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How to Enable the Compass in Apple Maps


It’s incredibly useful to see both a map and a compass at the same time, but Apple Maps doesn’t display both by default. With a quick tweak, we can fix that, and put the two tools in the same place at the same time.

The compass function has been built into the iPhone since the release of the iPhone 3G in 2009, and Apple Maps has been around since 2012. Yet mysteriously, the compass function isn’t on by default in Maps—despite the clear utility of it. Thankfully, it’s really easy to turn it on an fix that little oversight. Grab your iPhone and open up the Settings app, then scroll down to, you guessed it, the entry for Maps.

Within the Maps menu, select “Driving & Navigation”.

Within the Driving & Navigation menu, toggle “Compass” on in the “Show in Navigation” section, as seen below.

Almost done! Open up Apple Maps. If you don’t see the compass in the upper right corner, tap the Location arrow (the blue arrow indicated by the larger red arrow in our screenshot below) to activate it. Tap it again to move onto the next step (everyone else, just tap the Location arrow twice).

Why tap it twice? Doing so switches you from simply seeing the compass on the screen to the blue location dot on the map actually indicator your direction of travel and orienting the map to you accordingly.

Not only is it handy to see the compass on the general map, but it persisted on the point-to-point directions too, albeit in letter form (like N, S, NE, SW, and so on) and not iconographic form, as seen below:

That’s all there is to it: you’ll now have both maps and a handy compass to reference right at your fingertips.

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don’t have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he’s interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you’d like.


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