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Google Maps’ satellite imagery, and Google Street View, has become a source of seemingly spooky images over recent years.
But are these images really as scary as they seem?
Google has officially debunked some of the most popular myths circulating the interwebs surrounding images captured via Maps and Street View.
Continue on to see the images in question, along with Google’s explanation for what’s going on in each of them.Exhibit A
Myth: Google Street View managed to capture a portal to another dimension.
Reality: The bizarre colors and graininess are a result of low light and nothing more.Exhibit B
Reality: It looks like the plane is underwater because each satellite image is actually a compilation of images. Fast moving objects, like planes, may show up in one of those images. That’s why only a faint remnant can be seen.Exhibit C
Myth: Google Street View has captured what looks like a gateway to a spirit realm, with a ghostly apparition on its way in.
Reality: Google left the camera cover on by mistake, which is why the image is so dark and hazy. Just enough light was let in through small holes to capture this image.Exhibit D
Myth: Google has captured what looks like a ghost (between the two pillars to the left of the door).
Reality: Google Street view captures ghostly figures fairly often. This happens because the cameras take photos as they move, and are stitched together before being uploaded to Google Maps. This can also happen if someone walks by when taking a panorama with your phone.Exhibit E
Myth: None other than Darth Vader himself is… taking out the recycling?
Reality: No explanation here, just someone in a Darth Vader mask!
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Whenever you’re searching for something on the internet, Google Search is usually the first option that you pick. But, if it’s a specific place that you once looked up the directions for, your Google Maps search history can help.
Here’s how to view your Google Maps search history on desktop and mobile.
Table of ContentsHow to View Your Google Maps Search History Online
Google Maps remembers all the locations you’ve been to and all the places you searched. You can review your Google Maps search history, find specific areas, or delete them for good.
Before you open Google Maps on your computer, make sure you’re signed in to your Google account, as all the data is associated with the specific account you use.
To view your Google Maps search history on your desktop, follow the steps below. The instructions are the same for both Windows and Mac users. You can use any browser of your choice.
Open Google Maps in your browser.
Scroll down and select Maps activity.
On the Maps Activity page, you’ll find your Google Maps search history. You can scroll down to review it, delete all or some of it manually, and use the Search your activity field to locate a specific place in your search history.
To view your entire location history, choose Bundle View or Item View from the left sidebar. Bundle View groups your searches by date, and Item View shows them one by one in a row.
After viewing your location history, go back to the top of the Maps Activity page. You’ll find two options that you can enable or disable to manage how Google Maps records and archives your data.
Saving activity: It’s also called Web & App Activity, and you should keep it on. Web & App Activity collects your previous searches on Google Maps across different platforms (on your phone, desktop, etc.).
Auto-delete: You can selectively auto-delete Maps Activity to erase previous Google Maps searches older than three months, 18 months, or 36 months.
If you want to access your Google Maps search history, select Don’t auto-delete instead.How to View Your Google Maps Search History on Mobile
When on the move, it’s the Google Maps app on Android or iOS that stores all your searches. For that search history, sign in to your Google account on your phone and follow the steps below. The instructions are the same for both iOS and Android.
Open the Google Maps app on your smartphone.
Tap on your profile picture in the upper-right corner of the screen to open the Menu.
From the menu, select Settings.
Scroll down and select Maps history.
You will arrive on the Maps Activity page. The menu items are all the same on the app as they are on the web version of Google Maps.
You can scroll down to browse through your entire search history, use a filter to see the search entries from a specific time, or use the Search your activity search bar to look for a particular place in your Google Maps search history. All items automatically appear in Bundle View on your phone.
There’s an option to delete your previous Google Maps searches from the last hour, last day, and an option to set a custom time. You can also manually remove the search entries from the list one by one.How to Use the Timeline to Manage Google Maps Search History
Google Maps offers you one more way to visualize your entire location history and view all the places you’ve searched on one map. The Timeline gives you an estimate of places you’ve been to and all the routes you’ve taken based on your Google Maps search history.
