The refreshed Google Maps app is cool in a lot of ways, but it was a big change and we're still finding little tricks to make things smoother. Some users were annoyed that there is no longer a direct Navigation app icon, meaning more taps to actually start turn-by-turn navigation. There is a shortcut, though.

2013-09-16 04.59.34 2013-09-16 05.05.22 2013-09-16 05.05.36

Skip all that

When you search for a location in Google Maps, there is an information bar at the bottom with the route button. If you press it, you are taken to the route selection screen, then after selecting a route, you get back to the Map. At that point the icon has changed to the Navigation arrow. Press it, and you're off. That's just a little tedious, though, isn't it? All you have to do to get right into Google Navigation from the original info bar is long-press on the route icon.


Do this, and the app will take the top route, then boot you directly into turn-by-turn. It's a lot faster than tapping through each screen, and it'll get you where you're going, provided you don't need to take a specific route. Just to be clear, this isn't new in 7.2 – it seems to have been added with the big 7.0 jump.

[Google Support via Google System]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • Kobi Nechmadi

    nice, didn't knew this . thank you :)

  • Kilam Daha

    Is there a better way to save offline maps than by selecting a relatively small area then typing "OK Maps"? Maybe a 3rd party app or something?

    I have a 32GB SD card that I'd like to utilize for google maps fully offline, well at least as offline and still functional as can be.

    • Matt

      Zoom to the level you want to save, tap the search bar. Scroll down. There will be a link to save the map (says "Make this map area available offline").

      • Kilam Daha

        thank you!

    • Michael D.

      They added a "make this map area available offline" button, under the suggested search items some time ago.

      • Kilam Daha

        and there it is! thanks lol

  • Michael D.

    Handy, but that way you don't know anything about the route you will be taking. Not having the slightest idea of where you are going and blindly trusting navigation software can get you in a lot of trouble.

    • skitchbeatz

      that might be why it's not the default but a quick action. If you're not confident in the navigation then don't use it?

      • Michael D.

        It's always better to have a general idea of where you are going, than blindly following driving directions. Regardless of how good the navigation software you are using is.

    • https://play.google.com/store/search?q=kodiak+211 Google_Is_The_Higgs_Boson

      That's the fun of it...lol

  • Babs Oyed

    Maps 7.X is simply horrible. 6.X was a lot better in pretty much every way.

    • Matt

      Funny, I prefer the new maps in pretty much every way.
      Cleaner, faster, has pretty much everything I used in the old Maps.

      • Superguy

        The removal of the traffic widget is extremely annoying.

        • tookieboy

          swipe in from the left and press the Traffic button.

          • Matthew Fry

            He's not saying they removed traffic, he's talking about the widget. That's gone.

          • Superguy

            Exactly. When I'm sitting in traffic and want to see why and look for alternate routes, I don't want to futz with an app to get something I used to have with one touch.

      • http://twitter.com/geoff5093 Geoff Johnson

        No terrain view? I used that all the time. What about lab features? All of that is missing from the new Maps.

      • foosion

        What can you do in 7 that you couldn't do in 6?

        • foosion

          2 downvotes for asking, but no posts answering the question

          • Pete

            No My Maps, for one

          • Pete

            Ooops, meant to write My Places :)

  • Ujjobbágy Attila

    I hate Maps navigation, because it says street names instead of directions.
    I can't use it effectively if I don't know the surrounding streets.

    • Matt

      You can't read street signs?
      You can't hear: "In 500 feet, turn left......... turn left" ?

      How else would you have it give you directions?

      • Ujjobbágy Attila

        In my country (Hungary) there are no street signs, at least "so" signs that you mean.
        Signs only at the wall of the first house of the street, if any.
        I can't driving carefully and watch the traffic if i have to search for street signs all the time.

        • Matt

          Ah. My apologies. In America, the street signs are usually on a pole on the street corner and usually pretty easy to find.
          Still, Maps does say "turn left", and I'm not sure how else it could provide directions... "turn left at " wouldn't work because businesses can move, "turn left on the 3rd intersection" could pose problems if a new street was added (I realize this is unlikely in an urban environment, but still possible)

          • Ujjobbágy Attila

            Navigation systems at Hungary first says "turn left after 400 meters", then when I'm close says "turn left at the next possibility", or when it's not so clear "turn left at the second street".
            P.S.: "possibility" is not the good word, maybe "intersection" but I never used navi english.

