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How to use Street View (Look Around) in Apple Maps

Try AR Walking Directions if you're exploring a major city.
By
January 17, 2024

If the headline seems a little confusing, that’s because Google Maps’ Street View feature has become so synonymous with on-the-ground, 360-degree views that Look Around in Apple Maps is often referred to by the same name. Here’s how to trigger Look Around on an iPhone, and how it compares with Street View proper.

QUICK ANSWER

To use Look Around, find a supporting address in Apple Maps. If the feature is available, you'll see a binocular icon. Swipe to change your view, and tap on the street/path to move around.


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How to use the Look Around feature in Apple Maps

The first thing to know is that Look Around is only available in select cities around the world, and even then it’s often limited to parts of a city. Coverage has improved over time, but even large swaths of the US aren’t supported. You can check Apple’s list for up-to-date compatibility info.

Here’s how to use Look Around:

  • In Apple Maps, search for an address in a supported city.
  • If it supports Look Around, you’ll see a binocular icon. Tap this.
  • In the Look Around pop-up, swipe around to turn or look up and down. Tap on the street/path ahead to move. You may need this, especially since addresses frequently don’t line up with what you’re actually trying to see.
  • Tap the double-arrow icon to get a fullscreen view, including a compass.
  • Whenever you’re finished, tap Done.

A number of cities take advantage of related tech for AR Walking Directions, such as Austin, London, New York, Tokyo, Singapore, and Toronto. To trigger this, simply start walking navigation as usual, but then hold your iPhone in front of you and tap the AR cube icon if it’s available. After scanning your surroundings, your iPhone will superimpose directions on its live camera view. You can force your iPhone to automatically return to this view when raising it (after the AR cube is tapped) by going to Settings > Maps > Walking and toggling Raise to View.

Apple Look Around vs Google Street View: How do they compare?

When it comes to Apple Maps vs Google Maps, the latter’s Street View has a significant advantage in coverage. Even in the US, only a small number of cities currently have Look Around — it works in Houston, for instance, but not other major Texas cities like Austin, Dallas, or San Antonio. Street View is available in dozens of countries, including nearly total coverage in regions like the US, UK, Canada, Mexico, and Australia.

There’s not much functional difference, otherwise. Google Maps even has an AR Walking Directions equivalent called Live View. So where there’s coverage overlap, feel free to use whichever platform suits you best.