The Smartest Way to Use Google Maps When You’re Walking Alone

The Smartest Way to Use Google Maps When You’re Walking Alone
Photo: BigTunaOnline, Shutterstock

Walking around a strange city can be fun. It can also be intimidating, especially when you’re alone, even more so after dark. No one wants to look like they have no idea where they’re going, and staring at Google Maps on your smartphone is often a dead giveaway. If you want to confidently get to where you need to be without drawing attention to yourself, Google Maps has a great solution.

When using walking directions, Google Maps can let you know out loud what turn to take next, but if you don’t want your phone blurting out what you need to do next or to drown out your surroundings by wearing headphones, there’s another way: Google Maps can also navigate you silently, using vibrations. 

The uses different vibration patters depending on the next turn you’re supposed to take. Tap the volume icon and choose Muted. Then, simply slip it into your pocket and wait for one of the follow vibrations to guide you:

Left Turn: Long buzz, short buzz, short buzz

Right Turn: Short buzz, long buzz, long buzz

That’s it! Memorise those vibration patterns and you’ll never need to look at the app in order to know when and how you’re supposed to turn next. This feature works on both Android and iOS and should work by default, so long as you choose Muted mode.

Reddit user u/plzbubblewrapmy highlighted this particularly useful feature for us, but the thread offers other useful suggestions as well. If you are comfortable wearing earbuds while walking around, Google Maps can give you audible directions. However, you’ll need to switch from Muted to Alerts only or Unmuted. And a smartwatch can also help you solve the subtly problem: glancing at your wrist is a lot less conspicuous than staring at your phone.

  

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