Tips and tricks for easier navigation on Google Maps for Android, iOS, desktop


Google Maps saw a range of new updates last year for both Android and iOS that allows you to easily navigate to your destination, as well as find interesting spots along the way. Here is a look at some of the latest updates to Google Maps and some of the features that have been around for a while, but may have simply passed you by.

Google Maps knows where you are going

Depending on the time of the day, Google Maps will predict where you are heading before you even add a destination. Using existing addresses like work’, ‘home’ and recently added addresses, Driving Mode will be able to predict where you are heading and provide traffic conditions and travel times for these routes. This latest feature is only available for Android users.

To use Driving Mode you can either add a shortcut to your home screen or select ‘Start Driving’ from the sidebar menu in Google Maps.

Google Maps - Driving mode

Shop during the quiet times

You can avoid the busiest times of a store but checking out the business’s information page and scrolling down to the business hours’ graph that will show the busiest days and times for that particular store. The feature is available on desktop, Android and iOS.

Easily recall all the places you have been

If you have Google Maps installed on your smartphone, the Your Timeline feature will be able to show exactly where you have been on a given day, month or year, including the routes you took and the addresses that you visited. Available on desktop and Android.

For Google to track you, you must enable Location History. Sign into Google Maps on your computer > My Accounts > Personal info & privacy > scroll to Places you go. The slider is blue if Location History is on.

To view your Timeline, click Manage Activity below the slider and input the specific date.

Google Maps - Timeline

Check what the typical traffic is like on your route

A feature that Google Maps has had for a while is the ability to check out what the typical traffic patterns are like for a certain route, allowing you to plan ahead and adjust your departure time. The feature only works on desktop and not on the mobile apps.

Click on the three lines in the search bar > Traffic > Live traffic > Typical traffic > pick the day of the week and time and you will see what the traffic patterns are like.

Google Maps goes offline

A much-anticipated update was the ability to access Google Maps while offline. Android users received offline Google Maps in November while the functionality rolled out to iOS users a month later.

You can search for either a city, county or country and download the area easily by tapping Download or go to Offline Areas in the Google Maps menu and tap on the ‘+’ button.

Google Maps - offline

Making a detour just got simpler

Google Maps for Android allows you to search for nearby gas stations, restaurants, coffee shops etc. without leaving navigation mode. If you search for a gas station, Google Maps for both Android and iOS will show you the gas prices so you can get the cheapest option.

When you are in navigation mode, simply tap the search button and choose an item from the drop-down menu. Alternatively, use voice search to find something more specific.

Google Maps - gas prices

Send directions to your device

Be prepared for your trip and send directions from your computer through to your smartphone or tablet.

Find your destination on the desktop version of Google Maps > Send to Phone > select your device > you will receive a link on your device to the mobile version of Google Maps. Ensure you log into the same Google Maps account on both your desktop and device.

Never miss your bus again

Google Maps offers real-time transit information, including live arrivals for buses, metros, subway systems and canceled routes, for major cities around the world. Maps transits includes 18,000 cities, including Budapest, Chicago and Seattle, across 70 countries.

Google Maps - transit

Find the restroom in a busy shopping mall

Finding a restroom in a busy shopping mall, convention center, airport or sports arena is as simple as looking on Google Maps.

Zoom into a large indoor space on the desktop or mobile version of Google Maps and see whether an indoor map is available, using your smartphone you can also switch between the different floors.

Main image credit: ErikaWittlieb; Pixabay | Google Maps blog