How-to: Android-Powered Navigation

One of the greatest aspects of Android is the fully-featured navigation abilities. I’ve given a list of the best navigation apps for Android, and re-evaluated the Waze app for Android’s power-packed navigation options. It’s hard for me to believe that Android users aren’t aware of navigation, but apparently, some aren’t aware of Android’s amazing navigation power. If you’re interested, check out this past post on sharing a location. If you’re a navigation novice, this post will give you a basic look at getting your navigation going.

Turn on GPS

Most of the navigation apps will warn you when you’re GPS is off. Leaving GPS active isn’t a bad thing, unless you’re especially fearful of “big brother” (don’t worry, turning GPS off won’t help either). Some apps use your phone’s GPS to signal your device’s locations.

To enable your device’s GPS, got to Settings > Location. Enable Standalone GPS Services. If you want to enable the other settings, do it.

Now your phone will send a GPS signal about your location. If your phone doesn’t have these settings, it’s time to upgrade.

Start Navigating

As I stated before, Android has a built-in navigation program, which you’ll find in your app drawer.

Android Navigation App

On Android devices, the Navigation app is tied to a GPS navigation screen similar to ones you’ll find in vehicles.

Navigation Screen

You can also navigate directly from Google Maps. I used this method a lot when I toured Washington D.C. The process is simple: search, select, and go:

Google Maps Navigation Search

Navigation Option

You’ll have a few options for travel after you select the navigation arrow.

Navigation Options

As well as the option to navigate to the location or just get directions.

Navigation Options

Navigation will give you turn-by-turn directions from start to finish, regardless of the method.

Android Turn-by-Turn Navigation

You can adjust some of the settings, including turning on or off the voice guidance, by selecting the menu button in the lower right hand corner.

Now it’s time to get moving.

Turn-by-turn navigation on Android is one element that sets Android apart from its iOS counterparts.

Update: Navigation is now tied directly to Google Maps, or accessible from Google Now. You can input the address directly or command Google to find the information for you. Check out this post on the move.

2 Responses to How-to: Android-Powered Navigation

  1. I found your site while researching tracking apps from my tablet.

    I’m guessing that you must own a lot of Google stock, ’cause you cheerfully promote GPS tracking without the mention that there are comprises involved in telling Google (or anyone else, for that matter) where we are at all times. Granted, most people don’t seem to mind that Google tracks them, charts them, then sells the data about where they go and what they do–that is if they’re aware of the fact at all. With the masterful touch of a spin doctor/lawyer, you manage to downplay the downsides.

    While those downsides aren’t necessarily nefarious, they’re quite unnecessary. Google gets something for nothing from me when I turn on the GPS and let it go to town. In return I save myself the whole 30 seconds required to enter information manually into Google maps from the website.

    It’s not a fair trade off for me.

    I’m uncomfortable being tracked, whether I can see who is doing it or not.

    • No Google stock, though I’m very much aware of Google’s tracking; I just don’t think it’s that important. You can shut this off, though you should know that your cell phone carrier can track your location even more.

      I think a lot of people are too worried about Google’s influence, but fail to remember that the cell phone carrier has just as much information and doesn’t disclose that. At least Google lets you see where you are. Perhaps a little less focus on Google, and more on the carrier is what’s needed?

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Jeff Taylor

I’m just an ordinary guy living an extraordinary life. I’m also an attorney and I blog about Android for lawyers. You can follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Google+.