How to Use the Maps App on the Amazon Fire Phone

By Dan Gookin

The Maps app on your Fire phone is digital. It charts everything you need to find your way: freeways, highways, roads, streets, avenues, drives, bike paths, addresses, businesses, and points of interest.

Using the Maps app

Start the Maps app by choosing Maps from the App Grid, or it might be found on the Carousel if you’ve used it recently.

The first time you start the Maps app, or after an update, you might be prompted to agree to the terms and conditions. Do so.

The Maps app takes advantage of the phone’s GPS radio. It communicates with GPS satellites to hone in on your current location. That location appears on the map. The position is accurate to within a given range, as shown by a circle around your location. If the circle doesn’t appear, your location is either pretty darn accurate or you need to zoom in.

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Here are some fun things you can do when viewing the basic street map:

Zoom in: To make the map larger (to move it closer), double-tap the screen. You can also spread your fingers on the touchscreen to zoom in.

Zoom out: To make the map smaller (to see more), pinch your fingers on the touchscreen.

Pan and scroll: To see what’s to the left or right or at the top or bottom of the map, swipe your finger on the touchscreen. The map scrolls in the direction you swipe.

Rotate: Using two fingers, rotate the map clockwise or counterclockwise. Touch the Compass Pointer icon to reorient the map with north at the top of the screen.

Perspective: Tilt the phone in any direction to view the map in perspective. You can also touch the screen with two fingers and swipe up or down.

The closer you zoom in to the map, the more detail you see, such as street names, address block numbers, and businesses and other sites — but no tiny people.

Activate location technologies

The Maps app works best when all the Fire phone’s location technologies are activated. The operation is simple: From the Apps Grid, open the Settings icon. Choose the Location Services item. If you see the item Disable Enhanced Location Services, you’re all set.

If you see the item Enable Enhanced Location Services, choose that item. On the Location screen, slide the master control by Location Services to the On position. Slide the master control by the Enhanced Location Services item to the On position.

Some apps access the phone’s location technology. You can disable this feature, preventing some apps from knowing your location. To do so, open the Settings app, choose Location Services, and then Disable Enhanced Location Services. Swipe down the screen to peruse the apps that use location services. Slide the master control by a specific app to the Off position to prevent that app from knowing where you are.

Adding layers

You add details to the map by applying layers: A layer can enhance the map’s visual appearance, provide more information, or add other fun features to the basic street map, such as the Satellite layer.

Layers are accessed from the Navigation panel. Two layers are available: Satellite and Traffic.

The Satellite layer shows details obtained from alien war machines in low orbit around Earth. Okay, maybe it’s merely ground imagery from our own satellites.

The Traffic layer highlights road conditions, showing colors from green to deep red, depending on how fast things are moving.

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To remove a layer, choose it again from the navigation drawer; any active layer appears highlighted. When a layer isn’t applied, the street view appears.