Mac Basics: Maps app helps you find your destination

Maps in OS X Mavericks makes it simple to get information on local points of interest and directions.

Maps app helps you explore new destinations. It includes gorgeous views such as Flyover – a photo-realistic, interactive 3D experience that lets you soar high above select cities. Maps help you get to your destination on time, thanks to point-to-point directions, real-time traffic conditions, and suggested alternate routes. When you’re ready to go, send your map to your iPhone for voice navigation on the way.

You can find the Maps app in the Applications folder, and in your Dock.


Elements of Maps

1. Location, 2D / 3D, Traffic button set

  • Show / Hide current Location – This button toggles the display of your current location on the map. You can also press Command-L (⌘L) as a shortcut.
    Note: You have to allow Maps to find your location. This can be managed in System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy > Location Services. Once enabled, an arrowhead appears in the menu bar to indicate when location services is in use.
  • 2D / 3D Map viewing – This button toggles Maps being shown in 2D or 3D. When in 3D, zoom in close to see Flyover mode with supported cities.
  • Show / Hide Traffic – This button displays road conditions, traffic congestion, and incident reports on the map to help you plan your route.

2. Directions – This button shows or hides the appearance of the Directions panel on the right side of the Maps window. 

  • Enter a start and end address in the Directions panel to help you find your way. More than one route may appear with estimated travel times. The fastest travel time is selected by default.
  • As you enter an address, suggestions derived from Bookmarks & History, nearby Businesses, previous searches, and addresses in the Contacts app appear under the field.
  • A list of turn by turn directions appears once you choose a route.
  • You can toggle between driving or walking directions by clicking the car icon or the person icon in the directions panel.
  • Select File > Print (⌘P) to print the map of the route, final destination map and turn by turn directions.

3. Share button – This button presents a menu to select devices and services to share Maps data with. You can even share a map to your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch.

iOS devices set to use the same iCloud account as your Mac user account appear at the top of the share list. When selected, Maps data that includes directions is sent to your iOS device as a notification. This is a convent way to look up directions on your Mac, and then quickly send them to your iPhone for turn by turn directions.

  • Email – Send an email with a Maps image that can even include directions. Just enter an email address and send. The receiver also gets a link that can be clicked on to open Maps.
  • Messages – Send an iMessage, MMS or chat containing a Maps image and link.
  • AirDrop – Other Mac users nearby can click on the AirDrop item in the Finder to receive your Map image and link.
  • Twitter – Tweet your Maps image and link.
  • Facebook – Post your Maps image and link as a status update.
  • Add to Contacts – Creates a new Contact with the address currently selected in Maps. Note: This option is not available when viewing directions in Maps.
  • Add / Remove Bookmark – This adds or removes the current address or route shown from your Bookmarks in Maps.

4. Maps views – Three ways to get the lay of the land: Standard, Hybrid, and Satellite views.

  • Standard – Shows Maps in an illustrated roadmap style.
  • Satellite – Shows Maps as an overhead, photographic view.
  • Hybrid – Shows Maps as satellite views with illustrated road data superimposed over them.

5.Bookmarks – Click the Bookmarks button to see locations you need most frequently.

  • Clicking the Bookmarks button opens a pop-over panel that displays recently viewed locations, locations you have bookmarked, or locations associated with addresses in Contacts.
  • Click the Recents button to show or hide recent locations you have viewed. Click the clear button to remove all of your recent locations.
  • Click Bookmarks to see your locations you have saved in Maps. You can add a bookmark by choosing View > Add Bookmark. Click the Edit button to show or hide the option to delete bookmarks). Click the remove bookmark button (X) next to a bookmark to remove it.
  • If you're using iCloud, addresses you have bookmarked from your other devices are listed as well. Your iCloud contacts also appear in the Bookmarks pane. Click a contact to see its address, then click the address to locate it in Maps.

6. Search field – Enter an address, the name of someone in your contacts, type of business, landmark or city. Maps displays the related location.

  • Suggestions appear as you type, based on previously viewed locations, and data you've entered in the Contacts app. Click a suggestion to have Maps locate it.

7. Scale guide – This feature displays the measurements being used to display your map.

  • Select View > Show Scale / Hide Scale to toggle this map element.
  • Tip:  The scale guide in Maps uses the regional measurement preferences (miles or kilometers) you set in the Advanced section of the Language & Region settings in System Preferences.

8. Traffic information – Maps displays areas of heavy traffic so that you can avoid these routes.

  • Click a traffic icon to see more information about a traffic incident, such as when it started, and when the information was last updated.

9. Landmarks – Nearby points of interest appear as icons on the map.

  • Click a landmark to learn more about it. 
  • Additional features such as “Add Bookmark”, “Get Directions” and “Add to Contacts” are also available when you click a landmark.
  • Click “Report a Problem” if you think the information related to a landmark may not be complete.
  • If you see a “i” badge, click it to see even more data like reviews, related photos, or related websites.
  • Tip: To see larger labels in Maps select: View > Labels > Use Large Labels. 

10. Zoom – Click the zoom in button (+) to magnify your view, and the zoom out button (-) to expand the viewed area. 

  • Click and hold a zoom button to continuously magnify or reduce your view.

11. Compass 

  • If Maps is not pointing North, click the compass to reorient Maps to face North.
  • When zoomed in, click the compass to toggle 2D / 3D viewing.
  • Click and drag the compass up or down to change the 3D viewing angle.
  • Drag the compass left or right to turn the map view.


Choose View > Drop Pin to mark your spot on the current map.  You can use these pins to help you remember places, or plan your journey. You can also use them to mark a destination you want directions for. If a pin isn’t exactly where you want it, put the pointer on it and hold down the button until the pin “hops.” Drag the pin into place, then release the button. To see additional options for a location, click the pin and then click the info (i) button in the pop-over menu that appears.

Shortcut Menu

Control-click or right-click on a map to display a shortcut menu with additional options.

  1. Drop Pin – Drop a pin on the current map view to mark a particular location. 
  2. Get Directions – Bring up directions from your current location to the location you clicked or pinned.
  3. New Window at this Location – Open a new, separate Maps window focused on the location you clicked.

Trackpad Gestures

Use the following trackpad gestures to view Maps.

  • Two finger pinch in and out to zoom in and out of Maps.
  • Two finger rotate to turn your Maps left or right.
  • Two finger drag to move your Maps.
  • Double click to jump to a Zoom In level.
  • Hold down the option key (⌥) and Double-click to jump to a Zoom Out level.

Built-in Help

For even more information on how to get the most out of Maps, choose Maps Help from the Help menu.

Learn more

Important: Maps, directions, 3D, Flyover, and location-based apps depend on data services. These data services are subject to change and may not be available in all areas, resulting in maps, directions, 3D, Flyover, or location-based information that may be unavailable, inaccurate, or incomplete. Compare the information provided to your surroundings, and defer to posted signs to resolve any discrepancies. Some Maps features require Location Services.

Last Modified: