How do you search for locations and get turn-by-turn navigation on your iPhone? With Maps, of course!

As a Los Angeles native, I grew up with the Thomas Guide — a gigantic, encyclopedia-sized street-level map that helped you navigate the often-confusing and strange freeways of the LA Basin. It was pretty much a given that when you turned sixteen, your most prized birthday gift would be that Guide — otherwise, you couldn't find your way around!

But times have changed: Instead of the Thomas Guide, sixteen year olds have an iPhone to guide their way through city streets and subway lines. And instead of numbered paper sections, we have live traffic information and trip tracking in the form of Apple's Maps app. 

The company's app is built right into your iPhone or iPad. All you have to do is look! Here's how to use the new Maps app to find your location and get directions.

How to view and share your current location

When you first launch the Maps app, you'll be greeted with a 2D beige line map, a blue indicator circle, and a search bar at the bottom. That blue indicator notes your current location as tracked by GPS and Wi-Fi-based Assisted GPS — as you travel, you'll see a pulsing blue circle around it, along with an arrow that displays the direction your iPhone is facing.

How to bring up your your current location

If this location indicator disappears or you decide to pan elsewhere on the virtual map tiles, you still can return to your location at any time with the tap of a button. Here's how!

  • In Maps, tap the arrow outline button in the upper right corner to lock the app on your current location. The arrow will fill to a solid blue.
  • Tap the arrow again (or tap it twice) to change the arrow to a solid forward-facing symbol: This locks your location into Compass lock, and orients the map in the direction you're facing, rather than in traditional North/South form.
  • To release the location lock, tap the arrow once more to return it to outline status (or, if in Compass lock, you can additionally tap the Compass icon below the arrow to return to a simple location lock).

How to mark your current location

Want to save the location where you're standing for future travels, or make sure your favorite pizza place shows up on the map the next time you're looking for great grub? You can use Maps's Mark buttons to add pins and even save places permanently as favorites.

To mark your current location, do the following:

  1. In Maps, tap the info button (looks like an i) in the upper right corner of the screen.
  2. In the resulting popover, select Mark My Location. A red pin will appear on your map.
  3. The resulting pin displays the current location along with latitude and longitude; swipe the popover up from the bottom to access buttons for adding the location to your favorites permanently, adding it to a Contact card, or removing the marker (if you decide you no longer need it).

Alternatively, you can tap on your location indicator to mark your current location, or tap and hold anywhere on the map tile to drop a pin.

How to share your current location

Whether you're meeting for lunch or letting your family know where you are in a theme park, you can use Maps's Share Location option to send a mini-map of your current whereabouts to whomever you choose.

  1. In Maps, tap the arrow outline button in the upper right corner to lock the app on your current location. The arrow will fill to a solid blue.
  2. Tap your location indicator. Your contact picture should appear above it in a tiny bubble.
  3. In the popover that results, tap the Share My Location button.
  4. Choose how to share: via AirDrop, Messages, Mail, Reminders, or other services.

How to change your map view to Transit or Satellite mode and view traffic

Apple's Maps app offers three different modes for viewing your trip: 2D/3D line maps, transit lines, or Satellite mode. By default, Map is the traditional view presented, but here's how to switch between them.

  1. In Maps, tap the info button (looks like an i) in the upper right corner of the screen.
  2. Tap on the Maps view you wish to see: Map Transit, or Satellite.
  3. Close the settings screen by tapping the X button in the upper right corner of the popover.

If you're planning your daily commute and want to avoid slow-moving traffic, you can also use Maps to show you real-time traffic conditions on major routes around the city.

  1. In Maps, tap the info button (looks like an i) in the upper right corner of the screen.
  2. Slide the Traffic switch to the On position.

You'll now see important traffic conditions marked on the map — orange and red lines represent moderate and heavy traffic, respectively. Maps also includes markers detailing the cause of the slowdown, whether it's construction, road closures, or a major accident; you can tap each icon to see more details.

How to browse or search for a location

Whether you know your destination, need to revisit a prior destination, or want to poke around your neighborhood, Maps has an option for you.

How to browse options around your current location

  1. In the Maps app, tap on the search bar; on the iPhone, it will slide up to fill the screen.
  2. Right below the search bar, Maps offers Smart Suggestions in categories like Food, Drinks, Shopping, Travel, Services, Fun, Health, and Transportation. You can tap on any category to get a list of popular options in that category, as well as seven sub-categories. (For instance, Food includes the sub-categories Popular, Restaurants, Groceries, Fast Food, Coffee Shops, Bakeries, and Desserts.)
  3. Tap the location you wish to view on the map.

How to search through previous locations and smart suggestions

  1. In the Maps app, swipe up on the bottom search bar (where the dark grey swipe handle appears).
  2. Depending on the severity of your swipe, you'll either see a partial or full list of previous directions, searches, a few restaurant suggestions, and at the bottom, your Favorites list.
  3. Tap on the location you wish to view on the map, or an old set of directions you wish to re-load.

How to search for a specific location

Already have an address in mind? Here's how you find it on the map.

  1. In the Maps app, tap on the search bar; on the iPhone, it will slide up to fill the screen.
  2. Type the address of the location you wish to find.
  3. The point of interest will appear on the map.

