If your car supports Apple CarPlay and you’re not a fan of Apple Maps, it’s easy to use Google Maps for detailed turn-by-turn directions and navigation in your car instead. Here’s how to use it. First, make sure you have Google Maps installed on your iPhone. It’s available free of charge on the App Store. After that, activate CarPlay by connecting your iPhone to your CarPlay-compatible vehicle. Locate Google Maps on your CarPlay screen and launch it with a tap. What you do next depends on where you’d like to go.
How to Get Turn-by-Turn Directions in Google Maps Through CarPlay
Once Google Maps is running, it can provide turn-by-turn directions by voice to almost any location. First, tap the screen until you see an “Add Destination” button across the top. Once it appears, tap it. Next, you will see a menu that lets you choose how you’d like to add a destination. Although there are six buttons here (plus a keyboard button), there are really only four basic ways to enter a destination.
- Recent searches: This shows a list of recently searched destinations you can pick from.
- Gas stations, Restaurants, Grocery stores, Coffee shops: Tapping one of these shows you to a list of nearby businesses that match the category description. You’ll be able to tap the one you’d like to visit.
- Voice search: This allows you to search for a destination using your voice.
- Keyboard search: Tapping the keyboard icon in the upper-right corner of the screen allows you to search by typing in a destination name using an on-screen touch keyboard.
For example, if you tap the “Voice Search” button, you’ll be asked where you’d like to go. Say the name of a destination out loud. It can be an address (i.e., “4403 Denmark St. in Tampa”), the name of a landmark (such as a park, monument, or famous building), or a business. For example, if you say “McDonalds,” Google Maps will provide a list of the closest McDonalds restaurant locations. You will see a similar search result list if you search by keyboard or browse by category type as well. Tap the listed location that you’d like to visit. After that, Google Maps will show you an overview of the route path on the map as well as how long it will take to get there. To begin the route, press “Start.” As you’re driving, Google Maps will give you vocal turn-by-turn directions through your car’s speaker system. You will also be able to see your location as you move along on the map. Your vehicle is represented by the blue triangle-shaped icon inside a circle. While you’re driving, you will see an estimated arrival time, the time remaining until you reach the destination, and remaining distance in the lower left corner of the screen. If at any time you’d like to add a stop to your route, you can tap the “Add Stop” button at the top of the screen. To cancel the route, tap the “Exit” button in the upper-right corner. The three buttons in the lower right corner of the display do the following (from top to bottom):
- Browse map: Tapping this allows you freely move your viewpoint of the map up, down, left, or right so that you can get a look at the surrounding area without having to drive there.
- Mute audio: This mutes the voice giving the turn-by-turn directions.
- See route overview: This allows you to see an overview of the entire route in progress on the map.
Once you’ve arrived, Google Maps will alert you by voice, and the screen will change. Tap “End Trip” to clear the trip from Google Maps. After that, you’re free to enter a new destination and start again (or simply get out of your car and eat a cheeseburger).
How to Change Settings in Google Maps on CarPlay
If you’d like to change settings in Google Maps while using CarPlay, tap your car’s touch screen until you see a blue gear icon, then tap the “gear” icon. After that, a “Settings” menu will appear. We’ll briefly go over what each option in the Settings menu does.
- Route options: This allows you to specify that you’d like to avoid highways, toll roads, or ferries while Google Maps suggests potential routes.
- Map colors: This changes the color of the Google Maps interface. The options are “Day” (a white theme), “Night” (a dark theme), or “Automatic,” which automatically changes from Day or Night theme depending on time of day.
- Satellite map: This option toggles (turns on or off) satellite map imagery. This imagery shows real overhead photography of the world around you, but it consumes extra cellular data while in use and may be potentially slower to load in some locations where your cell signal is weak.
- Traffic: This toggles the traffic status overlay. When enabled, you will see local traffic conditions overlaid onto the roads using colored lines. Green means traffic is flowing smoothly, orange means somewhat congested, and red means that traffic is moving very slowly in that area.
- North up: This changes map orientation from a “behind the car” orientation where the map rotates around your vehicle to a “North up” orientation where the map is always oriented with north facing up.
- Volume: This allows you to adjust the volume of the voice that gives turn-by-turn directions and route warnings.
If you’d like to change any of these settings, tap the corresponding button in the menu. After you’re finished in Settings, tap the “Back” button, and your changes will be saved. Safe travels! READ NEXT
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Ditch Apple Maps and switch to Google navigation
What to Know
- Add by installing Google Maps to iPhone > connect iPhone to CarPlay > open CarPlay and select Google Maps.
- Select E in top-left to enter destination/access settings. Select Add Destination to look up locations.
- Google Maps can’t be set to default. There is no Street View in CarPlay.
This article explains how to add Google Maps functionality to CarPlay on an iPhone 5s or newer running iOS 12 or higher.
How to Add Google Maps to CarPlay
It’s generally simple to install and add new apps to CarPlay. Here’s what you need to do.
- Install Google Maps to your iPhone via the App Store.
- Connect your iPhone to your car’s CarPlay system.
- Open CarPlay on your car’s infotainment dash and Google Maps should now be available as an icon.On rare occasions, Google Maps needs to be manually added. From your phone, go to Settings > General > CarPlay. Tap your car’s name, then tap the + next to Google Maps on the list to add it.
How to Use Google Maps on CarPlay
Google Maps on CarPlay works a lot like regular Google Maps, but there are some key differences. Here’s an overview of the main parts of the app.
Upon first opening Google Maps, you’re able to see where you’re currently located. Tap the E in the top left corner and you can enter a destination or access other settings. You can also pinch to zoom in or out to look at different areas of the map.
Google Maps offers a satellite view feature that Apple Maps lacks. You can see the road and area you’re driving around from above, which can be useful in certain situations.
Add Destination Screen
Tap Add Destination and you can look up gas stations, restaurants, supermarkets, coffee shops, or search for a specific destination. It’s also possible to look through your recent Google Maps searches.
Download Offline Maps
If you know you’re traveling somewhere that has a spotty signal, you can choose to download maps to view offline via the Google Maps iOS app.
Have saved lists on Google Maps? You can import those to CarPlay, too.
Here, you can change whether Google Maps informs you of traffic issues in your area, change the color scheme, choose to avoid freeways via route settings, as well as change the volume of the instructions.
What Can’t Google Maps Do?
Google Maps is a useful alternative to Apple Maps, but there are some limitations to what it’s capable of doing. Here are some key features it currently lacks:
Always open Google Maps manually so you can use it instead of Apple Maps.
- You can’t set it as a default app: It’s not possible to set Google Maps as the default navigation app, so if you ask Siri (which only supports Apple-based apps) for directions, it will still automatically open Apple Maps.
- There’s no Google Street View: Google Street View is one of the most useful additions to the browser version of Google Maps, but you can’t use it via CarPlay.
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