Maps 7.1 is slowly rolling out into the world. Google is making this teardown particularly difficult, because they haven't even gotten around to releasing a change log yet - it's up to me to come up with something. First though, we need to cover the good stuff that most definitely won't be in the change log, because this has me excited:

3D Buildings!

Remember when I found a "3D" button allll the way back in version 6.12? Google is at it again, this time with some extremely descriptive text in the newest Maps update:

<string name="STRIPIFIED_MESH_LAB_NAME">Detailed 3D Meshes</string>
<string name="STRIPIFIED_MESH_LAB_DESCRIPTION">Enable/disable visualization of detailed user-generated meshes for important buildings and monuments. The coverage of these buildings is sparse in most places. This is open for dogfood for all Android devices, but be warned that areas such as the Las Vegas Strip should be viewed by devices on par or better than the Nexus 4. There is a great deal of geometry that needs to be processed which makes map loading slow.</string>

Apparently Google has a dogfood version of Maps out there that will let you test Google Earth-style 3D buildings. It's interesting that they describe it as "important buildings and monuments." That makes it sound like they aren't using all of the available mesh data in Google Earth, which covers far more than what I would consider "important." 

wm_Screenshot_2013-08-15-13-57-04wm_2013-08-15 17.57.13

Left: Google Maps, Right: Google Earth

They also include a warning about performance. It should run about as well poorly on a phone as Google Earth does, which pretty much requires hardware that was released this past year. But hey, ridiculously-powerful processors are shipping in modern phones; you might as well make use of them.

Chop Chop Google, I want a 3D navigation mode.

Offline Maps For Other Apps

<permission android:name="com.google.android.apps.maps.permission.PREFETCH" android:protectionLevel="signature" />

<uses-permission android:name="com.google.android.apps.maps.permission.PREFETCH" />

<service android:name="com.google.android.apps.gmm.background.MapWorkerService" android:permission="com.google.android.apps.maps.permission.PREFETCH" android:exported="true">

        <action android:name="com.google.android.apps.maps.PREFETCH" />

There's a bunch of new "prefetch" stuff in the manifest file. Maps creates a new permission called "prefetch," then uses it, then makes a "MapWorker" service, then creates a "prefetch" intent.

So apps can now ask for permission to use the offline maps cache. My guess is that Google will make the Maps offline cache available to other apps that use the Maps API.

Update: As Christopher Orr points out in the comments, the protection level on this is "signature" which means only Google apps get to use it.

New Intents

        <action android:name="android.nfc.action.NDEF_DISCOVERED" />
        <category android:name="android.intent.category.DEFAULT" />
        <data android:scheme="google.navigation" />
        <action android:name="android.intent.action.VIEW" />
        <category android:name="android.intent.category.DEFAULT" />
        <data android:mimeType="vnd.android.cursor.item/postal-address_v2" />

There's a new NFC intent that is somehow related to Navigation (no idea what this is) and another one for viewing a contact address. That just might fix a bug that some people (HTC owners?) have been experiencing in Maps 7 which won't let you launch Maps from a contact address. Someone try and let me know in the comments. My Nexus device has always worked fine. (#HOLOYOLO)

Change Log Stuff

Screenshot_2013-08-15-14-18-502013-08-15 18.18.52

Like I said, there's no change log yet, so I might as well try and make one. Here's a lineup of the old and new maps. The new version will now warn you, up front, if a route has tolls.

Screenshot_2013-08-15-14-23-352013-08-15 18.23.36

The way transit names are displayed has been changed. The new design now shows you every stop, instead of truncating everything because of a long name.

<string name="PROMPT_TO_RATE_DIALOG_TITLE">Enjoying Google Maps?</string>
<string name="PROMPT_TO_RATE_DIALOG_MESSAGE">Recommend Google Maps to others by leaving us a review in the Google Play Store!</string>
<string name="PROMPT_TO_RATE_DIALOG_YES">Yes, rate it now!</string>
<string name="PROMPT_TO_RATE_DIALOG_NO">No, send feedback</string>
<string name="PROMPT_TO_RATE_DIALOG_DISMISS">Dismiss</string>

While this has yet to show up for me, it looks like you will now get a spam popup at some point to rate Google Maps. Apparently the most popular app in the world needs more ratings.


