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How to Use Apple Maps: A Step-by-Step Guide for Seniors

iPhones and other Apple products use Apple Maps to provide directions and view traffic in real time.

Taylor Shuman Taylor Shuman Senior Tech Expert & Editor is supported by commissions from providers listed on our site. Read our Editorial Guidelines

If you aren’t taking advantage of the GPS navigation available on your iPhone, it’s time to get familiar with it! Apple devices come pre-installed with the Apple Maps app. Not just for people with cars, Apple Maps can help you get around whether you are driving, walking, biking, or taking the bus. It can give you details about restaurants near you, let you know the traffic in real time, tell you if your bus is late, and recommend sights in a new city.

Apple Maps can help you both plan an outing and get there safely. Whether you’re getting directions to pick up the grandkids or meeting friends for lunch at a new eatery, the app has you covered. Below is a step-by-step guide to get the most out of this application. You will learn how to find a destination and navigate to it, share your location, use Siri to direct you, and set up Apple maps to suit your needs.

Did You Know?

Did You Know? Siri can do more than just help you with directions. To learn more about how to use Siri and all of its functions, head to our Siri guide. Seniors are often surprised by what Siri can do to make their lives easier.

Getting Familiar with Apple Maps

Below, we’ll cover how to find Apple Maps on your phone and get familiar with how the app works.

Find Apple Maps

If you aren’t familiar with the app, you may need to find it first. For Apple products, it will come pre-installed on your homescreen, and it looks like the image below.

Apple Maps on your home screen

Apple Maps on your home screen

If you are having trouble locating it, you can search for the app. Swipe down from the middle of your home screen to access your search bar and type “maps.”

Click "Maps" on the left

Click “Maps” on the left

Open Apple Maps

There are a couple of ways to open the app:

  • Simply tap on the app icon wherever it resides on your homescreen.
  • Tap “Apple Maps” from your today view by swiping right from your homescreen.

    Swipe right on your home screen to open Apple Maps

    Swipe right on your home screen to open Apple Maps

  • Click an address from a website, text message, or email, and Apple should automatically open Maps to that location.

Add Important Addresses

When you open the app you will see a list of “Favorites.” You can put your home address, as well as other addresses you use frequently, to save time later on. That way, you won’t have to type in the full address every time you want directions to your house or another important address. Here’s how to add to your favorites.

  1. Tap “Home,” “Work,” or “Add.”

    Viewing your favorites – Apple Maps

    Viewing your favorites

  2. The app prompts you to open your contact card on your phone.

    Set up your contact card

    Set up your contact card

  3. Type in the address that you want to add to your favorites, and click “Done” in the top right corner when you’re finished.

    Adding an address to your favorites

    Adding an address to your favorites

Choose Your View: Map, Satellite, or Transit

When you open the Apple Maps app, you’ll see a traditional view of the map. You can also change to a satellite view or transit view to see traffic if you prefer. Here’s how to change your view.

  1. In the top right corner of the screen, tap the “i” icon. It looks like the image below.The "i" icon
  2. Tap any of the three views that you’d like to use.

    Choosing your map view - Apple Maps

    Choosing your map view

  3. Depending on which view you choose, your screen will look like one of the three images below.
    Map view - Apple Maps

    Map view

    Transit view - Apple Maps

    Transit view

    Satellite view - Apple Maps

    Satellite view

Pin and Share Your Location

You can mark where you currently are on your map or share your location with other people. This is helpful if you want to remember where you parked, or you want to send your location to someone if they are picking you up or just want to know where you are.

  1. Tap the “i” icon.The "i" icon
  2. Then, tap “Mark my Location.” This will create a red pin marking the location that you tapped.

    Mark your location - Apple Maps

    Mark your location

  3. Hit the “Share” icon. This will allow you to message your location to someone else.

    Share a pin - Apple Maps

    Share a pin

  4. When you no longer need that location marked, tap the red pin and select “Remove.”

    Removing a pin - Apple Maps

    Removing a pin

Pro Tip:

Pro Tip: You can mark a location to help remember where you parked!

How to View Nearby Locations in Apple Maps

Apple Maps is extremely useful for finding out what is around you. Whether you are looking for a restaurant, store, gas station, or repair shop, you can start your search in the Maps app and get all of the information you need. Here’s how!

  1. Tap the search bar and either:
    • Select a category from the “Find Nearby” options.

      Search by category - Apple Maps

      Search by category

    • Type or dictate a specific category such as “urgent care.”

      Searching for a specific category - Apple Maps

      Searching for a specific category

  2. Select a business or location in order to view it. When you select a location, you’ll be able to see the following information:
    • Address
    • Directions
    • Contact information, including a click-to-call option
    • Hours of operation
    • Yelp reviews and menus
    • Photos and a 360-degree view of the exterior

FYI: In addition to helping with navigation, smartphone apps can aid individuals with vision loss. Check out our list of accessibility apps for those with poor vision – it may help you or a loved one.

