How to use Google Navigation

You probably have Google Maps installed on your smartphone or tablet but did you know you can use it as a fully-fledged sat nav? Here's how to use Google Navigation. See also: 5 best Android satnav apps.

As you're probably aware, Google Maps is free and if you own an Android smartphone or tablet, the app is highly likely to be already installed. It's also available for iOS, too, but understandably doesn't come pre-installed. Sorry Windows Phone users, you'll have to stick with alternatives.

Google Navigation is part of Google Maps so there's no need to download or install anything additional. However, it is, and has been for a long time, in Beta. Google doesn't really make a big song and dance about it but on the whole it works perfectly well and is there to make good use of.

Whether you're driving, walking or using public transport, you can get voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation. Below is our step-by-step guide on how to use Google Navigation.

Note: Before we start, your device will need two things for Google Navigation to work. The first is your GPS/Location switched on and an active data connection.

How to use Google Navigation as a free sat nav

Step One

Open Google Maps on your device and enter or search for your destination in the white box at the top of the screen.

Google Navigation

Step Two

Tap the car icon at the bottom of the screen on the right-hand-side to open up the navigation options. It will give you an estimated travel time.

Google Navigation

Step Three

Here you will be given the option to edit the journey details including start and end points, travel method and a selection of routes. When you're ready, hit Start Navigation or if you've switched to map view, the arrow icon in the bottom corner of the screen.

Google Navigation route options

Google Navigation start

Since the software is in beta, you'll have to click accept on a caution which warns various things including that data may not be accurate.

Google Navigation beta warning

Step Four

Once you hit start you'll be taken to the Google Navigation screen and guided to your destination. Note that you'll need your GPS setting to be switched to high accuracy for turn-by-turn directions to work.

Google Navigation turn-by-turn

Google Maps Navigation offers live traffic, incident reports and dynamic re-routing. There are no speed limits or speed camera warnings though.

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