This might not be the right version for your device.

Google Maps now comes in a ton of different versions for different devices, so the best thing to do is wait and get the correct version from the Play Store once it rolls out to you. This version below is just for testing, it may look ugly or run slowly on your device.

If you get "There was a problem parsing package," this isn't meant for your phone.

Android 4.3 Version:

Android 4.0.3+ Version (thanks to @0TomZ):

If you spot any other changes, let us know in the comments. This is hard without a real change log.


  • You can now swipe the side panel in from anywhere. (Thanks Sean!)
  • You can now NFC Navigation directions (Thanks miri!)
  • There is now a scale on the bottom right that fades in and out when you're zooming. (Thanks Taco Monster)
    2013-08-15 21.15.25
Ron Amadeo
Ron loves everything related to technology, design, and Google. He always wants to talk about "the big picture" and what's next for Android, and he's not afraid to get knee-deep in an APK for some details. Expect a good eye for detail, lots of research, and some lamenting about how something isn't designed well enough.
  • aNYthing6

    Congrats on your position at Ars, Ron. Hope you can still keep doing these here.

    • Paul_Werner

      Speaking about this, I don't want to miss out on some Ron articles on Ars. Does anyone know how to set up an RSS Feed of just the android related news on Ars?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

      Aww thanks. I'll keep doing them somewhere, we'll see.

      • Ricardo

        Congrats on your new job, and btw, I don't know if you ever read any of Ars Technica's OS reviews, but you have to top them all when/if Google releases KLP :)

    • Floss

      I don't understand, how do you guys know he is going to Ars?

      • tyguy829

        google plus

        • Unfloss

          I don't understand, what is goole plus? advanced search?

          • tyguy829

            can't tell if trolling or stupid....

          • mapsave10

            so you obviously are missing lot of stuffs that goes on Google+

        • http://www.modminecraft.com/ Nick Coad

          but whats google

          • letsplaay

            I hate it when people ask stupid questions they can easily bing to get the answers.

  • Alex Flynn

    Cannot parse package

    • sssgadget

      Read the entire post?

      • Alex Flynn

        Don't be a dick. When I commented it was not known it had a min API of 4.3

  • Colin Kealty

    Any chance that we will have the same problem as last time with those APKs? What phone were they taken from?

    • Floris

      From an xhdpi device, so probably from the Nexus 4. If you have a GS3, Gnex or One X, this will be fine as well.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

        I think it's 4.3 only, though.

        • Floris

          Why on earth would they do that? Just to troll us AP readers? There is no new API in 4.3 relevant to Maps, right?

          • CoreRooted

            Has nothing to do with that but which SDK it's compiled against. In this case, it's 18 which is pretty much 4.3 only at this point.

  • jblazea50

    Get this message: There was a problem parsing the package.

    • remister

      That's the bubonic plague that has been going around.

  • miri

    I'm guessing the NFC/Navigation thing allows you to Beam directions again. Haven't installed the APK yet, so I can't be too sure.

  • ElTimo

    Do Earth and Maps use Dalvik or the NDK? It seems like it would make sense for something as intense as Earth to use native code, but then again, I don't know dick about software optimization.

  • Scott

    Downloaded the file from the 3 different hosts, and it's says that my device can't parse the file? Any Ideas?

  • Kenny O

    One more for the road Ron?......Congrats on your new position, I have enjoyed your content on AP and will most definitely check you out on Ars

  • dfscxa

    APKs doesn't work on Galaxy S3... I just wanted to let you know guys

  • http://twitter.com/shamus_carter james kendall

    I still see no reason to update any higher then 6.14.4 till they bring back layers, the my map's/stars, the distance tool, and most importantly uncripple the off-line maps.

    • mapsSave10

      how about maps now saving 10% battery over all?? That was good enough for me.
      and layers are in their. its just missing wiki which was pointless in the first place.

      • james kendall

        the topo layer is finally back? it's still missing on the web version. also I have never had issues with maps sucking my battery dry. then again I leave location history off and my gps off when ever possible.

