How To Use the Compass in Google Maps

Google Maps is one of the most popular navigation apps with countless user-friendly functionalities. In recent years, it has introduced several new features to improve the experience of its users. In 2021, the program brought back the beloved compass function, but many users remain unaware of how to make the most of this helpful option.

How To Use the Compass in Google Maps

This guide will discuss how you can use the compass on your mobile device or computer to hone your navigation skills.

Without further ado, let’s dive in.

How to Calibrate Your Mobile Device for Better Location Information

The easiest way to receive better directions and location data from Google Maps is by calibrating your iPhone or Android device. You’ll improve the software’s accuracy and allow it to determine your location without difficulty. Additionally, you’ll get to your desired destination more quickly.

Google Maps analyzes the data from your mobile device’s inbuilt GPS (and other features) to determine your current location and the best route to get you where you want to go. To ensure the software generates the most accurate information, you should calibrate the compass every few months.

How to Calibrate Google Maps Compass on an Android Device

You can improve the performance of Google Maps on your Android phone or tablet by calibrating the compass. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Launch the “Settings” app from the home screen and select “Location.”
  2. Check whether you’ve activated the “Location” feature. If not, tap the slider.
  3. Locate “Improve Accuracy.”
  4. Press the slider next to “Wi-Fi Scanning.”
  5. Tap the toggle beside “Bluetooth Scanning.”

If you have a Pixel phone, you may need to follow slightly different steps.

  1. Launch the “Settings” app and choose “Location Services” from the list of options.
  2. Select “Google Location Services” and tap “Google Location Accuracy.”
  3. Press “Improve Location Accuracy.”

How to Calibrate Google Maps Compass on an iPhone

If you prefer to use Google Maps on your iPhone, there are three ways you can make the compass and app more precise.

The first method involves activating “Location Services.” Follow the below steps to do so:

  1. Launch your iPhone’s “Settings” and scroll to the bottom of the app.
  2. Choose “Privacy” and press the “Location Services” tab.
  3. Head to the bottom of the screen and select the “Google Maps” option.
  4. Determine when your device will activate “Location Services” for Google Maps.
    • Pick “Always” if you’ll use Google Maps for traffic, navigation, and traffic updates.
    • Choose “While Using the App” if you plan to use Google Maps only to check locations and directions.
    • If you press “Ask Next Time,” all three options will appear the next time you access Google Maps.

  5. Tap the switch next to “Precise Location.”
  6. If possible, connect to your Wi-Fi network.
  7. Launch Google Maps.
  8. Press the location icon to check the program’s accuracy.

You can also activate “Compass Calibration” from the “Settings” app. The following steps will walk you through the process:

  1. Head to your iPhone’s “Settings.”
  2. Scroll to the lower end of the screen and select “Privacy.”
  3. Press “Location Services” and choose “System Services” from the list of options.
  4. Navigate to “Compass Calibration” and tap the slider next to the feature.

And that’s it. This method will calibrate the compass in Google Maps and optimize your iPhone’s inbuilt compass. Automatic calibration ensures that your compass remains calibrated in all apps.

Finally, you can use “Live View” to calibrate the Google Maps compass.

  1. Launch the “Google Maps” app on your iPhone from the home screen.
  2. Type a destination or select a location on your map.
  3. Press the arrow icon to recenter the map and view your destination and current location.
  4. Select your current location and pick “Calibrate with Live View” from the lower end of the menu.
  5. Read the Google Maps warning.
  6. When you’re ready to move on, tap the blue “Start” button.
  7. Hold up your mobile device and move it around so that the camera captures signs, buildings, and stores.
  8. After compiling enough information, tap the “Done” button to return to the map.
  9. Press the “Live View” icon.

The app will now generate an arrow directing you towards the selected location. Since you’ve calibrated “Live View,” the compass and other features should provide you with the most precise data.

How to Calibrate Google Maps Compass on an iPad

iPad users should consider calibrating their compass to ensure Google Maps provides accurate data. Moreover, calibration optimizes the device’s inbuilt compass, improving its function across all other apps.

You can enable “Location Services” on your iPad to calibrate the compass. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Launch the “Settings” app and choose the “Privacy” option.
  2. Select “Location Services” from the top of the menu.
  3. Scroll down and press “Google Maps.”
  4. Decide when to use “Location Services” for Google Maps.
    • Select “Always” if you plan to use the app frequently for traffic, transit updates, and navigation help.
    • Press “While Using the App” if you’ll access Google Maps occasionally for directions.
    • If you choose “Ask Next Time,” Google Maps will generate all three options the next time you launch the app.
  5. Tap the slider beside “Precise Location.”
  6. If possible, try to connect to your Wi-Fi network. (This will allow Google Maps to use the compass, Wi-Fi, and cell tower data for the most accurate results.)
  7. Open the “Google Maps” app and press the location icon to test its accuracy.

If you want to calibrate the compass in all apps you’ve installed on your iPad, follow the steps below:

  1. Open “Settings” and scroll to the bottom of the screen.
  2. Select the “Privacy” option and choose “Location Services.”
  3. Press “System Services” and find “Compass Calibration.”
  4. Tap the slider next to the “Compass Calibration” feature.

Another way of calibrating the compass is using “Live View” in Google Maps. The process is relatively straightforward.

  1. Open the “Google Maps” app
  2. Navigate to the text box at the top and type a destination. Alternatively, choose a location by pressing the map.
  3. Tap the arrow icon to view your destination and current location. (This action will also recenter the map.)
  4. Choose your current location and select “Calibrate with Live View.”
  5. After reading the Google Maps warning, press the “Start” button.
  6. Raise your iPad and move around so your camera can scan your surroundings.
  7. Once the camera has compiled sufficient information, tap the “Done” button to view the map.
  8. Tap the “Live View” icon.

Find North With Compass on Google Maps on Computer

If you’re more comfortable using Google Maps on your mobile device, you may struggle to access some of its features on your Windows PC or MacBook. Fortunately, you can use the compass to determine which direction is north.

You can use either “Street View” or “Regular Map View.”

If you want to use “Street View,” follow these steps:

  1. Open Google Maps in your preferred web browser.
  2. Zoom in to find a location or use the search bar at the top of the page.
  3. Hold the “human” icon and drop it to your map to activate “Street View” mode.
  4. Explore the area using your mouse.
  5. Check the lower-right end of the map for the compass.

The red end of the compass always shows north.

Here’s how you can determine which way is north with “Regular Map View”:

  1. Open the Google Maps page in your browser.
  2. Find a location using the search bar or zoom in by pressing the “+” button.
  3. Examine the map.

Google Maps has a precise layout, so anything above the selected location will be north.

Use the Compass to Improve Accuracy

Those who enjoy using Google Maps on their mobile device should remember to calibrate the compass occasionally. It will improve the software’s performance and receive more accurate location data. If you have difficulty navigating Google Maps on your PC, you can always use the compass in “Street View” or “Regular Map View” to identify which way is north.

How often do you calibrate the compass in Google Maps, and on which device? Do you prefer accessing Google Maps using your computer or smartphone? Let us know in the comments section below.

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