          • Joris Griffioen

            Syntax error.

  • drakon

    Thanks for the info, any tricks to re-route while driving when there is heavy traffic, or accidents.

    • Matt

      No tricks needed. Maps already does this. If it finds a faster way around a wreck or slow traffic, it will re-route automatically. :)
      I've actually had this happen once... but only once. Most times it calculated that just sticking with what I was in was faster than driving around a lot of side streets.

      • drakon

        Mine hasn't done that ive had to back out and re-route, which is slightly annoying and dangerous when driving

  • Mike

    I'm still rocking 6.14.4...The "+" and "-" zoom buttons and the Labs features of Measure and Bigger Text are too important to me to give up Street names on a map are hard to read on a 1080p phone like the DNA.
    The few times I've tried v.7 I've wanted to bang my head against my steering wheel...lol

  • jurrabi

    I can't start to express how annoying this version has become for people that use the phone to navigate.
    In the last month of use I have found the following bugs on several occasions. Please realise that this problems have bigger impact since they happen when the phone shouldn't be operated:

    Voice Issues: Navigator doesn't dictate next turn instructions. Instead it bips. Often it just skips the instruction before the turn but gives it during the turn. Other times it uses a voice different that the one I've selected in android's sound option (the same happens with search sometimes). Other times it reads in my language (Spanish) English texts. Resulting in a voice that reads a foreign language like a child would do.
    Navigation: some times I can't get maps to offer navigate options. Instead I only get list of steps.
    Rerouting doesn't work many times. I changed path and Navigator doesn't reroute, only resuming instructions if I backtrack.

    The result is that I only use now Waze. I hope Google doesn't improve that one...

    • ssj4Gogeta

      You're probably aware of this, but you can revert back to the original version of Maps that came with your ROM by going to App Info for Maps, then choosing Uninstall Updates.

      • jurrabi

        I do, but thanks for the tip anyway...

        I think I didn't do it yet because I've been liking waze for a year now and I don't need maps for navigate anymore.
        I only use it when I have stared something in the pc and want to get there without typing or talking in waze...

        And again, I still trust google will come along and fix things.

    • https://play.google.com/store/search?q=kodiak+211 Google_Is_The_Higgs_Boson

      While in Google Maps shake your phone... They have a shake to send feedback option in Google Maps, if you haven't disabled it... Anyways that's how you report bugs and give feedback to Google Maps...

      • jurrabi

        I knew and did that. Thanks.

        Or is that your passive/aggressive way of telling that you are tired of people complaining in blog's comments?

        Sorry if my comment offended you. And thanks for taking the time to read it.

        • https://play.google.com/store/search?q=kodiak+211 Google_Is_The_Higgs_Boson

          No, just trying to help...

          • jurrabi

            Thanks then man. Sorry for the abrupt.

  • SetiroN

    To be honest, it should work in the opposite way. The top route should be good enough 90% of the time, with an option to change it just in case.

    The new maps is awkward to say the least, until you know how things works exactly and where everything is precisely it's terribly annoying. After that it's cool but... as pretty and slick as it might be, it's the opposite of what a smartphone app should be - especially one you're supposed to use on the fly.

  • Solburn

    Seems backwards. Shouldn't the long press be for the additional routes and navigation be the primary button???

    • The_16th_Doctor

      Yeah it does seem backwards, but then we would have thunk that they got rid of route options and additional routes, considering not a lot of people knew about this

  • ctkatz

    good for people who want faster access to tbt navigation.

    what about those of us who used it as a hud to see what terrain lies ahead? I've been using navigation lately that way because i know where the location is and don't need directions.

  • André Felipe Santos

    I like the new 7.x Maps app. My only gripes are that at the Navigation mode the current street no longer shows. Sure, the next turn is more important, but sometimes it's really useful to know where you are. Another one is that there is no more a "free roam" mode at navigation.

    • duse

      Completely agree...I hate that it doesn't show your current road anymore. I found that very useful. Even worse, half the time it doesn't show street names that you are passing by anymore, so I can't as easily tell where I am. Apple Maps shows EVERY street name you are passing by.

      What do you mean by "free roam" mode? I'm still able to drag the map around to see other areas during navigation, if that's what you're talking about.

