iOS 7 Maps: Using the Distance Scale

| Tips

OK, guys, prepare yourselves—this is going to be a fast but very useful tip. At least, I hope it’ll be useful! If it isn't, don't tell me, all right?

So as you may be aware, when you pinch and zoom within Apple Maps, you’ll see a graphic scale of distance in the upper-left corner.

Unfortunately, though, that scale disappears as soon as you stop zooming in and out, right? Yes, but there’s a way to make it stay there. If you touch the screen with two fingers, that guide will appear and stay until you take your fingers off the screen. 

I find this very handy for estimating distance, especially when I’m going to be walking. I mean, I could see the travel time between two points by getting directions, but who’s got time for that? It’s much faster to just use this to get an estimate.

Whew, that was quick! You’d think I wouldn’t pad the end of this article with silliness, wouldn’t you? Well, you’d be wrong. I am QUEEN of silliness, dear readers.

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Lee Dronick


I would very much like that scale to be sticky, an option always display. Also being able drag it around and rotate it.

Nathan Hillery

You need to use two-fingers to bring up the scale, but you can keep it there with just one. Then you can use a second finger to move & rotate the map, achieving the effect of moving/rotating the scale indicator.

Thanks for the tip. I hadn’t noticed the scale before.

Patrick Weigel

Not seeing any scale on Apple Maps. I’ve zoomed in, zoomed out. I have iOS 7.0.4 and all of my apps are updated (including Apple Maps). I’m on an iPad 3 and I’ve tested it on my iPhone 4 - no scale. I’ve checked the Settings for Maps.

What am I missing?


I don’t see a scale either.  Could this be an “only in the US” feature?

Melissa Holt

Thanks for all the comments, guys! (And Nathan, that’s an awesome tip!)

As to the folks who aren’t seeing the scale—I’m wondering if this is only a feature on very recent devices? I can’t seem to find confirmation one way or the other.



It’s not a US-only feature. I tried this tip on an iPad Air here in Ireland. It does not, however, it doesn’t work on my iPad 2 or iPhone 4 (both running iOS 7.0.4) . It seems to only be available on newer devices. It’s a nice feature but since I didn’t know about it before reading here, I never missed it!
.....when I get my iPad Pro later this year…!

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