You can use Timeline to review your Location History privately on mobile and desktop, edit it, as well as pause the recording of your Location History and turn it back on.
To access your Timeline, open Google Maps on your computer or the Google Maps app on your smartphone.
Go to Menu and select Your Timeline.
Select Manage Location History.
The Timeline displays the Activity Controls page where you can turn on and off your Location History, set up Auto-delete to automatically delete some or all your Location History, and Manage activity to review and edit your past activity.Keep Your Google Maps Search History or Delete it
The ability to search through all previous searches on Google Maps is convenient, but the thought of Google collecting that information is also a privacy concern. The choice is yours whether to allow Google Maps to spy on your activity or auto-delete it and avoid leaving any trace.
You can even go one step further and erase your entire Google account data to clear away the records that Google is keeping on you.
What Google Maps had going in its favor was many years of data. Apple was just starting out in the maps business and was trying to put together a map that had all directions to every place imaginable. The new app was bound to fail, and it did, as CEO Tim Cook even issued a public apology and gave users some alternatives, although certainly not to Google Maps. Regardless, Google Maps has now been re-released for iOS in a much fancier package. The question is if it’s better than before, and if it’s better than Apple Maps.
Signing in the first time, the new Google Maps app is already different from its previous versions. It asks you to sign into your Google account. This allows you to save and keep track of your destinations. However, there is current litigation suggesting that it’s illegal for Google to keep track of such information.
It seems like what Apple did was light a fire under Google. They were happy not making many changes to their app, because it seemed they owned the market on it. They didn’t see anyone else coming in to take away their position in iOS. Since it’s re-release, though, they’ve made some great changes that should have been done before. Apple didn’t really need their own Maps app; they just needed to give Google a reason to change the existing map. It will be some time before everyone can trust the Apple maps, and until then they can go back to using the Google maps app.
Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site’s sponsored review program.
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Google Maps’ support for a wide range of devices makes it a go-to choice for many, including iPhone users. Plus, it’s more accurate and supports a wide location margin. If you rely on Google Maps for getting daily directions like me, it can ruin the day’s productivity if it fails to work. Worse, it can leave you stranded in unknown locations.
If Google Maps keeps failing on your iPhone, read through the recommended fixes in this article to get it working.
1. Turn on location on iPhone
However, before proceeding, ensure that you turn on location on your iPhone as it needs to be active for Google Maps to work. Besides, this might be the reason Google Maps isn’t working on your phone after all.
To turn on location on your iPhone, open Settings → Privacy → Location Services → toggle on Location Services.
Note: Also, ensure that you install Google Maps from the App Store if you’ve not done so already, as it doesn’t typically come built into the iPhone.
However, if Google Maps still fails despite turning on location, proceed to the following fixes.
2. Close and relaunch Google Maps
Force-closing and relaunching apps refresh them sometimes, and the case isn’t any different with Google Maps, too. Google Maps might freeze due to caching, RAM, or in-app issues like failing to get location data.
Force-quitting and relaunching give it a fresh start. Plus, it could jumpstart geolocation data download and keep it back up and running. Once closed, tap Google Maps to relaunch it.
3. Force-restart your device
If you find that despite force-closing and relaunching Google Maps, it still fails to work, it might be time to restart your iPhone. Restarting your iPhone fixes RAM issues and refreshes all your apps. You might also find this fix helpful if Google Maps fails to launch or freezes often.
4. Check Google Maps server status
Google Maps might fail to work sometimes due to service downtime or disruption. This is rare, though. But it can happen. And when it does, it doesn’t take time for the service to get working.
To see if Google Maps is experiencing a service outage, go to Google Maps Platform. You’ll find a table of Google Maps service APIs on the page. A green checkmark to the right of each service indicates that it’s working fine.
Otherwise, it means the server is temporarily down. And there’s nothing you can do than keep checking to see if it’s back up.
