Tips on How to Use Google Maps for iPhone

BY Tris Hussey

Published 22 Dec 2012

Finally it’s here! Yes, Google Maps for iPhone is here and we’ve all been putting it through its paces I’m sure. Now that we’ve had some time to use it, here are some tips, tricks, and a short walkthrough of Google Maps to help you use it more effectively.

By this time, we all pretty much get how to use mapping programs. The only real trick is finding the cool hidden gems in each app. Google started us off with their tricks, but we have a few of our own to share as well.

Top ten tricks from Google…

Google helpfully provided their top ten tips and tricks for Google Maps and I recorded a short video to show you a few of them. Here are the tips from Google (followed but the video):

  1. Drop a Pin: Just tap a location to drop a pin there. Getting rid of a pin can be trickier, but all you need to do is quickly tap somewhere else on the map. Tap too long and Maps will drop another pin. It takes practice!
  2. Street View. Just swipe up from where you dropped a pin. From there you can also get to reviews, photos and other info.
  3. Shake to send feedback. I didn’t put this in the video, but based on Google’s own internal bug submitting tool, if you drop a pin and shake your phone you can report a problem with Maps.
  4. Swipe for more. Also tricky to get to, but when you’re searching you can swipe for more things around the area. I had trouble getting this to come up all the time, myself.
  5. Tap for Views. See that little pull-tab thing in the lower right corner? Tap that and you can get to the additional layers.
  6. Preview directions. This is my favorite hidden feature I got from the Google post. Once you’re in Navigation mode, you can swipe to the left to preview the upcoming steps. Very handy if the driver wants to know all the steps ahead.
  7. One finger zoom. Another tricky one to master, but cool when you do. It’s a quick, tap, tap and hold and then if you keep your finger on the screen you can zoom in and out on the map with one finger. Once you lift your finger from the screen, Maps switches back to pan mode.
  8. Set work and home. Sure we all know where home and work are, but these are shortcuts for getting directions to and from home or work from somewhere else. What isn’t clear to me is if these are synced into your Google+ account. I’m still investigating that.
  9. Compass mode. Tap the pointer location arrow in the lower left corner and that takes the map to your current location. Tap it again and the map will use the compass to orient the map to the direction you’re facing.
  10. Save a place. After you have dropped a pin or found a place you can save that place to remember (great for hotels or places that you’re visiting) for later by just tapping the star. You can jump back to that point through your profile (the little person icon).

We all know that Apple Maps doesn’t provide transit directions. Since Maps came out, it could make a handoff to another app for transit directions. Now that Google Maps is out it’s easy to do that from Apple Maps. When you want directions via transit, just tap to open Google Maps in the next screen and Google Maps will have your starting and ending points all set to route you.


Those are some of the tips and tricks we found so far. How about you? What’s your favorite Google Maps tip or trick you’ve found?