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How to Drop Pins in Google Maps and Apple Maps

How to Drop Pins in Google Maps and Apple Maps - Featured Image

published by Rachel Gold
February 12, 2023 at 4:26 p.m. PST
  • MapQuest was the first popular application for maps and directions.
  • Google Maps became the most popular smartphone app in 2013, with the software installed on 54% of all compatible devices globally.
  • Citing privacy concerns, Apple launched its own Maps app in 2012.
  • Plagued with defects, critics panned early Apple Maps releases as unusable and vastly inferior to Google’s mapping solution.
  • In both Google and Apple Maps, users can drop pins, which record a location for future reference, sharing, or other purposes.

How to Drop Pins in Google Maps on Your iPhone

This article assumes that you’ve already installed Google Maps on your iPhone and know its basic features and operations. If you need more background information, it’s available later in this article. Please scroll down to the relevant sections below if you want to learn more about Google Maps and how to install it.

Dropping a pin refers to adding a user-defined marker to a map to share or for later usage. For example, if you’re taking a trip to San Francisco and want to mark the Golden Gate Bridge, you can drop a pin on it. You can then share this pin or access it later. It’s essentially a bookmark for maps.

Dropping a pin in Google Maps is easy. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to do it:

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  1. Launch Google Maps. The Google Maps home screen appears.
  2. Find the general area where you would like to drop a pin. You can use the search feature or control the map with your fingers.
  3. Press and hold your finger on the map where you’d like to drop a pin. A pin appears, along with a menu of options below the map.
  4. You can now choose what you want to do with the pin: get directions, start navigation, save, or share. Tap on one of the options.

That’s it. It’s so easy to drop a pin in Google Maps; it’s probably easier than dropping an actual pin. Now let’s look at how to drop a pin with Apple Maps.

How to Drop Pins in Apple Maps on Your iPhone

Apple Maps comes pre-installed with every modern iPhone. It’s updated along with iOS operating system updates. If you haven’t updated your iPhone’s software in a while, it may be worthwhile. Apple adds new features to Maps, along with bug fixes.

Dropping a pin with Apple Maps is similar to Google Maps. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Launch (Apple) Maps. Apple Maps will launch with the entire world in view and your current location displayed with a blue pin. If you’ve used the app recently, it may open with your last destination in view.
  2. Search or use your fingers to move the map to your desired location.
  3. Press and hold your finger on the area where you’d like to drop the pin. The pin appears along with a menu at the bottom.
  4. Select different operations from the menu based on what you’d like to do. You can get directions, share the location, move the pin more precisely, and add it to maps or favorites.

I have to admit; Apple offers better usability for dropping a pin. While you can zoom in on Google Maps and drop a pin exactly where you want it, Apple’s ability to move a pin within a specialized user interface seems to display more detail and points of interest. Instead of moving the pin, the user moves the map, which is actually easier.

What is Google Maps?

Google Maps is the most popular and highest-rated mapping application available today. With numerous features and based on accurate data, Google Maps’ popularity stems from its quality, not hype.

Launched way back in 2005, it’s almost hard to imagine life without Google Maps. The most popular features are turn-by-turn directions, Street View, and detailed satellite imagery.

Navigation in Google Maps is advanced and sophisticated. Building on almost 20 years of features, Google Maps can plan navigation for cars, pedestrians, bike riders, public transit passengers, and, soon, for air travel.

Street View is a handy feature. I often use it to look for potential parking spots before I head out. It’s a great way to see if that AirBnB is for real. Although it’s not available everywhere, Google continues to expand its optical capture of street-level phenomena.

The satellite imagery in Google Maps is remarkably comprehensive. It’s a good fallback when Street View isn’t available. I enjoy looking at remote parts of the world with Google Maps’ satellite imagery.

What is Apple Maps?

Although Apple Maps has a checkered past, it has grown into a full-featured, reliable mapping application. Even when it launched, the data and navigation logic were on par with in-car systems. Since Apple touts its reputation for perfection, customers don’t accept flaws they would otherwise tolerate and expect from other brands.

The problem for Apple was that Google Maps was vastly superior at the time. It was also better than in-car and after-market automotive navigation systems. Google Maps didn’t kill off Mapquest, but its glory days are long gone. I had to check that Mapquest still existed, but, like most, I’ve moved on.

If you live in the United States, Apple Maps was always pretty good. It took years for Apple to improve its mapping app in other nations. After Apple moved its map development to Hyderabad, India, quality eventually improved, along with greater geographic coverage.

The advantage of Apple Maps is that it integrates seamlessly into the Apple ecosystem. That’s the only reason I use it more than Google Maps. If you use an iPhone, you’re almost coerced into using Apple Maps, at least within first-party apps.

Prominent features of Apple Maps include navigation, 3D flyover maps, and “Look Around” (its own version of Street View), which often seems superior to Google’s, with clearer images of street-level structures.

How to Install Google Maps

Installing Google Maps is free and easy. First, launch the App Store and search for Google Maps. The App Store will likely display an ad for the first result, so make sure to tap on the “Get” button for Google Maps.

That’s it. Google Maps will install, after which the App Store will display an “Open” button. Simply tap on “Open” to launch the app.

How to Install Apple Maps

The good news is that Apple Maps comes pre-installed with iOS. It’s a core app used by many other apps in the Apple ecosystem. Siri, Calendar, Notes, and virtually every Apple first-party app relies on Apple Maps for geographic information.

Even though Apple already installed Maps on your iPhone, you may want to check if a new software update is available for iOS. Tap on Settings > General > Software Update to check for new versions of iOS. If there’s a new version, installing it will also update Apple Maps.

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