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10 smart Google Maps settings that everyone should use



Every time you go to a new place, there’s a good chance you instinctively pull up Google Maps to help you there – there’s no better tool out there for navigation and traffic updates. But even if you use it practically every day, there is a good chance that you have not gotten the most out of any of the better features.

The service has many useful (but buried) tools – and it’s time to check them out.

Review the navigation settings

Route options in Google Maps.  (Photo: Pranay Parab) Route options in Google Maps. (Photo: Pranay Parab)

Too many people have ended up stranded or delayed because an important navigation setting had changed. For example, you may have asked Google Maps to avoid toll roads during a trip and forgot about it. On your next trip, Google Maps will remember the setting and may take you through longer or less secure routes (depending on where you are).

Press before you start the journey profile icon in Google Maps and go to Settings> Navigation. Under Route options, make sure the correct options are selected. You will definitely not want to avoid highways or tolls in most circumstances, so it is best to check these settings periodically.

Incognito mode

Enable incognito mode in Google Maps.  (Photo: Pranay Parab) Enable incognito mode in Google Maps. (Photo: Pranay Parab)

By default, Google Maps will continue to log in to your searches and location data, unless you request it to do so. Using incognito mode is a quick way to stop some tracking in Google Maps. Press profile icon and select Turn on incognito mode.

Pause the position log

Pause location history on Google Maps.  (Photo: Pranay Parab) Pause location history on Google Maps. (Photo: Pranay Parab)

If you prefer not to let Google Maps keep a tab in your location history, press profile icon and then turn Your data in Maps. Under Position history, Press On. This will take you to the Activity Monitor page in your Google Account.

Turn the blue switch next to it Position history and select Break to stop Google from logging in to your Google Maps locations. You can also press Manage activity to review and remove all previously saved locations. Alternatively, you can keep the position log activated and press Delete automatically to have Google delete this data when they are three months old.

Download maps for offline use

Download Google Maps data for offline use.  (Photo: Pranay Parab) Download Google Maps data for offline use. (Photo: Pranay Parab)

While most of us live in places with a pretty decent internet connection, our travels can take us to remote places with less robust infrastructure. If you are planning such a trip, you need to download maps for offline use. They do not want the exact, up-to-date traffic data you are used to, but they still get lost in a place without mobile reception.

To download a map, press profile icon in Google Maps, then select Disconnected maps. Then press Put your own map and you will see a map that is zoomed out of the place you are in. All you have to do is move the blue rectangle over the area you intend to visit, then press download. Before you download, Google Maps tells you how much space downloaded maps will take up on your smartphone. You can use offline maps for up to 30 days from the download date.

Plot routes with several stops

Add a stop or two to your planned route on Google Maps.  (Photo: Pranay Parab) Add a stop or two to your planned route on Google Maps. (Photo: Pranay Parab)

Since you are planning trips with Google Maps, you should try to simulate the journey by adding planned stops to the route. Usually Google Maps shows the fastest possible route between two places, but if you plan to visit a few other places along the way, adding it to the route will help you get a more realistic ETA.

You can open Google Maps and plot a route first. Once done, tap the three-dot icon at the top right and select Add stop. This will allow you to add another location, and you can drag the icon for the three horizontal lines next to each stop to move it before or after the destination.

Sa a reminder to go

Put a reminder on Google Maps.  (Photo: Pranay Parab) Put a reminder on Google Maps. (Photo: Pranay Parab)

Google Maps can also send you an alert about the time you should take to reach your destination on time. Enter the place you are leaving from and the place you are going to in Google Maps, then press icon with three dots top right and select Set a reminder to leave. You can choose when you want to drag in Departure at and press Finished. Maps will then send you a notification at the time you selected.

Alternatively you can go to Come by tab and select when you want to reach the destination. Google Maps will determine the correct departure time for you to arrive at your destination on time, and send a reminder accordingly.

Replace vehicle icon

You can change the vehicle icon on Google Maps.  (Photo: Pranay Parab) You can change the vehicle icon on Google Maps. (Photo: Pranay Parab)

While on one of these amazing car rides, you can quickly add a small – but fun – element to Google Maps. The default vehicle icon is a blue arrow, and if you tap that arrow, you will also see other car icons. Choose the one you like and you are ready.

Adapt opportunities for public transport

Public transportation route options on Google Maps.  (Photo: Pranay Parab) Public transportation route options on Google Maps. (Photo: Pranay Parab)

When you enter a destination on Google Maps, you also see a small train icon below it. If you tap on this, you can check public transport times and available routes for your trip. This is quite accurate in many places, but the secret sauce here is the customization of this route option. You see these if you press Options button that appears when selecting public transport.

Here you can choose extremely useful options such as Wheelchair accessible and Lowest cost, except for preferred modes of transport.

Share your location in real time

Real-time location sharing on Google Maps.  (Photo: Pranay Parab) Real-time location sharing on Google Maps. (Photo: Pranay Parab)

Google Maps also lets you share your location with others in real time. This may sound a little scary, but it can be a useful security feature. If you feel insecure, you can let close friends or family members monitor your position for some time. This feature is also useful when you are on your way to a friend’s home and they want to see how far you are.

To use this function, press profile icon in Google Maps and press Location sharing. Tap when you want to start sharing Share location and then press I 1 hour to customize how long you want to share your location. Finally, you can select one of your contacts from the list or press Several choices to send a link containing your location in real time using other apps.

Learn more about local businesses

Check more information about your local business on Google Maps.  (Photo: Pranay Parab) Check more information about your local business on Google Maps. (Photo: Pranay Parab)

If you’re not sure if a local business has the facilities you need, look for your business in Google Maps, swipe right below the business name, and then tap About fanen.

This lists a lot of useful information, such as whether the party is wheelchair accessible, if the bathrooms are gender neutral, or if the business is minority owned.


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