Can You Use Google Sky Map on iPhone?

Use a star map app on your iPhone

What to Know

  • Google Sky Map is an Android-only app and is not available on iOS.
  • Google Sky Map was an official Google app for astronomy buffs but now is open source.
  • Pick any star-gazing alternative for iOS and set it up as a mobile observatory.

Google Sky Map is an astronomy app anyone can use to observe the relative positions of stars, constellations, galaxies, planets, and their satellites in the night sky. Think of it as a mobile planetarium you can carry around in your pocket. Before you download the app, this article answers a few basic questions any stargazer might have.

Is Google Sky Map Available for iPhone?

Google Sky Map isn't available for iOS yet. It's an Android-only app for now. There are several capable star gazing alternatives available for the iPhone and iPad you can use instead.

Here are three recommended star mapping apps among the several available on the Apple Store.

Is Sky Map a Google App?

Sky Map started its life as a Google app for Android phones. Google employees developed it as a side project thanks to Google's famed "20% Time rule," where they could spend 20% of their time on personal ideas. Sky Map was donated and open-sourced in 2012. It is now voluntarily maintained by the original developers on GitHub, but not on behalf of Google. 

You can view the active project files on GitHub.

What Is the Best Star Map App for iPhone?

SkyView is one of the top star mapping apps for the iPhone. SkyView has a free and paid version. The screenshots and instructions apply to SkyView Lite, which is the free version of the virtual telescope. 

Note:

Use the free app first to get an idea of how a stargazing app works. The paid version of SkyView displays more stars, constellations, planets, and satellites. You can also buy specific bundles from SkyView's Shop. For instance, the SkyView Satellite Guide unlocks views of 17000 Earth-orbiting satellites.

  1. Connect your iPhone to the internet to work with SkyView.

  2. Download SkyView Lite from the Apple App Store and open the app.

    Next > Use Camera > Calibrate Your Device > Done in SkyView setup.
  3. Select the location. SkyView can detect your location automatically or you can set it manually.

  4. Select Use Camera. SkyView uses the iPhone camera to scan the skies and overlay the star map with your location. You can calibrate your view from within the app too.

  5. Point the camera at any part of the sky and see the celestial objects superimposed on the phone screen. Choose any object and tap on it. Use the Information icon to read more about the space body.

    SkyView Information screen
  6. Tap the hamburger icon on the top-left to display a menu (it will slide into view from the bottom). Tap the camera icon to take a snapshot of the sky or use the different controls to set up the view. For instance,

    • Select the Night Mode icon to view the skies in an infra-reddish hue.
    • Select the Augmented reality camera icon to superimpose the star map above any real-world object. Switch it off to get back to the night mode.
    • Select the Sky Object trajectories icon to plot the movement of the celestial objects across space.
    SkyView icons for controlling the views on iPhone.
  7. Move the sliders to increase or decrease the visibility of the stars and the size of the planets.

  8. Tap the Gear icon to open Settings. Explore the options which allow you to enable and disable different features. For instance, select or deselect the different layers of visible sky objects.

    SkyView Settings
  9. Select the search icon on the upper-right of the screen. Then, choose one of the options from the menu or use the search bar to hunt for one particular object in the sky.

  10. SkyView uses the current time and date to set up the maps. Tap the Calendar icon to open the date and time picker to select a different period in the past or future.

    Search all objects and Calendar icon in SkyView.
FAQ
  • Can you use Google Sky Map on a PC?

    To use Google Sky Map on your computer, go to google.com/sky in a web browser. You can search for objects or locations, move through the map, zoom in or out, see different views, see collections of images, share links and print images using the online version of Google Sky Map.

  • How do I find the Milky Way with Google Sky Map?

    You can use the search feature to search for celestial objects and locations such as stars, constellations, galaxies, and planets. To find the Milky Way, select the search icon on the upper-right of the screen and type "milky way" into the search bar.

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