5. Allow Google Maps location access
Despite turning on iPhone’s location, there’s no way Google can update your geolocation if you don’t allow it on your iPhone. While this is Apple’s way of beefing up privacy, it can work against some apps.
To see if the location is on specifically for Google Maps and turn it on if not:
Open iPhone Settings.
Go to Google Maps.
Note: If Google Maps still doesn’t work, you might want to try a different location, as it might not have captured your current location after all.
6. Ensure your time zone is correct
A wrong time zone can cause Google Maps and other apps to malfunction or fail to launch. Moreover, if your timezone is incorrect, it results in data delivery conflict as Google Maps can’t supply location data from your exact location. Plus, your internet connection might fluctuate if there’s a time zone conflict on your phone.
Your iPhone might sync to the wrong time zone due to underlying software issues that need minor fixing. In such a case, you can try solutions in our article on how to fix the wrong date or time on iPhone. Once done, try opening Google Maps again to see if it works.
7. Check your Wi-Fi or mobile data connection
Of course, like most apps on your iPhone, Google Maps also relies on a fast internet connection to work efficiently. One way to know if Google Map’s failure is due to a poor network is it typically pops a connection error notification in-app.
Therefore, ensure your Wi-Fi router or hotspot provider is in good shape. Then, you might want to turn on and off Wi-Fi on your iPhone to re-establish the connection if you’re sure your router is working fine. And if you use mobile data, ensure that your internet is stable.
Additionally, you might want to turn on a 5G connection if you use iPhone 12 or 13 series.
If Google Maps freezes or is suddenly slow, you might be dealing with a bug or caching issue. This might be because you recently updated your iOS version or due to other underlying problems with the app.
Merely uninstalling and reinstalling or updating Google Maps might fix the bug along. Additionally, this removes caching since reinstalling from scratch gives you a fresh start with the app.
9. Recalibrate Google Maps
This solution comes in handy if Google Maps can’t get your precise location whenever you use Live View. Recalibration can improve Google Maps accuracy as it lets you scan buildings and objects around you manually and sync them to the Maps.
This way, people you share your location with can find you easily on the app using Live View.
Note: Ensure to turn on Precise Location and allow Google Maps to access location as pointed out earlier before calibration.
Next, activate Compass Calibration on your iPhone:
Open Settings → Privacy.
Select Location Services.
Scroll to the bottom and tap System Services.
To recalibrate Google Maps on Live View:
Open Google Maps on your iPhone.
Tap the blinking blue dot on the map.
10. Enable background app refresh for Google Maps
Background app refresh allows apps that use an internet connection to get updated when you’re not using them. Hence, you need not wait for such apps to load the next time you launch them as they’ve preloaded data.
You can activate background refresh for any app on your iPhone. Besides, the process is similar across apps. Although enabling background app refresh might consume your data, turning it on specifically for Google Maps won’t cause a significant change in data consumption.
Like other apps, Google Maps might fail if the iOS version on your iPhone is obsolete and doesn’t meet the more updated OS requirements of the Google Maps version you installed.
Therefore, updating your device’s iOS version ensures that you get new updates essential for running the modern features of an updated Google Maps. Moreover, each iOS update is an improvement to the previous one. So even if there are conflicting bugs, an iOS update might fix Google Maps not working issue.
12. Reset Network Settings
An overwhelmed network might cause Google Maps to fail, too. And this is sometimes due to installed VPNs and proxies or custom network configurations on your iPhone. However, a network reset removes all non-native network settings on your iPhone and refreshes your mobile and Wi-Fi data connections.
Note that resetting your network doesn’t remove your files or data from your iPhone. It only resets your network configurations to their factory state. Well, this improves overall internet connectivity and might help jumpstart Google Maps, too.
To reset your iPhone’s network settings:
Go to General → Transfer or Reset iPhone.
Tap Reset at the bottom left.