How to Get Directions to a Location

Once you have chosen where to go, Apple Maps will help you navigate there from either your current location or a location you specify.

  1. Tap “Directions.”

    Tap "Directions" - Apple Maps

    Tap “Directions”

  2. Select your method of transportation: drive, walk, public transportation, bicycle, or ride- share, by tapping the appropriate icon.

    Choose your method of transportation - Apple Maps

    Choose your method of transportation

  3. Tap “Tolls” or “Highways” under the “Avoid” section if you wish. You’ll know it worked when the grey slider button turns green. Apple Maps will adjust the route based on your selection. This is great if you prefer to avoid the highway or don’t want to pay for a toll road.

    Avoid tolls or highways - Apple Maps

    Avoid tolls or highways

  4. Apple Maps will often present multiple routes to your destination. There may be a faster route than the suggested one if you are willing to pay a toll or take a slower route you are more comfortable with. Here’s how to select a route.
    1. Toggle between the different routes on the map by tapping the different blue lines.

      Tap between different routes - Apple Maps

      Tap between different routes

    2. Or, select a route from the options below the map by tapping on a route from the list. This will allow you to see turn-by-turn directions.

      View turn-by-turn directions for a specific route - Apple Maps

      View turn-by-turn directions for a specific route

  5. Once you’ve chosen the route you like, hit “Go.”

    Tap “Go” – Apple Maps

    Tap “Go”

Using Apple Maps on Your Way to the Destination

Important Features to Know

Once you are navigating to a destination, you will be able to:

    • View
      • Your arrival time as well as time and distance remaining
      • The speed limit, as well as speed and red light cameras approaching
      • Restaurants, gas stations, and coffee shops on your route
      • Turn-by-turn directions
    • Share
      • Your ETA with someone else

        Share your ETA - Apple Maps

        Share your ETA

    • Change
      • The audio volume of the navigation

        Adjust the volume level - Apple Maps

        Adjust the volume level

Pro Tip:

Pro Tip: If you have hearing loss or are in a crowded area, consider pairing your smartphone with noise-canceling earbuds so you can more clearly hear directions.

How to Get a List View of Your Directions

If you want to know more about your route before you head out, you can view each route in a list view.

  1. Select a route and tap “Go.”
  2. Tap the route card at the bottom of the screen and select “Details.”

    Select "Details" - Apple Maps

    Select “Details”

  3. Here, you’ll be able to view a full list of your directions. Any steps you’ve already completed will be grayed out.

    Get a list-view of your directions - Apple Maps

    Get a list-view of your directions

How to Add a New Stop to Your Route

If you need to make a stop during your trip, you can add one while navigating. This is handy when you’re on a long road trip, and you need to gas up or grab some food on the way.

  1. Tap the “Route” card at the bottom of the screen and select the type of location you want to look for, whether it’s restaurants, gas stations, or coffee.

    Choose the type of stop you want to add - Apple Maps

    Choose the type of stop you want to add

  2. Options near your route will be displayed both on the map and in a list form.

    Viewing gas stations along your route - Apple Maps

    Viewing gas stations along your route

  3. Tap “Go” next to one of the options to begin navigating there.
  4. After your stop, or if you change your mind and no longer want to make the additional stop, tap “Resume Route” in blue up at the top.

    Resume your route - Apple Maps

    Resume your route

How to End Navigation

  1. To end navigation, simply tap the red “End” icon.

    Tap "End" - Apple Maps

    Tap “End”

  2. Then tap “End Route” to confirm that you would like to exit.

    Tap "End Route" - Apple Maps

    Tap “End Route”

How to Use Siri to Get Directions

Using Siri can be especially useful for getting directions in Maps. It can be a much quicker way to navigate if you have trouble typing on or reading your smartphone’s screen. You can say things like “Give me walking directions home,” or “Give me directions to Ann’s house.” If you have not yet enabled Siri:

  1. Go to your ”Settings” app. Next, tap “Siri & Search.”

    Tap "Siri & Search" - Apple Maps

    Tap “Siri & Search”

  2. Make sure the toggle icons under the “Ask Siri” header are on. You’ll know they are on when they turn from gray to green.

    Toggle on the "Ask Siri" settings - Apple Maps

    Toggle on the “Ask Siri” settings

Now, all you have to do is summon Siri by either pressing your home button (if your iPhone model has one) or the button on the right side of your phone (if your iPhone doesn’t have a home button). Just tell Siri where you want to go, and she’ll get everything set up!

Written By:
Taylor Shuman
Senior Tech Expert & Editor
Read About Our Panel of Experts
As’s tech expert and editor, Taylor has years of experience reviewing products and services for seniors. She is passionate about breaking down stigmas related to seniors and technology. She loves finding innovative ways to teach seniors about products and… Learn More About Taylor Shuman