  • astasualle

    Please be careful when updating from this apk. Google has multiple version of apk for different devices. so its better to let it come to you.

    Ron, Please write "Stock Android Isn't Perfect: Jelly Bean 4.3 Edition"
    List issues from previous version of Android which are not fixed yet..

  • http://platypus.blox.pl/ najodleglejszy

    there was a problem parsing the package
    Xperia mini pro @ CM10.1

  • Floris

    Yeah! You can now finally swipe from the left to open the navigation drawer..

  • Chad Bizeau

    Can I use "Chase Mode" without a destination again? Or am I still staying on v6.x?

  • Anchovepaste

    What, they didn't bring back Latitude?! Kidding. Kinda.

    • Danny Holyoake

      Latitude is back, dude. See Google+. It's actually much better now, in my opinion! (it got a significant update yesterday).

      • makapav

        The big thing they need to add is 'map directions to this friend' in the interface and faster/ more intelligent update frequencies.

    • JLishere

      I think location sharing on Google+ is much better than before. Now, you can share your exact (pin-point) location to a specific Circle, and your city location to another Circle. You can also choose which of your Circles will appear on the Map. I think more features are on the way, including integration with Google Maps (Waze), such as sharing a trip ETA and seeing when your friends will arrive.

      • makapav

        Sharing a trip ETA is never coming - it's just not the way Google works lately - it's too specific and there are ton of apps that are doing it excellently - e.g. Twist

      • Fifth313ment

        Yes, exactly! With the new Google Plus update locations you can now update your location, it also now shows how much time since the last location "ping", contains newer Google Maps controls such as "my location" & zoom (why in Google Plus but not new maps) buttons, also new buttons to switch quickly between users and the entire user list, location proximity circle (from latitude which shows the approximate location of the user), seperate sharing options for precise (pinpoint) sharing and city level based sharing (similar to latitude) and finally the ability to filter users based on circles.

        Still missing satellite mode options and quick location sharing (my HTC EVO LTE has a location sharing option in text messages but it blow and won't use network location). And there is a bug in which it will show your Google Plus location and your current GPS location but they won't sync together on the map (You'll have two circles of light blue, one with an arrow with your Google Plus avatar and one which looks like the old GPS location circle?) This is everything I've found so far but it is a million times better than the crap they first released with Google Plus before killing off Latitude. Latitude was easier though as it was in the Maps app, which I don't understand why they don't link to it from Maps or vice versa from Google Plus?


  • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

    Ah, it turns out the version we were given has a minSDK of 18 (but a target of 17, what?), so it sounds like it is for Android 4.3 only. If anyone has a version for other phones, let me know.

    • TomZ

      Sent you a tweet with the link for my android 4.1.2 version.

    • Ed Wilson

      I have 7.1.0 running on my Nexus 4 on AOKP 4.2.2. Here is the link.


    • HebeGuess

      Ron, you might not wanna to missed the version provided by Ed Wilson. It has MinSDK level 17 for 4.2.2 which is still absent from the post download section yet.

  • Itchy_Robot

    Is 'My Maps' still gone?

    • alexvanderlinden


  • miri

    I think I was right and beaming navigation works again.

    Previously when beaming with navigation running it would just open Maps on the other device, but now I get a tag with a Navigation URL (on the device running the previous version) and tapping on it starts Navigation. I guess both devices having the latest version will get rid of the middle step.

  • Tacomonster

    Oh, and when you zoom in and out, the map scale appears in the bottom right corner and fades out.

    (Also, why do Google-made apps have so much fucking overdraw? The Explore section on Maps is just a huge blob of red.)

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Nice spot.

  • Elislurry

    When my iPhone using friend showed me the 3d view in Crapple Maps I was pretty amazed. I hope Google Maps can rival that feature some day. Of course Google Maps blows Apples away in every other aspect so no biggie. Just a cool feature.

  • spinner735

    I may be missing something here, but has anyone been able to turn on the new 3D textured buildings mode? I am not sure if I need to have Satelite mode turned on...or if I just need to be in the right location. Any tips?

    • Tacomonster

      It's not active yet.

      • spinner735

        :(. thanks for letting me know!

