How To Always Get Walking Directions on iOS Maps

The Maps app in iOS 7 on iPhone or iPad defaults to giving directions for drivers, but many people who don’t drive or who live in large cities where they almost always walk, will prefer walking directions. We’ll show users how to change the Maps app to offer walking directions on iOS maps by default.

What’s the difference? In many spots users can walk places where they can’t drive and vice versa. For example, someone could go down a walkway that connects two streets in a big city but they can’t drive that route. There might also be a road that doesn’t allow pedestrians due to safety concerns. In this case, the app won’t offer that road as part of the directions.

iphone maps app

Changing to Walking Directions by Default

Before opening Maps, fire up the Settings app. Slide the screen down till the Maps app shows in the Settings list. It’s in the fourth section of the list.

iphone maps directions setting

Tap on the Maps app. Slide the screen down to the last section with two options. By default a check mark shows up next to Driving. Tap on Walking and from then on the app will default to Walking directions.

Walking and Driving Directions Give Different Results

We did a test to see how this affects directions. Getting from the 42nd Street Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan, NY to Rockefeller Center, about 12 blocks away, offers two different sets of directions based on walking or driving mode.

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Notice that the driving directions take a person one of three possible ways seen below, none of which matches the walking directions shown in the second image below.

iphone maps driving directions

The walking directions take a straight shot down 42nd Street and another straight shot down 5th Ave as shown below. That’s because walking this route works better on foot, while driving one of the above possible routes works best in a car.

iphone maps walking directions

Other Maps App Settings

Notice in the Settings of the iPhone Maps app that users can change a few other things. The top section in the Maps settings lets users pick the volume of the voice the app uses to announce direction. It ranges from No Voice to Loud. There’s also an option for miles or kilometers. Finally, users can set labels to always show in English, even if the person’s travelling internationally.

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