How to Get Route Maps and Driving Directions on Your iPad

By Edward C. Baig, Bob LeVitus

You can get route maps and driving directions on your iPad to any location from any location (within reason; a former tech editor tried to get driving directions from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington, DC, to 10 Downing Street in London, but that didn’t work). Just follow these steps:

  1. Tell your iPad to get directions for you.

    You can do so in a few ways:

    • When youre looking at a map screen: Tap the Directions button in the upper-left corner of the screen. The search field transforms into Start and End fields.

    • If a pushpin is already on the screen: Tap the pushpin and then tap the little i-in-a-circle to the right of the name or description. This action displays the item’s info screen. Tap the Directions to Here or Directions from Here button to get directions to or from that location, respectively.

    • Ask Siri for directions: Press and hold the Home button, and ask Siri, “How do I get to (fill in the blank)?” (This, of course, works only if your iPad includes Siri.)

  2. Tap in the Start or End field to designate the starting or ending point of your trip.

    You can either type the start or end point or choose it from a list of your favorites, recent maps, or contacts.

  3. (Optional) If you need to swap the starting and ending locations, tap the little swirly arrow button between the Start and End fields.

  4. When the start and end locations are correct, tap the Route button in the upper-right corner of the Directions overlay.

    Suggested routes appear on the map.

    Three routing options for travel from the State Capitol in Austin, Texas, to Black’s Barbecue
    Three routing options for travel from the State Capitol in Austin, Texas, to Black’s Barbecue in Lockhart, Texas.

    If multiple routes exist, Maps shows you up to three. To switch routes, just tap the route you want to switch to. Note that the text at the bottom of the list on the left updates to tell you the time and distance of the selected route.

  5. (Optional) Tap the Drive, Walk, or Transit tab (upper left) to choose driving, walking, or public transportation directions.

    The transit view is just the map view with added information about bus and train routes and stations. At present, it’s available in only a handful of cities in the U.S. and China, with the promise of additional cities soon.

  6. If Maps suggests several routes, select one by tapping its light blue line or balloon.

    Tap the little i-in-a-circle in the lower-right corner of the map you’re viewing and then tap the Show Traffic button to help you decide which route will be most expedient.

  7. Tap the Start button at the bottom of the screen to begin your directions.

    When you tap the Start button, a series of stark white road signs appear across the top of the map, one for each step in the directions.

    The road signs show you each step of your route.
    The road signs show you each step of your route.
  8. Navigate your directions by swiping the road signs to the left or right or by choosing from a list:

    • Road signs: Swipe right or left on the road signs to see the next or previous step in your route. Or just drive, and the map directions will update automatically as you proceed.

    • List: If you prefer to see your driving directions displayed as a list, tap the Overview button near the top-right corner of the screen and then tap the List button at the bottom of the screen, dead center. The steps appear in an overlay.

      Step-by-step driving directions displayed as a list.
      Step-by-step driving directions displayed as a list.
  9. Tap any step in the list to see that leg of the trip displayed on the map. Tap outside the list to return to the map.