How to Find Yourself in Your iPhone’s Map App

By Joe Hutsko, Barbara Boyd

With iPhone Location Services on, Maps can tell you where you are. Tap Maps on the Home screen to open Maps, and then tap the Tracking button in the lower-left corner. If you have Location Services turned off, a notification message gives you the option of turning it on so Maps can find you.

Your exact location is the blue dot on the map. If there is a pulsing circle around the blue dot, your location is approximate; the smaller the circle, the more precise your location. If you’re walking or driving, the blue dot moves along the map as you move along the road (or hiking trail or beach surf — you follow our point).

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Change the orientation, size, and view of the map by doing the following:

  • Double-tap the Tracking button and a flashlight beam shines from the blue dot, lighting the way your iPhone is oriented. The Tracking button at the bottom of the screen changes from an arrow pointing to the right to a solid arrow pointing up. A compass appears in the upper-right corner to show the direction you’re facing.

  • Use the spread and pinch gestures with your thumb and forefinger (or the two fingers that are comfortable for you) to zoom in and out of the map. When your fingers are on the screen, a scale appears in the upper-left corner to help you understand distances; it disappears when you lift your fingers.

  • Double-tap with one finger to zoom in.

  • Double-tap with two fingers to zoom out.

  • Drag two fingers up the screen to switch to 3D mode; drag two fingers down to flatten the map again.

  • Tap the Info button to select Standard, Satellite, or Hybrid (a combination of the first two) view and 2D or 3D for any of them — especially cool in satellite view.

When in Hybrid view, zoom out until you see city names. Tap a city name written in yellow. A flag reads City Name Flyover City. Tap the Tour button on the left end of the flag, and a 3D flyover video begins playing. Tap End Flyover Tour at the bottom of the screen to stop the tour.

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Single-tap the map with one finger to hide the search and command bars at the top and bottom of the screen to see as much map as possible; single-tap again to bring them back into view.

The following gestures cancel Tracking if you’re using it, although the zooming and 3D gestures work with or without Tracking:

  • Use two fingers to rotate the map.

  • Tap the Compass button that appears in the upper-right corner to return to a north-facing orientation.

  • Drag one finger around the screen to move the map up, down, or sideways.

Maps combines the GPS, Wi-Fi, and cellular network data to determine your location and then uses TomTom and other mapping services to display locations and calculate routes.