13. Reset All Settings
So while a network reset only affects your connection configurations, performing an all settings reset is more encompassing. Notably, it includes a network reset and location reset, among others.
Since it also resets your location, resetting all settings on your iPhone might help point it to the correct location. So Google Maps can work more optimally.
To reset all settings on your iPhone, go to Settings → General → Transfer or Reset iPhone → Reset → Reset All Settings.
Note: Like network reset, this action also doesn’t erase data or media from your iPhone but removes information like payment cards, location, privacy settings, and more.
I know how frustrating it gets when you call on Google Maps to save you from getting lost, but it fails to respond. For many like us, it can be a daily compass. If you don’t use it often, you might get tempted to ignore it even when you know it’s faulty.
Fixing it before the rainy days might help remove an impending frustration. Who knows? You might need to rely on Google Maps one way or the other earlier than you imagined.
Idowu is an avid tech writer and a software surfer who loves covering knowledge gaps in consumer software, including anything related to iPhones. Well, when he’s not reading and learning new things, you’ll find Idowu losing gallantly on a solid chessboard or virtually on Lichess.
In some cities, hopping onto a train, bus, or ferry can be nightmarish, but it’s the only way millions of people have to move around every day.
You could rely on experience and good luck to navigate these occasionally chaotic systems, but if you’re a Google Maps user, you can simply turn to the device in your pocket. Over the years, this well-known app has incorporated features that allow us to cheat the odds and improve our daily commutes. From combining trains, boats, taxis, and buses like a seasoned rider, to avoiding crowds and freezing subway cars, Google’s map platform has got you covered.Skip overcrowded and freezing transportation
Recently Google Maps launched a new feature that helps commuters know beforehand how crowded the train, bus, or ferry they’re taking is.
When you choose your itinerary, you’ll see a What’s it like on board? question right below each transport’s name. You’ll see tags for temperature ranging from Freezing cold to Too hot: for crowdedness that go from Not crowded to At capacity, as well as Accessibility and Security on board.
Knowing the level of crowding you’re about to deal with can help you decide whether it’s worth it to wait for the next train to get a seat, or, if you’re carrying large cargo, ensure no one looks at you with deadly eyes.
Some stations also provide live information about how busy they are in general. In your itinerary, you’ll find this information in pink under Live, right below the name of the station or terminal you have to go to. Tap on it, and you’ll see a graph with the busiest hours during the day. Tap on Popular times at the top of your screen to see how busy hours change depending on the day of the week.
[Related: 19 evidence-based solutions to New York City’s subway disaster]
Keep in mind that you won’t always find all of this information for every single ride. Google Maps makes predictions on crowdedness, for example, using artificial intelligence, historical location trends, and user input. The varied sources of data make it more likely that you’ll find information about how many people are riding the train at any given time, but temperature and security onboard depend on what users are telling the app. If there’s not enough data to go by (that is if not enough people have provided information) then Google Maps doesn’t display it.
If you want to help source this information, Google Maps randomly prompts passengers to do so. But you can also add information proactively (or even correct what the app already provided) by tapping on the tags with a plus sign next to them and choosing one of the available options.
If you live in New York City or Sydney, you’ll also be able to assess crowdedness at a train car level. Google is testing this feature in these cities and you’ll soon be able to see how to avoid the crowd and remain punctual at the same time.Stay where you are as long as you can
We’ve all been there: you’re out with friends having a jolly good time, but then you remember you are at the mercy of the train schedule.
Avoid having to ask one of your friends to let you crash on their couch by letting Google Maps figure out your last chance at a ride back home. On Android and iOS devices, open the app, set your destination, and hit Directions. At the top of your screen, choose public transit (it’s the train icon, second from the left), and tap Depart at right below. From the pop-up window, choose Last and then Set or Done, depending on your operating system.
