Google Maps is perhaps the most accessible application of all time, not counting Pokemon Go of course.
To utilize Google Maps essential features, all you really need to do is to first search for a place and then follow the direction to your desired location. That’s it. It is that easy to navigate to any place that you can find on your Google Maps.
With that said, if you are willing to put in just a little bit more effort, you’ll find that Google Maps has a ton of features buried beneath its main menu surface.
These features aren’t your run-of-the-mill color customization options or favorite theme sections. These are actual useful and quite underestimated features that can help you to become a Google Maps Pro.
Most people access Google Maps on their smartphones. And since so many people use it, Google has to roll out updates on a regular basis in order to keep the engine running smoothly.
Over the last few weeks Google has introduced quite a few changes and as a result, users have more features at their fingertips than ever before.
But these newly added features are very easy to miss. If you want to make your navigation efforts as efficient as possible, then you need to read the following tips and tricks carefully.
Here are the 13 Google Maps tips that are almost guaranteed to make you a Google Maps master, which is a lot more useful than becoming a Pokemon Go master.
Google Maps Offline Mode
Perhaps you might have already suspected this by Google Maps doesn’t store all its map data on your storage device i.e., your smartphone. That is in stark contrast to dedicated GPS units which simply aren’t a practical solution for smartphones because of limited available space.
So if you’re traveling to a place where the reception is patchy such as during international travel, then Google Maps allows users to download specific areas of the map which are relevant to them.
All of that is possible without the use of an internet connection.
To do that just tap the hamburger button which is located in the top left corner of Google Maps application main screen.
Then select Offline areas.
When that’s done then, just hit the plus button which is located in the bottom right corner. Drag the map to the specific area you want to download and then tap Download.
Remember, you can pinch your smartphone screen to include more or less of the map area.
It is also a good idea to download Google Maps while you’re connected to a Wifi connection since some of these map downloads can exceed 100MB in size.
You wouldn’t want to run out of your mobile data plan in the first week or would you?
If you’re using Google Maps on an Android smartphone then, as a result of some recent updates, Google Maps will allow you to downloaded Google Maps either on your internal storage or an external SD card.
If Google Maps doesn’t automatically give you the storage option when downloading a specific map then tap the setting menu button in the top right corner of the Offline areas menu and then select Storage preferences.
Google Maps Wi-Fi only Mode
If you want to save more of your mobile data plan while navigating then, make full use of a new feature that Google added to Google Maps in the past few weeks.
The new features enabled the Android version of the app to control whether Google Map uses a Wi-Fi network or any network including mobile data package.
When you have this feature turned on, Google Maps will only work when you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network.
Of course, if you have downloaded some areas for offline use, you’ll be able to navigate on that too.
To enable this option, first, tap on the hamburger button in the top left corner of the app screen (you do remember that this feature is only for Android mobile version right?) and then scroll down to the bottom.
Locate Settings option and tap the toggle switch for Wi-Fi only.
Remember, the iPhone version of Google Maps doesn’t have this feature yet. But there is a workaround for that.
Simple disable Google Maps access to your mobile data plan. To do that, on an iPhone, go to Settings and then to Cellular.
After that, simply switch the toggle for Google Maps.
Now You Can Mark Relevant/Important Places On Maps
You can also add your home address along with your office address to Your Places in Google Maps.
Google Maps can then send you an alert regarding traffic before you leave your house for office or leave your office to go to your home in the evening.
Google Maps also makes places, that you have marked, easier to spot on the map.
If you want to mark your locations in order to highlight them on the map then simply go to the Your Places menu in Google Maps for Android and tap on the action overflow button for Home.
Then tap on Change Icon and select a unique sticker from the provided list.
Then, hit Save when you have finished editing your options.
Your home location should be marked with a sticker now. Check Google Maps map area to make sure.
Use Maps To Send Directions From Your Computer to Your Smartphone
If you’re one of those smartphone users who still prefer their desktop computer to their handheld device, then Google Maps also allows you to plan your trips from a computer.