      • squiddy20

        With the old Maps, if you went straight into the Navigation portion of the app, there was an option to just have the map be displayed regardless of if you entered in a destination. It would basically just follow you wherever you go even if you were driving aimlessly around town or something. Most standalone GPS units have this, or at least default to it until you set a destination.

      • André Felipe Santos

        What squiddy20 said.

  • mlj11

    Android team removed the Menu button and implemented Action Overflow so functions would become more obvious to users.

    Meanwhile Apps teams implement hidden functions via specific and unintuitive gestures, obscuring functionality from users.


  • squiddy20

    Wasn't the whole point of getting rid of the menu bar/icon/button (which has now become the three vertical dots) to be more visible to the end user? How is this any different? Now we're all wondering what is long press-able and what is not. Get your shit together Google.

  • Alvin Brinson

    This might be a good idea IF you could set Google Maps to always ignore toll routes. Yet I still have to take the time to pick the non-toll route.

    • squiddy20

      Amen. And if I remember correctly, the old Maps also sometimes didn't respect this setting either upon exiting and re-entering the app.

    • http://twitter.com/geoff5093 Geoff Johnson

      Waze has that option :)

      • squiddy20

        Google Maps has the option too. It just doesn't stay check marked if you exit and re-enter the app...

        • andy_o

          Therefore, Google Maps doesn't have that option.

  • duse

    New Maps is definitely not intuitive, I don't know what Google thought was wrong with the version that used a bottom action bar.

    • Bleakvision

      Yep, they really screwd up. I wish the media gave them more heat about it like they did with Apple. The only critical Android site I know is AP, the rest is really just a big fanboy bonanza.

  • Superguy

    Google always seems to do this. They take a good app and muck with it, and make it less user friendly. They did this with Gmail, and they did it now with maps. I wonder what they'll ruin next?

    Removing the Navigation icon and also taking the traffic widget has been a real PITA. I used the traffic widget a lot.

    I'm not looking forward to future "enhancements."

  • bydavidrosen

    Anyone who says the new maps is faster must have some kind of super phone. On my S3 its slower, my girlfriends s3 its slower. My friends note2 its slower. The desktop Google maps is slower. We were just talking about this the other day... Even including shutting down Reader, the new maps is the worst thing they've ever done.

    • Daveon Jackson

      Samsung devices are pretty bloated, and if you've had the device for a while chances is the whole phone is slower.

      • bydavidrosen

        yea but what devices aren't, not counting a nexus4? why design the new only map app around devices that can't handle it due to bloat and slowdown haha. bah...

      • spydie

        No slowdown on my Note 2. Note 1 was real laggy, but note 2 does not suffer from any bloatware slowdown. In fact, there's no bloatware running in the background that even affects anything.

        • bydavidrosen

          yea my s3 runs great too... it's just the new version of maps that's slow as hell. can't stand it. the layout sucks too.

  • foosion

    A general issue (for me) with all versions of maps, which is that it acts as if a change in road name requires some action. It will say "slight left onto Rt 123" when all that has happened is Rt ABC changed it name to Rt 123, but it is still the same road and all you have to do is keep driving along.

  • DrakeTungsten

    Took me longer to find the Google+1 button for this article than the time it saved me for one such use of Google maps navigation.

  • Dave Bowen

    Please bring back the ability to use the Navigation without having a destination set (Map). I used that a lot.

  • Roger

    It is still missing key features, I am not sure why I should "downgrade" to version 7.X.

    I still couldn't find any trace of the removed features described bellow:

    -My maps is still gone;

    -Off line Maps is useless now, I can`t find any route that it is possible to cache for off line use ( even routes that is possible to be cached using Google maps version 6.X is not available to be cached on any version 7.X);

    -Also missing option to add the zoom in/out buttons. Without zoom in/out buttons is impossible to use Google Maps with only one hand, as you need one hand to hold the device and another one to pinch and zoom;

    I really like the new interface, but without those features described above Google Maps is useless for me.

    What is the purpose of having a beautiful interface but missing key features??

    Google advertised a lot about off line maps, but now It doesn't even work anymore.

    I am not sure that Google employees are aware that broad band mobile internet is not available for all users, and If you are planing to take a trip with a map it is not reasonable to assume that the user is going to have a Internet connection in the whole trip - looks like that google developers loosed their common sense.

