How to clear your Apple Maps search history

It’s funny how you can use an app for ages, but still learn new things about it.

Earlier this week I gave a presentation to the North Coast Mac Users Group, and during their question-and-answer session, someone asked how to clear the search history in Apple’s Maps app.

My instinct was to tap in the app’s search bar, which displays a list of your previous searches right below the search box. That’s my go-to location when I’m trying to bring up a past search. But while you can tap on past searches from there in order to revisit them, you can’t swipe on individual items to delete them and there’s no button to clear them all out. (Users of Apple Maps on the iPad are provided with a handy Clear button right within the search window—but iPhone users are not so lucky.)

Tap the Bookmark icon to access the Bookmarks, Recents, and Contacts lists.

To get to the right place, you need to tap the Bookmark icon in the top right corner of the screen. (I was reminded of that Doctor Who episode with the extra door that nobody could see: I’m not sure I’ve ever tapped that Bookmark icon, but presumably it’s been sitting right there the entire time!)

Anyway, once you tap that unassuming icon, you’re presented with a tabbed interface that will show you bookmarked locations, a list of recent locations, and your contacts. After you tap on Recents, look in the top left corner of the screen and you’ll see a Clear button. You can’t delete individual items from the recents list, but you can blast the entire thing out, so nobody needs to see how often you search for the closest nearby Domino’s Pizza.

Tap the Clear button to clear your history.

Since you’re here, you can also manage your Bookmarks from the Bookmarks tab: There’s an Edit button that will let you delete individual Bookmarks and even rename and reorder them. Fancy.

So there you have it: A feature that may seem obvious, but one that stumped an entire room of people (including me, temporarily). If this tip seemed obvious to you, congratulations! You are definitely more perceptive than me, and stand a much better chance of not being eaten by Prisoner Zero.

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