  • John Morgan

    I have Android 4.0.3. I'm still waiting for Maps 7.x even though they've said it's "slowly rolling out" for a month.

    • makapav

      Reset and uninstall your Play Store. You will get the latest version and then should get all pushes.

      • John Morgan

        No change.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

      The upload we just put up has a minSDK of 15, which should work on 4.0.3. Try that.

      • John Morgan

        Thank you. That one installed.

  • JLishere

    Other changes I noticed: (1) improved performance / frame rate when using Street View in compass mode and panning horizontally. (2) in Google Now, when asking for 'satellite map' of a specific location, tapping on the map thumbnail will open Maps in satellite mode (this was broken when Google first released the redesigned Maps for Android)

  • Christopher Orr

    The PREFETCH function sounds interesting. Though since the permission has android:protectionLevel="signature", only apps signed with the same key as Google Maps will be able to use access the service.

    Though I guess Google use the same key for all their apps(?), so this could indeed be made available to developers via Google Play Services.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

      Oh, right, i forgot about that. I'll update, thanks.

  • slee823

    I just want the zoom button back.

    • DJ SPY

      Why? You do know that you can zoom in using one hand right? Double tap and in the second tap leave your finger on the screen and then slide up to zoom in and slide down to zoom out.

      • Nick

        Thanks! I had no idea. I'd still prefer buttons but this is nice

  • John Morgan

    If somebody gets an APK that works wirh 4.0.3 I'd appreciate it. While Play updates everything else for me, my Maps hasn't budged off of 6.14.4.

  • Jacob Serna

    Got the 7.1 update from the Play Store and I can confirm the address functionality on the AT&T HTC One is still broken. When you try an open an address from your contacts It just leads you to a blank map.

    • Ed

      I can confirm that as well...

  • alexvanderlinden

    When zooming in or out, the scale is shown at the right bottom. Yes. Most wanted by me :-)

  • HebeGuess

    As stated by himself the 4.0.3+ version provided by @0TomZ was pulled from GS3 running 4.1.2 had minSDK 15, It seems like Google has managed to combined the seperated packages for Android 4.0.3+ and 4.1.x. As contrast there are Maps 7.0.2 with minSDK 16 distributed to devices running Android 4.1.x.

  • Snarf7

    Does not work on my T999L

  • Rolf

    I'll stick to 6.14 since it offers a lot more than the new Maps. By the way: is there any way to deny an update for an app forever? Now I always have to stop the update for Maps while updating other apps.

    • mapsave10

      maps now save 10% battery over all!! That was good enough for me.

      • Sirandar

        7.0 uses far more juice than 6.... My car charger can't keep up anymore... It used to with 6 and did again when I reverted

    • jOn Garrett [5,000+]

      I had the same issue so I just turned off auto-updates. so now I just update my apps manually so I don't have to keep uninstalling the Map updates.

    • http://acousticconfusion.tumblr.com/ Kwackers

      I know this is old but what I did was went to the app in the play store and unchecked "allow automatic updating." So now all of my apps update by themselves while that one has to be updated manually.

  • Mike C.

    Now we just need a decent UI for offline maps (the old UI was okay).

  • frustrated commuter

    Does public transit navigation work properly in the 4.3 version. There's been a bug maps 7 that after selecting a route via public transport, the option to start would not show.

    • CoreRooted

      I use it extensively for PT and haven't had any issues. I just sideloaded this version and I'll test it out on my way home.

      • frustrated commuter

        Really, does the voice stop by stop nav work also? Cause I'm able to get the route to show, but the option start the trip is never given.

        • avi

          yes i have the exact same issue on my nexus. its really annoying. I have been looking everywhere for a fix for this but cant find any, (im 99% they just stopped it.) what has also bothered me is that they have also taken out the blue dot to show you which stop you were at. i really want to go back to 6.1.4 but I really like other parts of new maps. if they added better public transit new maps would be godly. (just my 2 cents)

  • Nick

    I just want my zoom buttons back!! I never used the two finger zoom in/out.

  • Bill Smith


    • alexvanderlinden

      Scale bar is back. It is shown when you zoom.
      I also want zoom buttons, but at least found an alternative to zoom with one finger (essential when holding your phone in one hand): double tap and hold your finger on the screen, next slide up or down.

