How to Switch Views in Maps on Your iMac

By Mark L. Chambers

You may often find yourself needing to switch views in your iMac’s Map app. A traditional printed map offers you only one view, which may be perfectly fine for determining a route but provides no visual interest. (The word banal comes to mind.) Maps, on the other hand, offers three types of views, each of which offers certain advantages:

  • Standard (or Map) mode is a familiar line map, with streets and highways marked. Standard mode is best for planning a road trip, just like your father’s old-fashioned paper map.
  • Transit mode displays public transportation routes and bus, subway, and train schedules. Note, however, that Transit information is not available in every location.
  • Satellite mode is a photographic overhead view without streets or highways marked, which is great for panoramic views of your neighborhood or a location and its surroundings.

To select your view, click one of the two buttons at the top of the Maps window, or press ⌘+1 for Standard/Map, ⌘+2 for Transit, or ⌘+3 for Satellite.

Standard View
Standard view is reminiscent of an auto GPS unit.

Have you noticed the Show pop-up menu at the lower-left corner of the Maps window? If you’re using Satellite view, you can click the Show menu and choose Show Labels to toggle street names on and off. The Show pop-up menu also allows you to display traffic conditions and toggle the 3D map.

“Wait, there’s a 3D map option?” Yes, indeed, and no special glasses are required! For additional visual thrills, you can angle the Maps display with a slight 3D effect — nothing quite as grand as a 3D TV, but it does help add depth to Satellite and Hybrid views. To toggle 3D on and off, press ⌘+0, click the Show pop-up menu, or click the 3D button at the lower-left corner of the window.

By default, Maps is oriented with north at the top of the screen, but if you need to change the orientation, click the red compass arrow at the bottom-right corner of the screen and drag in the desired direction. To immediately return to north at the top of the screen, press ↑ or click View→Snap to North.