How to use 3D maps on iPad and iPhone in iOS 7

Rome 3D Maps app iOS 7 closer

The Maps app in iOS 7 is a brilliant way to navigate the world. It features beautifully rendered vector graphics, real-time traffic, satellite navigation and 3D maps. These 3D maps are created using military-spec technology, combing radar results and aerial photography to produce detailed 3D models. That means you can see individual trees and intricate details on buildings.

It’s worth noting that only a small number of cities are fully rendered in 3D. These include London, Paris, New York, San Francisco and Manchester, with more planned to be added in the future. The rest of the world is detailed in basic 3D, with hills, mountains and slopes available to fly around.

This tutorial will explain how to enable the 3D mode then move the camera with your fingertips. A video is also available at the end that demonstrates how London appears using the 3D mode in the Maps app on iOS 7.


1. Maps app

Open the Maps app on your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch, it will automatically zoom to your current location.

Maps app in iOS 7


2. Search for a location

Tap the search field at the top of the screen, then enter a location such as Rome. The Maps app will offer a few suggestions, tap on one or press the blue Search button on the keyboard. The app will now zoom to your chosen location.

Maps app search for location iOS 7


3. Zoom the view

Zoom down to street level using two fingers. Try to get quite close, so you can see individual street names.

Search results in Maps app


4. Satellite view

If you’re not already using the Satellite view, tap the small i button in the bottom right corner, then select the Satellite view. You’ll now see a photorealistic view of the city from above.

Maps app views iOS 7


5. 3D mode

Now for the fun part. Tap the 3D button at the bottom of the screen. The camera angle will change, showing individual buildings, trees and more in 3D. If this doesn’t work then you’re not viewing a city that’s fully rendered in 3D. Click this link to see an up-to-date list of 3D cities.

Rome 3D Maps app iOS 7


6. Alter the view

To move the camera just drag your finger along the screen. To rotate it, twist two fingers on the spot. To tilt the angle of the camera, slide two fingers up or down. Now that you’ve learned the basics of viewing 3D maps enjoy the view!