How to force iOS 8 to use third-party maps

Don't want Apple Maps to navigate you? Here's how to "opt out" in iOS 8.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
2 min read


Has Apple Maps improved in iOS 8? Back in March, ""="" shortcode="link" asset-type="article" uuid="fe8eaf19-b616-4c53-bb76-be785322bc0c" slug="apple-preps-boatload-of-under-the-hood-upgrades-for-ios-8-maps" link-text="reports indicated " section="news" title="Apple Maps may get major 'under-the-hood' upgrade" edition="us" data-key="link_bulk_key" api="{"id":"fe8eaf19-b616-4c53-bb76-be785322bc0c","slug":"apple-preps-boatload-of-under-the-hood-upgrades-for-ios-8-maps","contentType":null,"edition":"us","topic":{"slug":"mobile"},"metaData":{"typeTitle":null,"hubTopicPathString":"Mobile","reviewType":null},"section":"news"}"> were coming to the unpopular app, which debuted in iOS 6 to widespread criticism. But Apple didn't say much about Maps when iOS 8 arrived, and the app never saw the public-transit option which was rumored to be in the works.

In any case, one thing hasn't changed: You still can't alter the operating system's default navigation app. If you tap an address in, say, your address book or on a website, you'll land in Apple Maps, like it or not.

However, there's an easy way to bounce out of Maps and into your preferred navigator. Here's how:

Step one: Open an address in Apple Maps as you normally would.

Step two: Tap the car icon to start the routing process.

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Step three: Tap Apps in the route-selection menu.

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Step four: Tap Route next to whatever installed navigation app you want to use.

And that's it! It's not quite as seamless as changing the default, but it's certainly easier than entering an address manually in your map app of choice. What's more, you also get a list of App Store options, just in case you need something more suitable than what's already installed.

As you may recall, iOS 7 offered a similar tweak, though it required you to choose the Bus option. That would connect you with installed apps offering public-transit directions. In iOS 8, it's a little more straightforward.

However, the underlying code apparently hasn't changed that much, because if you choose Google Maps, it will load the app with Bus as the default mode of transport. (Just tap car or another option to change it.)