by a computer and has icons. Hybrid overlays roads and city names onto a photo map created from satellite images. Satellite offers just a satellite image without any road markings, city names, or other computer-added information.
  • Traffic Information - To include information about traffic jams or slow spots on your map, tap Show Traffic. To turn it off, tap Hide Traffic. In iOS 10, access the Traffic section in the information icon for the same features.
  • 3D - This option works on the main screen. Tap it to view the map in 3D. Pinch, drag and rotate the map to manipulate it. In iOS 10, this setting moved to the information icon. Click it and select "Satellite" for the satellite view. Drag with two fingers to see the 3D view. 
  • Flyover - Not every location has this option; it for available mostly for major cities. When it's available, the 3D button changes to look like a skyline. Tap it and you'll be able to zoom around buildings and through streets. Tap it again to turn the feature off.
  • Printing Directions - Want to print out that list of directions to your destination? Tap Print and you can send them to any AirPrint-compatible printer for a hard copy. In iOS 10, tap Share at the bottom of the list of directions for options that include Print.
  • Reporting Problems - Help Apple improve the Maps app by reporting errors. Tap the Information icon on any map and select Report an Issue. You may request that Apple follows up on your report by email.