Many people now use a smartphone to navigate instead of a dedicated satnav, and this offers more benefits than having one less device to worry about. Now, with Google Maps’ syncing feature, you can work out your route in comfort before you leave using your laptop or PC's bigger screen.
Then the directions can be quickly and easily sent to your mobile device. Here, we’ll take you through the simple steps that it takes to get everything up and running. As these are Google services you’ll need to be using its Chrome browser for the features to work, and in this example we’ll be syncing to an Android phone, but it also works with an iPhone or iPad.
On your PC go to www.google.co.uk/maps and you’ll see that there is now a new version of the desktop maps service offered in the left column. Click on ‘Get it Now’, then on ‘Click here to start exploring’.
Make sure you are logged into your Google account, as this will be important later on. In the left corner of the map screen you’ll see a search box. Click the ‘Directions’ option below this and you can enter the start and end points of your route.
When the route is calculated make sure you select the correct mode of transport from the icons at the top. Then it’s a good idea to review the directions. To do this click on the ‘list all steps’ option.
Now you’ll have a breakdown of the route. If you want to print this off you can do so by selecting the print icon above the map. There are also options here to avoid tolls, ferries or highways, allowing you to fine-tune the journey.
Take your Android phone and launch the Google Play store. Now search for Google Maps. It will most likely already be installed, but this will prompt any updates that may have been released. Once that’s done tap ‘Open’. It's a similar process on an iPhone.
You’ll need to find the history of your route searches and ensure that location services are turned on. To open the menu bar look for the stack of three small lines on the left hand side. Tap on them then choose ‘Settings’.
Select ‘Google location settings’ from the menu, then ensure that they are switched on. The slider/button at the top of the screen shows you whether they are or not. Then tap the back button to return to the menu. (On an iPhone, Location Services will need to be turned on in the main Settings app, and specifically enabled for Google Maps.)
Now tap on the ‘Maps history’ option and you’ll be taken to a list of your recent searches on Google Maps. Select the one you want and the app will load up the route that you’d planned on your PC.
The route is listed at the top of the page. Tap on the box below it with the estimated journey time, and this loads up the step by step guide. If you’re not at the start point you’ll only be able to preview the route.
When you’re ready to leave on your trip simply tap the ‘Start’ option and you’ll be taken turn-by-turn to your intended destination. Just make sure that your GPS is switched on in your phone’s settings to improve accuracy.
When you’re returning home you can reverse the route with one tap. Just load up the journey as before, but when you reach the map page tap the two arrows on the right side of the origin/destination box. Then you’re good to go.