How to Find North on Google Maps on iPad: A Step-by-Step Guide

Navigating the digital world can sometimes feel like steering through uncharted waters. But never fear, finding north on Google Maps on your iPad is a cinch! In less than a minute, you can orient yourself and ensure you’re heading in the right direction. Ready to become a navigational whiz? Let’s dive in!

After completing this action, Google Maps will display a red arrow indicating north on your iPad screen. This little helper stays put even as you move the map around, keeping you on track no matter where your adventure takes you.


Imagine you’re embarking on a road trip, and you’ve got your trusty iPad as your co-pilot. You’ve got Google Maps open, plotting your course to the next great destination. But wait – you need to know which way is north to make sure you’re headed the right way. That’s where finding north on Google Maps comes in handy. Whether you’re a traveler, a hiker, or just someone trying to find their way around a new city, knowing how to find north can be crucial. It can help you orient yourself, navigate more effectively, and even impress your friends with your directional savvy.

So, why is this skill so important? Well, it’s a fundamental aspect of navigation that has been used since ancient times. Mariners, explorers, and adventurers have all relied on the cardinal directions to chart their courses and reach their destinations. In our modern world, even with the advent of technology, these principles still apply. So grab your iPad, and let’s learn how to use Google Maps to find north and set you on the right path.

Step by Step Tutorial: Finding North on Google Maps on iPad

Before we begin, it’s important to note that these steps will help you determine the direction of north on the Google Maps app, ensuring you have a reliable point of reference as you navigate.

Step 1: Open Google Maps on Your iPad

Launch the Google Maps app on your iPad.

Once you’ve opened the app, you’ll be greeted with a map of your current location, assuming you’ve enabled location services. If not, you can easily search for your desired location.

Step 2: Find the Compass Icon

Look for the compass icon on the right side of the screen.

The compass icon is small but mighty. It might blend in with the other features on the screen, so keep your eyes peeled. It’s usually situated alongside other tools like the location button.

Step 3: Tap the Compass Icon

Tap the compass icon once to display the direction of north.

When you tap the compass, a red arrow will appear, pointing towards the top of your iPad screen. This indicates the direction of north, and it will remain static as you move the map around.

Step 4: Orient Yourself with the Red Arrow

Use the red arrow to orient yourself in the direction of north.

Now that you have the red arrow as your guide, align yourself with it. Whether you’re sitting down or standing up, face the direction the arrow points to, and voila, you’re facing north!


Easy NavigationFinding north simplifies navigation, making it easier to understand maps and directions.
Time-savingQuickly identifying north can save time, especially when in unfamiliar territories.
No Additional Equipment NeededUnlike a traditional compass, finding north on Google Maps doesn’t require any extra gear.


Dependence on TechnologyRelying on digital tools can be limiting if batteries die or there’s no internet access.
Not Always AccurateSometimes, the digital compass may need recalibration, leading to incorrect orientation.
Screen GlareBright sunlight can make it difficult to see the compass icon on the iPad screen.

Additional Information

When it comes to finding north on Google Maps on your iPad, remember that a little practice goes a long way. Familiarize yourself with the app’s interface so you can find the compass icon without a second thought. Also, bear in mind that while the compass feature is handy, it’s no substitute for situational awareness.

Keep an eye on your surroundings, and use landmarks along with the compass to confirm you’re heading in the right direction. And here’s a fun tip: once you’ve found north, try testing yourself by guessing the direction before checking the compass. It’s a great way to sharpen your internal compass!


  1. Open Google Maps on your iPad.
  2. Find the compass icon on the right side of the screen.
  3. Tap the compass icon to display the direction of north.
  4. Use the red arrow to orient yourself in the direction of north.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if the compass icon isn’t showing?

If the compass isn’t visible, try zooming out or moving the map slightly. The icon should appear on the right side of the screen.

Do I need an internet connection to find north on Google Maps?

While you do need an internet connection to load the map initially, the compass feature should work offline as long as the map is already loaded.

How accurate is the digital compass on Google Maps?

The digital compass is generally accurate, but it may need recalibration from time to time. Follow the app’s instructions to calibrate if needed.

Can I still find north if my iPad’s location services are turned off?

Without location services, Google Maps won’t be able to show your current location. However, you can still use the compass feature by searching for a known location.

What does it mean when the compass icon is red?

A red compass icon indicates that the map is not oriented to the north. Tapping it will align the map so that north is at the top.


Being able to find north on Google Maps on your iPad is like having a superpower in your back pocket. It’s a simple yet effective tool that can make all the difference in your travels. Whether you’re trekking through the wilderness or navigating city streets, having this skill can grant you confidence and reassurance.

So go ahead, give it a try, and elevate your navigation game to the next level. After all, in this ever-connected world, it’s the little things like finding north on Google Maps that keep us grounded and heading in the right direction.