    Google Maps version 7.X is a major downgrade and a big disappointment...

    • andy_o

      I miss the zoom buttons too, but if zooming one-handed is your issue, you can still do that by tapping and dragging up/down with one finger. Though with the buttons it is still easier in the car.

    • Nick

      I would agree on all counts. Google has once again ripped useless features out of the hands of people who used those things daily. It is very frustrating.
      At least we can still load the old APK.

  • Bronislav Shtrom

    Useless if you don't have a car of course, since it defaults to car

  • Tim Harper

    I just use nova launcher's swipe up action with maps on my home screen to launch the navigation shortcut..works well. Only works if you have nova launcher and don't mind the maps icon on your screen.

  • qriusme

    I think UI designers sometimes have way too much power in how they are involved, overlapping into UX. I hate the shift into extreme minimalism, which to me, means hiding menus and leading to more clicks/presses. Someone please put some brakes on this design shift. I hate it. There has to be balance between visual looks and functionality.

    Form over function? No. Find the balance that makes it easier for users to use your app

  • Jonathan Isenberg

    Neat. I just found out another way to select the different routes. When you click on a route for your selected destination, it shows you the map with the route highlighted. If you swipe left or right on the route information (the white area on the bottom), instead of hitting Start, it shows you the different routes on the map.

    Maybe that came out wrong, but I still think that it's neat.

  • John Smith

    before tapping the "Navigation arrow", is it possible to adjust the route ?

  • Troy

    Man Google employers have become like that bored stoner that lost his job and now has too much time on his hand to do stupid shiit.
    They are changing so much for ridiculous reasons.
    I see that they are trying to make YouTube on the web like YouTube on the mobile lately.
    They've gotten rid of the option to set 2 sizes of the player window. Now there is only fullscreen or the player is small on the left with related videos on the right.
    You can't toggle annotations any more either. You either disable it in the settings or have it always on.
    Anyway I'm just venting my frustration but these clowns are seriously riding their own dicks up their own assholes these days thinking everything that they are implementing is for the better and that the users want that shiit!
    Fuck you Google.

    • blahmoomoo

      You can still change the YouTube player size. It's just been relegated to the gear, which used to only be used to select quality. I'd hope they did that due to a survey or something showing that people don't use the resize buttons often.

      • Troy

        It's unnecessary. Thanks for the tip though I didn't know.
        On the tablet version of YT they messed shit up too.
        When viewing a video, and one wants to search for a new one..
        You first press the search button which is on the top right, but the search box is now on the top left, and the previously searched item is still there, then you need to press the ""X" to clear it to search for the new content.
        It's fucken stupid!!!
        Only a person that enjoys the feeling of a penis deeply inserted into their butthole would find this convenient.
        fuck you google!

  • Syje

    I couldn't care less - Maps/Navigation on my phone is a near-unusable mess. If I leave the program to check something else, going back to it either starts navigation all over or asks me if I want to close. Why the hell would I want to do either? The main reason I got my first Android phone two years ago was for this feature and its been a pile of garbage all summer.

  • MrWicket

    I want them to bring back the map mode that followed you while driving.. I don't know why they removed this.. maybe I was the only one that used it?!.. lol

  • Alex Rusinov

    Still no quick access to re-route feature. I am sticking with Waze until Google fixes it

  • Anthony Forrest

    this is an awesome assist..i reaaaally appreciate it..u r the MAN!!! LOL

  • pjcamp

    So either three clicks or five clicks to do what used to take one click.

    While driving.

    Thanks Google. No wonder you keep your contact information secret.

  • pjcamp

    No. You long press. Then you also press "Start." Because indicating a desire for navigation is not enough. You have to really really be serious about it. More clicks is better clicks, especially while driving.

  • JK

    This now gives me really roundabout directions when before it was pretty good and easily accessible. What happened?

  • Sean

    How about just simply this: NO Poi's while in navigation! Not even an option to turn them on!! ALL gps systems (I.e. TomTom) are rated by their mass of poi's. When I set navigation from say Baltimore to Portland I need to find restaurants, hotels, etc along the way!! Really google, what the heck are you thinking? Mobile maps are for NAVIGATING! Where are the "poi's along route"?