How to calibrate your Google Maps app to give more accurate directions, on iPhone or Android

  • If your Google Maps app isn't giving you the most accurate results, you may want to calibrate it to ensure you get the right directions.
  • There are several methods you can use to calibrate Google Maps, including calibrating the compass and restarting your phone. But keep in mind that your options may be slightly limited if you have an iPhone.
  • Here's what you need to know to calibrate in Google Maps and thereby improve its accuracy.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

When it comes to getting directions, accuracy is everything. So when your GPS is having a hard time identifying your location, things can get frustrating — fast. 

If you use Google Maps, there are ways to improve the accuracy: calibrating the compass so it points in the correct direction, for instance, or turning on high-accuracy mode on your Android phone. 

There are several ways to get better directions and results while using the Google Maps app on your Android phone, as we detail below.  

If you have an iPhone, however, the below methods won't work, so you should try restarting your phone or enabling Wi-Fi to improve the accuracy of your Google Maps app.

Check out the products mentioned in this article:

iPhone 11 (From $699.99 at Best Buy)

Samsung Galaxy S10 (From $749.99 at Best Buy)

How to calibrate Google Maps with settings on an Android phone

Compass calibration

If you open your Google Maps app and see that the blue dot is pointing in the wrong direction, or is in the wrong location, calibration can help you get a more accurate reading. Here's how to do it on an Android phone:

1. Go into your Google Maps app, if it's not already open.

2. While holding your phone, move your hand in a figure eight motion — you should see the beam narrow as you go. Keep in mind it may take a few times for this to work.

Turning on high-accuracy mode

High-accuracy mode is a helpful tool in getting your Google Maps app up to speed. But keep in mind that this method only works if you have an Android:

3. Open your device's Settings app.

4. Tap "Location." Depending on your device, it may also be labeled as "Security and Location"

2 HOW TO CALIBRATE GOOGLE MAPS

Open your device's "Location" menu.
Devon Delfino/Business Insider

5. Switch on the location setting, if necessary.

3 HOW TO CALIBRATE GOOGLE MAPS

Make sure that location services are turned on.
Devon Delfino/Business Insider

6. Tap "Mode."

7. Select "High Accuracy."

4 HOW TO CALIBRATE GOOGLE MAPS

Activate the highest accuracy location mode.
Devon Delfino/Business Insider

How to calibrate Google Maps on an iPhone or Android with other basic fixes

There aren't as many fancy tricks to fix Google Maps on an iPhone.

First, you should turn on Wi-Fi on your phone. You don't need to connect to a network, you just need to turn on the setting. On both iPhone and Android, turning on Wi-Fi will make Google Maps more accurate, as it scans nearby Wi-Fi signals to locate you.

If that doesn't work, try restarting your iPhone or Android. Your phone's GPS sensors may simply need to be rebooted. For more information on how to restart an iPhone, see our article, "How to restart and force-restart any iPhone model."

Finally, on an iPhone specifically, make sure that location services are turned on. To do this:

1. Open your Settings app and go to the "Privacy" tab.

2. At the top of the Privacy screen, tap "Location Services."

3. Make sure that the switch at the top of the next screen is flipped to the right, and is colored green. If it's not, tap it.

4. Scroll down to your list of apps until you find Google Maps, and tap on it.

5. On the next screen, select either "While Using the App" or "Always." This will allow the Google Maps app to access your precise location faster.

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