Find your way with these 9 lesser-known Google Maps features

Zoom with one thumb

If you have only one hand free to navigate with, say if you’re driving (although that’s hardly the safest thing to do), you don’t have to free up your index finger to awkwardly pinch to zoom, and drop your phone in the process.

Do this: Double tap on the spot you want to zoom in on. But don’t lift your thumb off on the second tap. Hold and drag upwards to zoom out, or drag downwards to zoom in. Your phone needn’t be the victim of a fall just because you only have one hand to work with.

Check traffic conditions

Even if you’re a seasoned driver who doesn’t require turn by turn navigation, Google Maps is still useful. Guess why? That’s right, you don’t have to count on the radio to give you live traffic updates.

Do this: In the sidebar, tap on Traffic to get an up to date overview of traffic conditions. The red lines indicate heavy traffic with symbols indicating the reason. This information is powered by Waze, a community-driven navigation app.

Make overlays disappear

Google Maps comes with its share of distractions via its many overlays and side buttons. You probably just want to see the map for what it is but can’t focus without accidentally tapping a stray icon. Good news, there’s a way to get them all out of your face.

Do this: It’s so simple, you’ll hate yourself for not knowing this earlier. It’s such a relief on your eyes and a load of frustration off thanks to stray taps by removing the distracting clutter. All you need to do is tap once on the map to clear the icons scattered around the screen, then tap again to make the search bar disappear.