You can also find locations via Siri:

  1. Press the Home button or trigger Hey Siri.
  2. Ask Siri to "Show me [location]".
  3. Enter your passcode or fingerprint (if asked)

How to take a Flyover tour of a famous city

If you're viewing certain cities (Maps currently offers over 250 locations around the world), you may see a tiny "3D" notation next to their names. This indicates that Apple has created a fully-dimensional Flyover map of the city from the air that highlights local architecture and attractions. You can view these at any time.

  1. In Maps, locate the city you'd like to virtually visit with a Flyover tour.
  2. Tap on the 3D icon next to the city's name.
  3. Select the Flyover Tour button.
  4. You can end the tour at any point by tapping the End button.

Now you're all set to enjoy a sweeping, cinematic tour. While the tour takes you around the city automatically, you're also free to zoom in and rotate the screen at any point during the Flyover. Once you're finished taking a closer look, the guided tour will resume. You can end it at any time by pressing the End button.

How to request directions

Once you've found the place you wish to visit, let the Maps app help you get there.

  1. In the Maps app, tap on the search bar to enter your query or select a previous route/point of interest.
  2. A pin will appear in the map with a brief information card that details the name, location, price, and average Yelp review rating. Tap the blue Directions button below that to enter into the Directions screen.

How to select a route in Maps on iPhone and iPad

Once you've asked for directions, Maps often gives you several options for visiting your destination, and recommends one for the fastest travel. If you're interested in taking another route, however, you can choose it, instead.

  1. With the Directions screen open on your iPhone or iPad, scroll up on the info pane to view all available routes, along with the option of how you'd like to navigate: by car, walking, transit, or ride-share.

    TIP: You can further customize these routes in Maps by choosing Avoid Tolls or Avoid Highways under driving options, or what transit types to search for under the transit options button at the bottom of the info pane.

  2. Once you've decided upon the route of your choice, tap the green Go button next to the entry.

How to change your directions options from driving to walking, transit, or ride-share options

Maps isn't just for driving directions: You can also get walking directions, transit directions (for buses, subway and light rail, commuter rail, and the ferry where available), and ride-share options (where available).

  1. With the Directions screen open on your iPhone or iPad, scroll up on the info pane to view all available routes, along with the option of how you'd like to navigate: by car, walking, transit, or ride-share.
  2. Tap on Drive, Walk, Transit, or Ride to look at various options for your journey. You can preview journeys on the map by tapping on any entry, and tapping again to view a detailed step-by-step list as well as a button to Share your itinerary.
  3. When you're ready to pick an option, tap the green Go button next to the entry of your choice.

How to change your starting location point and time

By default, Maps starts its directions from your current location immediately, but you can tell the app to create a different itinerary.

  1. With the Directions screen open on your iPhone or iPad, scroll up on the info pane to view all available routes.
  2. To change your starting location or swap the origin and destination, tap From My Location.
  3. If you're viewing Transit directions, you can also tap the Leaving Soon field next to your current location to set a time to leave or arrive by.

How to master turn-by-turn directions

The Maps app in iOS 10 offers more options inside the directions screen than ever before without cluttering up its interface. When you first launch a set of directions, the Maps app will transition into a big picture of your current starting point on the map along with initial written instructions at the top.

Along the bottom of the screen, you have your estimated time of arrival, how long it will take you to drive, overall mileage, and a big red End button to close the directions screen.

You can pinch on the map to zoom in or out on your route at any time, but there are also a number of additional features you can access while in directions mode. Here's what they are.

How to add or remove a stop on your route

Need gas or a quick coffee on your route while you drive? Maps offers easy-to-press buttons to quickly search for the nearest available gas stations, food options, and coffee while you're on the road.

  1. In Maps's directions mode, swipe up on the bottom toolbar to reveal additional options.
  2. Tap the Gas Stations, Restaurants/Fast Food, or Coffee buttons to view options along your route.
  3. You can scroll through the pop-over to view places along with their additional route time. To choose a stop on your route, just tap the green Go button and the stop will be immediately added.
  4. Decided to skip that location after all? You can remove the stop at any time by tapping the blue Resume Route To banner at the top of the screen.

How to view your full route on the map or in text form

Want to get a birds' eye view of your route? Use the Overview button.

  1. In Maps's directions mode, swipe up on the bottom toolbar to reveal additional options.
  2. Tap the Overview button. Your map area will zoom out to reveal your full trip.
  3. To return to the turn-by-turn map screen, swipe up on the bottom toolbar and press Resume.

If you instead want to see your full route as turn-by-turn text directions, you can do that, too.

  1. In Maps's directions mode, swipe up on the bottom toolbar to reveal additional options.
  2. Tap the Details button to reveal the full list of directions.
  3. To return to the turn-by-turn map screen, tap the Done button.

How to change the guidance volume for your directions

Want Maps's voice-based guidance system to either pipe up or sit down? You can easily access those controls on the fly.

  1. In Maps's directions mode, swipe up on the bottom toolbar to reveal additional options.
  2. Tap on the Audio button.
  3. Under the Navigation Voice preferences, choose which you prefer: No Voice, Low Volume, Normal Volume, Loud Volume. If you've chosen an audible directions option, you can also decide whether to pause spoken audio (like podcasts or audiobooks) when the Maps app's voice interjects.

How to end turn-by-turn navigation

When you complete your navigation, the Maps app will announce your arrival and automatically end its directions, returning you to the general map screen. If you want to close your iPhone or iPad's directions earlier, however, you need only press the big red End button, followed by the End Route confirmation.

Questions about Maps?

Let us know in the comments!