You can then send the directions to your phone via the internet.
To do that, first, sign in to your relevant Google account and search for a location using the website for Google Maps.
After that, select the particular location. When you do that, you’ll be able to see an option labeled as “Send directions to your phone” right below the specific listing.
Click on the link button.
When you’ve done that, you’ll be able to see a drop down menu appear with all connected devices along with options such as Email and Text.
Now simply tap on your required method of sharing directions. The website will automatically send these directions to your selected device.
If you want to access more share options from Google Maps website and Google Maps Android app then simply go to your Google Maps Android app and tap the action overflow button located in the top-right corner of the screen.
After that, choose Share directions to bring up the default share menu of your particular OS.
Mark Multiple Locations For A Single Trip Using Maps
Thanks to recent updates, Google Maps now allows users to mark directions to more than a single place simultaneously.
To do that, first search for your specific locations.
Here is the tricky part so pay close attention. You need to tap the action overflow button in the upper right corner of your screen before tapping the navigation button.
After you have hit the action overflow button, select Add Stop.
Then you can search for more locations and add them to your list till your trip is completed.
Users can also use the drag and drop option to change the order of destinations. That way, users can plan out for the most efficient route which will save them time and fuel costs.
Know Your Travel History Using Maps
Generally, people use Google Maps to search for and navigate to new, previously unvisited, locations. But now you can see the list of places you have been to in the past using Google Maps.
To do that, open up Google Maps app on your Android phone and, as usual, tap the hamburger button at the top.
Select Your Timeline to see your travel history. You can see all the places you have used Google Maps for and the time you spent at each of those locations on each specific day.
You can take advantage of this feature to find a place you went to in the past but can’t remember the name of.
Your history of visited locations can also act as proof if you ever need one.
So if you do want to see the list of locations you’ve been to in the past, on your Android phone of course, then simply open up the side menu and select Your places.
After that tap the Visited tab and check out the list of places you have gone to in the past week or so. The list will also show you the duration of your stay at each of your previously visited places.
Utilize Extra Google Drive Storage
You may not know this, but Google rewards users to leave reviews for the places they have visited using Google Maps.
Google’s Local Guide program relies on the local people of a particular location to be the application’s eyes and ears.
When users put up a review or a photo or answer a question about a particular place, they get rewarded with points. You also earn points when you add and/or edit new places.
When users have earned enough points, Google allows them to have early access to new Google products and features.
Google also allows these users to contribute in exclusive workshops and Hangouts.
If a user a really puts in the work for an extended period of time, then Google rewards that user with 1TB of Google Drive storage free of charge for a whole year.
You too can earn 1TB Google Drive storage space by reaching level 4. To reach level 4, you’ll have to earn about 200 points on Google Maps.
Use Maps To Measure Distances
When users want to calculate how far apart two random locations are, they usually search for directions.
These directions also indicate the distance between the two locations in terms of routes.
But if you want to know how far two locations are from each other physically then, first, drop a pin at the first location.
Then bring up the information card for that location by swiping up from the bottom of the screen.
When you’ve done that, then select measure distance option and drag on the screen to place the marker at the second location.
You’ll be able to see the distance between the two point in the lower left corner of your screen. The distance shown is not exact but is accurate enough to be relied upon.
If you want to take it up a notch and measure the distance between three points then just tap the plus sign which you can see in the bottom right corner of the screen.
Search While You Navigate Using Maps
You can also perform a quick search while browsing Google Maps. If you happen to go on a long trip and need to stop for food, restroom or fuel then Google Maps can help you manage that.
In order to find a stop that lies on your existing route, just tap the magnifying glass button.
As soon as you tap that button, suggestions will appear on the screen regarding coffee shops, petrol stations, stores and restaurants.
These options will appear as quick searches. If you want to type a search yourself, then you can do that by tapping the magnifying glass icon again.
Google Maps will automatically add a particular stop in the middle of your current route when you have selected a location from your search.