How to Rotate Google Maps

Change the orientation or north direction on Maps

What to Know

  • Use the Satellite view to rotate Google Maps on PC and browser.
  • Use the compass to find true north and the arrows to change the orientation.
  • Use two-finger gestures to rotate Google Maps on Android and iOS.

Rotate Google Maps and you can orient yourself with the direction you are traveling and the landmarks on the map. This article will show you how to change the orientation on Google Maps in the browser and on the mobile app. 

Rotate Google Maps in Any Browser

You can only rotate the web version of Google Maps in the Satellite view. The other map layers do not support rotation. 

  1. Open Google Maps in any supported browser. 

  2. Navigate to the location you want to rotate by searching from the Maps search bar or by allowing the map to auto-detect your location. 

  3. Zoom to the location if needed with the scroll wheel on the mouse or with the Zoom slider on the right of the map. 

    Google Maps Zoom Slider highlighted
  4. Click the Layers panel on the bottom left to switch to Satellite view. 

    Google Maps with Layers view highlighted
  5. You're now in Satellite view.

    Google Maps Satellite View
  6. Select the Compass on the right of the map screen. The red part of the compass shows the north direction on the map. 

    In order for this to work, Google Maps will need to have permission use your location.

    Google Maps with Compass highlighted
  7. Select the left or right arrows on the compass to rotate the map counterclockwise or clockwise. You can also press Control on the keyboard and drag on the map with the mouse to get a 3D view oriented in any direction. 


Alternatively, use keyboard shortcuts to rotate Google Maps in Satellite view. You can find all Google Maps shortcuts by pressing Ctrl + / on your keyboard.

Rotate Google Maps in the Mobile App

Your first instinct might be to rotate the phone itself, but that won’t align the road names with the orientation of the phone. Rotating the map view is far more intuitive on the Google Maps app for iOS and Android. You can use the instructions on any Google Maps layer and while navigating between two locations. The screenshots below are from Google Maps on iOS.

  1. Open the Google Maps app.

  2. Search for a place or allow Google Maps to auto-detect your location.

  3. Place two fingers on the map and rotate in any direction. Google Maps displays a tiny compass on the screen that moves with the orientation of the map. The compass icon only appears when you move the map manually. Tap on the compass again to orient the map along the north-south axis. 

    Rotating Google Maps in iOS

The red arrow shows north and the grey points towards the south. Use this as a guide to rotate the map and move in any direction. Tap on the compass once to reset the view and orient the map again along the north-south axis. 

  • How do I measure distance on Google Maps?

    To measure distance in Google Maps in a browser, right-click your starting point, select Measure Distance, and then click anywhere on the map to create a route to measure. In the Google Maps app, touch and hold a location, tap the place name, and then scroll down and tap Measure Distance. Move the map's crosshairs to your next location, tap Add (+), and then find the total distance at the bottom.

  • How do I drop a pin on Google Maps?

    To drop a pin on Google Maps in a browser, right-click the location you want to pin and select Directions to Here. In the Google Maps mobile app, tap and hold the location you want to pin, and then the map pin will be created.

  • How do I download Google Maps?

    To download a Google Map for offline viewing on an iPhone, search for a location, tap the place name, and then tap More (three dots). Select Download offline map > Download. On an Android device, tap More (three dots) > Download offline map > Download.

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