Apple Maps is an excellent and constantly improving app for the the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and – ever since the launch of
Mavericks in 2013 – the Mac. Maps on the Mac features a similar look to its iOS counterpart, and includes support for many of its features: you can look for locations, see maps in 2D or 3D, get directions and see traffic information.
In this article, which covers each version of macOS from Mavericks up to
Sierra, we explain how to use Maps on the Mac: a wide range of tips that explore its features and help you get more out of them. Read next:
Apple Maps vs Google Maps
How do I look up addresses or locations?
Type the location you are searching for into the search box at the top (or top right in Mavericks). It will suggest various locations that should fulfil your query. You will get more accurate results if you have Wi-Fi switched on.
As soon as you click the search bar, in fact, you’ll see suggestions of recently visited locations; if you click Favourites at the top of the list, you can choose to view recents, or saved Favorites – we’ll show how to add locations to Favorites in a moment – or your entire contacts list (or a subgroup of it).
In older versions of Maps you could view your bookmarks, recently visited locations and the location of your contacts by clicking on the symbol that looks like an open book, but that icon has since been removed.
How do I find my location?
To find your current location click on the Current Position icon, to the left of the search bar. The map will scroll over to your current location. (In our experience with older versions of Maps we sometimes found that a few clicks of the mouse were required for it to register.)
Maps isn’t finding my location. What can I do?
Maps will only find your location if you’re using Wi-Fi on your Mac, just being plugged into the work ethernet network won’t be enough. Location services need you to turn on Wi-Fi.
If Maps still isn’t finding your current location, open System Preferences, click Security & Privacy and make sure the Privacy tab is selected. Click Location Services at the top of the list and make sure Enable Location Services and Maps both have ticks next to them.
Remember to click the lock after making any changes so that other users won’t be able to alter settings without entering a password.
How do I add locations to my Favorites?
To add a landmark, restaurant, shop or landmark to Favorites, click the location, or its pin, or its name in the search list on the left, any of which will make a little banner pop up (if it’s not showing already). Now click the ‘i’ to get more information in a larger banner, and finally click the heart icon at the top.
Now when you click Favorites in the search bar you will see the landmark listed.
It’s also easy to find an address and add it to your Contacts.
Search for the address or postcode, and click on the ‘i’ to bring up more information. You can now select Create New Contact. There doesn’t appear, at present, to be a simple way to add an address to an existing contact as there is on the iOS version of Maps, although being on the Mac obviously makes it a bit easier to copy and paste the relevant information across.
How do I get directions to a location?
A location’s large banner (brought up by clicking the ‘i’) has some other options, most importantly Directions. In fact, you can just click the blue icon on the left of the small banner, showing a mode of transport and a time, to just straight to directions there.
The directions offered will automatically start from your current location, provided you’ve got Wi-Fi enabled. To change the start location, click the Start box at the top of the Directions pane and enter something else; you can also swap the Start and End locations by tapping the wiggly arrow. You will get written turn-by-turn directions for Drive, Walk or Transit (public transport).
Maps may offer multiple routes. The recommended choice will be dark blue, the alternatives slightly paler; all will be labelled with the time they take. Click one of the alternatives to switch to that.
If you select Print (cmd-P) you can print out the directions. The first page will show the complete map of your journey and a detailed map of the start of your journey (which seems a bit redundant). The printed route includes all the turn-by-turn directions.
But a better option for many will be to send the directions to your iPhone.
How do I send directions from a Mac to an iPhone?
Select the Share icon (the arrow coming out of a box) and choose to send to your iPhone or iPad. Unfortunately it’s not possible to send to someone else’s iPhone this way, but you could use Mail to email the instructions or Messages to send them to your friend’s iPhone.
To send instructions as an iMessage select the Share icon, then Messages, and enter the contact details. Your friend will receive a text that includes a link and an image of the map. If they tap the link they will see the route on their iPhone, Tap Start to get turn-by-turn directions. Unfortunately these aren’t spoken directions – despite the fact that you would get spoken directions if you performed the initial location search on an iPhone.
How do I view traffic information?
To see traffic information select the car icon, top left, click on any icon to get information about road works, accidents, and hazards that might affect your journey.
Can I open more than one Map?
Yes! Just select File > New Window, or cmd-N.
Can I open Maps from other apps?
You can open a map from Mail, Contacts and TextEdit. In TextEdit select the address, right click, and choose Show Address, then Open in Maps. In Contacts hover over on the address and then select Show Map. In Mail hover over the address and click the arrow that appears.
To move around the map with a mouse click and hold and then move your mouse around to reposition the map. Scrolling up or down on your scroll wheel will zoom in and out of the map. To move around the map using a track pad, scroll with two fingers.
You can also rotate the map by selecting the pointer on the compass icon (bottom right) while dragging left of right with your mouse, or rotate using your fingers on the track pad. To return to the North-facing orientation, click on the compass or press cmd-[up arrow].
If you select the Bookmarks icon and All Contacts the contacts for whom you have address information will appear in bold.
How do I get 3D view in Maps?
You can switch between standard, hybrid, satellite and 3D views. Select Standard, Satellite or Hybrid from the menu at the top of the window. When in Satellite and Hybrid view you an also select 3D to get flyover view of various cities, select the skyscraper icon and the map will rotate into a 3D view. Zoom in closer to get more detail. Adjust the camera angle by clicking on the pointer of the compass while you drag around the screen.
You can adjust the labels (such as road names) in any view by selecting View > Labels > Use Large Labels.
How do I add a pin to a Map?
To add a pin to a map, either right click or select View > Drop Pin and select the pin and lift it into the location you wish to pinpoint. Right click to pick it up and move it to a different location.
Click on the ‘i’ beside your Dropped Pin and you can choose Add Bookmark, Get Directions, Remove Pin or Report a Problem. Unfortunately you can’t add to your Contacts. If you choose to Add to Bookmarks you will find it listed as ‘Dropped Pin’. However you can change the name of your bookmarks by selecting the Bookmarks icon then Edit.
Click on a pin or a icon and then click on the ‘i’ to see more info. Choose Get Directions. Now select the Car for driving directions or the person for walking directions. If multiple routes appear on the map, click the one you want to take.