  • BlackAce15

    Am I the only one who can't download or install the apk for 4.3...when I click to dl it says its complete and when I click the apk it says "Can't open file"...I have tried every mirror also...on Data and WiFi tried both.

  • Stephen Fronda

    On the HTC One, it seems to be working again with contacts addresses launching maps

  • jOn Garrett [5,000+]


    FK you and your new maps. Im keeping the old version until you put back.

    - peg man, I like being able to "walk" in street view. this is a tool I regularly use.
    - highlighted dotted border when I search for a zip code., neighborhood or city.
    - labs, or at the very least--the measure tool.

    • Bleakvision

      Yep, they ripped out every useful feature and the blogosphere still celebrates them for it. Google can do no wrong.

  • Markoff

    maybe stupid question but how to show scale of the map so I can see actual distances when i look at screen? I can't understand how can something so important on any map be missing in google maps

    • HebeGuess

      Scale meter will appear when you are scaling and fade out once scaling actions completed. Current Google wide UX implementations are focus on cleaner experiences now, I can see their effort on new maps to create less distractions view while not denying some users may not like/suit it at first place.

  • Alexandru Florin

    They need to make a similar option like nokia here maps and drive..i would love being able to download offline maps for certain countries

  • Michael Gunther

    Crazy, All devices show it as Updated 14 Aug, but if installed on Note II, still at 7.02, S4 is at 7.1, S3 still at 7.02.. Crazy they update appears to be only certain devices...

  • CeluGeek

    Maps 7.1?? Here I am still stuck in Maps 6.14 even though Maps 7.0 was supposed to support Android 4.0.3 and higher, and my phone runs Android 4.0.4.

    My phone has the latest Play Store but my tablet doesn't.
    My tablet has Maps 7.0 but my phone doesn't.
    None has received the latest update to Google Search.
    At least both got the Google+ update, although two days later.

    Google has become such a mess with their app updates! If Google can't update a single application in a timely manner there is absolutely no hope for a better deployment of full Android OS updates. /rant

    • the_banned_one_returns

      Might take a while to roll all of this out to several hundred million devices worldwide?

  • http://robert.aitchison.org raitchison

    Any changes to the voice prompts when using Navigation, the last update changed the voice prompts so they were REALLY spartan to the point of being nearly useless (would not tell you street names, would not tell you how far until your next turn, etc.) so I had to roll back to a previous version (first time I have ever had to do that with maps)

  • MafiaMM

    Better not be the Ron from DroidLife lol

  • Miguel

    Navigation enabled for Puerto Rico? Or not yet? I'm still using 6.14.1 because that was the last version I found with the global navigation mode...

  • jurrabi

    I feel google is going to fast on some apps. The radical (not at all mature) changes to maps is a good example.

    Apart from the things many people are complaining, another thing stopped working for me. When I invoke navigation from Google Now it doesn't obey the route I selected. I explain:

    Google Now offers "Travel to Work 25 minutes" and below that, an alternative route "Work via A-2 30 minutes". If I select going via A-2 in the old version it loaded the right instructions in Navigator. But now it ignores this and selects the default route... This new version still has this bug. Please fix Google.

    Oh, and I miss (need) latitude. Now I only use Waze because it allows easy sharing of my route and ETA to my wife. When is something like that coming to maps?

    Also navigator can learn a thing or 2 about proper zoom or angle while driving from waze. Most times Waze gives a wider look of what's ahead. In Navigator I can only see the next 200 meters of road even when the next intersection is Kms away...

  • jurrabi

    I almost forgot. Thanks for the heads up! Some times I get lost in my own whining.

  • ki

    Since I refuse to use a Google account, then Maps 7 means I cannot Star Places anymore, and I've reverted back.

  • Leonardo Baez

    In my samsung s3 with Jelly Bean 4.1.2 I am still stuck with versio 6.14 of google maps.

    Anyone know why?

  • Mido Karam

    I want the damn RULER back !!

  • White Pawn

    How is it that Ron's navigation shows a drive followed by public transit? Mine always makes me walk to the station...