How to Change Your Google Maps Car

Stay cool with a new, fun car icon

Google Maps
Hoch Zwei/Getty Images

Navigating today's busy roads and highways can be difficult enough at the best of times, but foruntately a recent iOS update has enabled motorists to take some of the edge off the stresses of driving. How exactly? Well, by enabling users of Google Maps to change their vehicle icon into a variety of colorful cars. Yes, this may be a minor cosmetic touch, but it's surprising just what a subtle difference it can make to your mood to not have to be represented on a map by an abstract blue arrow. This guide shows you how to make this change on iOS devices, and given that a similar update is likely to be coming soon for Android, it will also eventually cover devices running Google's operating system.

How to Change Car on Google Maps

Changing your Google Maps vehicle icon
Changing your Google Maps car is as simple as tapping the blue vehicle icon once you've begun a journey.

Changing the Google Maps vehicle icon may seem like a clever hack at first, but it's extremely easy to pull off. Here's what you do:

  1. Open Google Maps on your device
  2. Press the blue Directions icon
  3. Set your destination and route
  4. Tap Start
  5. Once your navigation has begun, tap the vehicle icon (represented as a blue arrow)
  6. By swiping from left to right and then tapping on the desired car, choose your new vehicle icon

In other words, changing your car on Google Maps involves nothing more than starting a navigation and tapping on your vehicle icon before you set off to drive (or while you drive, if you have a passenger to help you).

You can also use this method to change back to the original blue arrow, if you somehow find yourself growing bored of the red car, green pickup, or yellow SUV. In fact, you will have to use this method if you want to change back, since your new pickup truck or family sedan will remain the default vehicle icon for as long as you continue using Google Maps.

Don't Forget to Update Google Maps If You Want to Change Car

Updating Google Maps
You can check to see if you have the latest version of Google Maps by going to the App Store.

One thing worth pointing out is that, if you haven't updated Google Maps to the relevant version, you won't be able to change from one vehicle icon or car color to another.

Here's what you do to update Google Maps on iOS, in order to ensure that you have the version that lets you drive home in your new favorite car.

  1. Open the App Store on your device
  2. Tap the Updates button that's on the menu bar at the bottom of the screen
  3. Tap the UPDATE button on the right-hand side of Google Maps

That's it, although it should be noted that in the picture above Google Maps had already updated automatically, which is why the button beside it says OPEN rather than UPDATE.

Changing Car on Google Maps on Android

Mario on Google Maps
Google Maps users were able to drive as Mario for a week beginning March 10. Google/Nintendo

As of writing, the ability to change your vehicle icon on Google Maps is limited to iOS devices. However, there's reason to suspect that the update – which arrived on May 5, 2018 for iOS – will soon come to Android. This isn't only because Google Maps comes pre-installed on Android devices, but also because a similarly fun update to commemorate "MAR10 Day" (i.e. "Mario Day," in honor of Nintendo's moustachioed Italian mascot) was launched on both Android and iOS in March.

Given that the MAR10 Day update – which let you drive in Mario's signature red go-kart – ran for only one week, it's highly unlikely that a similar update that's permanent won't also be rolled out soon for Android. So watch this space…