How to rotate Google Maps for better navigation

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google maps on a mobile phone

Google Maps is my favorite navigational tool, but sometimes it just doesn’t look right. Perhaps I can’t see something in the distance or, if I’m looking at another map, the one on Google Maps is facing the wrong way. Whatever the case may be, you need to know how to rotate Google Maps to correctly see and navigate your routes.

Read more: How to change Google Maps voice and language

QUICK ANSWER 

To rotate a map on the Google Maps mobile application, place two fingers down on the map and spin them around clockwise or counterclockwise while holding the phone stationary. Your map will be manipulated according to the direction of your multi-touch input.


JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS 

How to rotate Google Maps (Android and iOS)

If you want to manipulate your on-screen map on Google Maps, it is straightforward to do on your Android or iOS device. It will allow you to see your available routes better and look at the map from the direction you’re facing.

rotate google maps with finger placement demonstration screenshot

Curtis Joe / Android Authority

Place two fingers down, represented by red dots, and then rotate.

Open the Google Maps app and place two of your fingers down anywhere on the map to rotate it.

  • Pinching your fingers inwards will zoom out on the map.
  • Pushing your fingers outwards, away from each other, will zoom in on the map.
  • If you twist your fingers, meaning that you spin them clockwise or counterclockwise, you will rotate your map on Google Maps.

This tip also applies to the navigational screen, which has directions and how far you are away from your destination. After you have found the directions to where you want to go, press Start to enter the navigational screen and start making your way to your destination. The Google Maps voice will start telling you where to go.

rotate google maps with finger placement demonstration screenshot 2

Curtis Joe / Android Authority

Place two fingers down anywhere on the navigational screen and rotate.

Place two fingers down on the screen anywhere and then turn them. Your map will rotate according to the direction of your multi-touch inputs.

How to rotate Google Maps (desktop)

Rotating a Google map on your desktop is just as easy as your phone. However, there are a few things that you must make sure are enabled before you can rotate the map at all.

Go to the Google Maps website in your browser. If you have it installed on your computer, you can open it this way too.

rotate a google map on pc or mac 1

Curtis Joe / Android Authority

Move your cursor over the Layers button in the bottom left. From the small menu that pops out, click More.

rotate a google map on pc or mac 2

Curtis Joe / Android Authority

  • In the More menu, click Globe view and Satellite. These two options must be active to be able to rotate Google Maps.
rotate a google map on pc or mac 3

Curtis Joe / Android Authority

Your map view will change. Everything on Google Maps will now look true to life, and, more importantly, there will be a small compass in the bottom right corner of the screen. When you see this compass, that means you can start rotating Google Maps.

There are two primary ways for you to rotate the map in front of you:

  • Hold down Ctrl, then left-click anywhere on the map. While holding down your left-click, drag your cursor around to rotate the map.
  • Click the small arrows spinning around the compass in the bottom right.
rotate a google map on pc or mac 4.1

Curtis Joe / Android Authority

Which way is north on Google Maps?

As long as you have Globe view and Satellite active, Google Maps provides a compass in the bottom right corner of the screen. The red side of the needle will always be pointing north, while the white side of the needle points south.

desktop compass in google maps

Curtis Joe / Android Authority

The same goes for Android and iOS devices using Google Maps. There is a compass in the top right corner of the map, underneath the layers button. If you cannot see the compass, use two fingers to start rotating the map; the compass will subsequently appear.

mobile app compass in google maps

Curtis Joe / Android Authority

If you are tilting your phone, Google Maps won’t automatically rotate. You must use two fingers and rotate the map.

How do I rotate Google Maps with a keyboard?

There is supposedly a shortcut where you can hold Shift and use the left or right arrow keys to rotate the map. However, we couldn’t get this to work. Instead, hold down Ctrl on the computer, then click and drag anywhere on the map to rotate it. This only works when Globe view and Satellite are active.

How do I get Google Maps to auto-rotate?

If you want to use Google Maps in landscape mode, you can turn on auto-rotate in your device settings.

Alternatively, click your profile picture, then go to Settings–>Navigation settings–>Keep map north up. Now, on the navigation screen, north will always be facing up.

How do I rotate 3D Google Maps?

On your computer, open Google Maps from the website. Turn on Globe view and Satellite. Hold down Ctrl, then click and drag anywhere on the map to rotate it. Moving your mouse up and down will alter the vertical angle, while moving it left and right will rotate your view clockwise or counterclockwise.

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