The app will display a list of all possible ways to get to where you’re going starting from the one that will get you there the latest, so you can enjoy your friends some more and make sure you really have time for that last drink.Get there in time
Don’t give your date any reason to be mad at you when you arrive: Make sure you get there on time by letting Google Maps tell you exactly when you should leave.
Just as before, open the app, set your destination, hit Directions, and choose public transit. Tap on Depart at and choose Arrive by from the popup window. You can set it to the exact time of your date or even a couple minutes earlier if you want to be extra sure. When you’re finished, tap Set (or Done, depending on your operating system) and choose the itinerary that’s most convenient for you. Google Maps will then tell you the time you need to start your trip, accounting for distance and other variables, like transfers and how crowded public transportation is at that specific time of day.
[Related: Affordable driverless cars could curb public transit]
To make sure you leave on time, create a Google Calendar event through Google Maps, so you’ll get notifications prior to your departure. Open your chosen itinerary, scroll all the way down, and tap on Add to Calendar. As with every other event in your schedule, you’ll get a default notification 10 minutes before you have to leave, but you’ll also be able to add more—five minutes before if you get easily distracted, one hour if you need to dress up, or whatever time frame that works for you.Refine your search
If you’re the kind of person who loves riding the train but wouldn’t be caught dead boarding a bus, know that you can eliminate entire modes of transportation from your Google Maps search.
First, open the app, set your destination, and tap Directions. At the top of your screen, tap on All modes to see a list with all the types of transportation the platform is considering for your route. By default, they are all always selected, so to rule out the possibility of having to step into a boat, for example, uncheck the box next to Ferry in the Android app. You can uncheck as many boxes as you like, and when you’re done, just tap on Apply at the bottom of your screen to refine your results. On iOS, select Options to see the modes and deselect the ones you don’t want. To finish, tap Apply.
Depending on variables like mobility, time, age, or even how much weight you’ll be carrying with you, you might choose a slower route that entails less walking, fewer transfers, or includes stations and transports with wheelchair accessibility. To reset your priorities on Android devices, enter your destination, then tap on Directions, followed by Best route. On iOS, after Directions hit Options, and choose Best route from the menu.
Doing this will open the route options window, which is set by default to Best route to provide an itinerary that hits the sweet spot between all variables. To prioritize one over the other, just tap the checkbox next to it and choose Apply.Share your location
For some people around the world, public transportation doesn’t seem like the safest place to be. Getting mugged, harassed, or worse, are sadly some of the experiences people have had when traveling through their cities. Any feature they can get to feel even slightly safer about their commute can make their day or even save their lives.
If that’s your case, Google Maps offers the option to share your location with one or more people in your contacts, even if they don’t have a Google account. Doing so will allow them to track you in real time for a limited period of time while you’re in transit.
To activate this feature on Android devices, tap your avatar in the top right corner of your screen and choose Location sharing. On iOS, open the app, tap your avatar, and under Location sharing, choose New share.
[Related: How to share your location (without broadcasting it to the world)]
On the next screen, you’ll be able to choose who can track your whereabouts and for how long—it can go from one hour to three days, or whenever you proactively turn the feature off. Google Maps doesn’t only share your GPS location, but this is actually a good thing. When sharing your location on this platform, people tracking you will also be able to see how much battery you have left in your device, whether you’re walking or driving, and where you’ve just been. This information can be vital if something happens to you while on transit.
If you use Google Maps for navigation, you may have come across instances where the app keeps changing the route without cause or input. Largely, such issues only occur when Google Maps fails to calculate your location with accuracy. However, there could be other factors at play. In any case, there are several ways to prevent Google Maps from rerouting you incorrectly on your Android and iPhone. In this post, we’ll talk about all of them and more. So, let’s start.
1. Recalibrate Compass
Google Maps uses the magnetometer on your phone to ascertain the direction in which you’re traveling. However, if that sensor is inaccurate, Google Maps may reroute you on occasion. To fix it, you must recalibrate the compass on your phone by following the steps below.Android
1. Launch the Google Maps app on your phone and tap on the blue dot in the center.
2. Now tap the Calibrate button and follow the on-screen instruction to make a figure 8 with your phone in your hand.
You might have to perform this gesture a few times before the compass accuracy improves. After that, check to see if Google Maps is still rerouting you.iPhone
If you’re using an iPhone, you can enable automatic compass calibration by following the steps below.
1. Open the Settings app and navigate to Privacy.
2. Go to Location Services and tap on System Services.
3. Lastly, toggle on the switch next to Compass Calibration.
2. Enable Google Location Accuracy (Android)
Enabling Google Location Accuracy allows your phone to use signals from nearby Wi-Fi networks and cell towers to improve location accuracy. This can also help resolve frequent rerouting issues caused by inaccurate location data.
To enable Google Location Accuracy on your Android phone, use the steps below.
1. Launch the Settings app on your phone and navigate to Location.
2. Go to Location services and tap on Google Location Accuracy.
3. Lastly, toggle on the switch next to Improve Location Accuracy.
3. Enable Precise Location for Google Maps
If the problem persists, you can enable the precise location option for Google Maps to see if that improves the situation. The feature is available on all iPhones running iOS 14 or higher, as well as Android phones running Android 12 or higher. Here’s how you can access it.Android
1. Long press on the Google Maps app icon and tap on the info icon from the menu that pops up.
2. Go to Permissions and tap on Location.
3. Enable the switch next to the Use precise location.iPhone
1. Open the Settings app and scroll down to tap on Google Maps.
2. Go to Location and toggle on the Precise Location option.
4. Clear Google Maps Cache (Android)
Like other Android apps, Google Maps saves temporary files (also known as cache data) in order to improve its performance. However, if that data has become inaccessible or corrupted for some reason, Google Maps may misbehave. In such cases, you must clear Google Maps’ cache data to restore its functionality.
1. Long press on the Google Maps app icon and open its app info.
2. Go to Storage and tap on the Clear cache option in the bottom right corner.
5. Switch to Offline Maps
Google Maps also allows you to download maps for offline use. You can download the map of a city and then use Google Maps in offline mode to navigate without interruptions. Because this data doesn’t involve any real-time traffic information, Google Maps will not look for alternative routes.
To navigate using Google Maps offline, follow the steps below.
1. In the Google Maps app, type in the name of your city or neighborhood in the search bar at the top. Then, swipe upwards on the card that appears.
2. Tap the three-dot menu icon in the top right corner and select Download offline map. Then, tap on Download to continue.
3. Once downloaded, you can search for any place within the city and navigate without an active internet connection.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to use offline maps for navigation, you can also disable your internet connection after the navigation has started. This will prevent the app from receiving traffic updates and rerouting you.
Other Things to Try
If none of the previously mentioned solutions work, here are a few things you can try to avoid frequent rerouting in Google Maps.
Since Google Maps relies on the internet to track your location, issues with your phone’s internet connection can also affect app performance. Hence, it’s recommended that you use the fastest internet connection available.
Further, enabling a battery or data saver can also restrict Google Maps’ ability to work at full capacity. Hence, it’s best to turn them off while navigating.
Aside from the above, you should ensure that you’re using an updated version of the app to avoid known bugs and glitches.
Is there an option to disable rerouting in Google Maps?
No. Unfortunately, Google Maps does not offer an option to disable rerouting on Android or iPhone.
Can I create a custom route in Google Maps?
Yes, you can use Google My Maps to create and share a custom route with multiple pins.
Is Waze more accurate than Google Maps?
Although Waze is famous for its unique set of features, Google Maps offers a more comprehensive navigation service.
When it comes to navigation, Google Maps is one of the most reliable apps out there. That doesn’t mean it’s faultless though. Occasionally, you encounter an issue or two. Hopefully, implementing the tips above has resolved Google Maps’ rerouting issue on your Android or iPhone and you are able to navigate more smoothly.
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