How to Use iPhone for Turn-By-Turn Voice Navigation Directions with Siri
Voice turn by turn navigation and directions are incredibly convenient and easily one of the best features of Apple Maps, but rather than fumbling around with your iPhone while driving, you can rely entirely on Siri. This makes turn-by-turn almost entirely hands free; you give Siri a voice command to start the directions, and then you get the exact navigation spoken to you through Siri as exits approach and roads change. Going further, you can use a dash mount and car charger to transform your iPhone into a dashboard mounted GPS navigator.
Turn-by-turn voice navigation from Siri works amazingly well while driving. Here is how you can use it on your next trip:
- While driving, summon Siri (by holding the Home button, headphones button, or a car button if you have integration) as usual
- Issue a command to Siri using the following language:
- Give me directions to [location]
- Give me directions to [city]
- Give me directions to [address]
Yes it’s really that easy, and really that responsive. Depending on where you need to go, you can be extremely vague or very specific about the directions you want to get from Siri. Saying “Give directions to Los Angeles” works just as well to get driving directions from the GPS detected current location, as does “Give directions to 2184 West Macaroni Turtle road in San Francisco California”. Within seconds you’ll get voice directions spoken to you, informing you of upcoming turns and road names, all way ahead of time so you can get into the proper lanes for travel.
It’s a good idea to increase Maps directions volume beforehand if you can’t clearly hear everything, that way you don’t have to look at the maps and can just let Siri’s voice guide you.
Ending Voice Navigation with Siri
Got where you want to go, changed the destination, or maybe you just want Siri to hush it and stop giving directions? Just tell her to stop:
- Summon Siri again, and say “Stop Navigation”
You can always restart navigation by asking Siri for directions to a location again.
While some users may just use this feature just occasionally, GPS and voice navigation are so handy that you’ll probably end up wanting to use it often, particularly when you’re visiting new locations or regions you are unfamiliar with. For the frequent users, it’s best to make a small investment in a Lightning adapter car charger for the iPhone (or iPad) so that the iPhone stays charged constantly while using GPS, which is a battery intensive task. Additionally, you’ll likely want to get a dashboard mount unit, which keeps the iPhone high on the car dashboard so that you can keep your eyes on the road, and also better comply with many local laws surrounding smartphone usage and driving. Fortunately, both are cheap.
If you intend on using the iPhones Turn-By-Turn voice navigation often, getting a few accessories to mount the iPhone onto a cars dashboard and provide continual power are highly recommended. Yes, in a pinch you can just prop up an iPhone against your windshield or in a cup holder, but the experience is greatly improved with a dash mount, and your battery will thank you when it has a constant power source.
- iPhone Dashboard Mount from iOttie is about $25 and highly rated
- Lightning adapter car charger from Belkin is about $15
The car charger plugs into a standard car power port where the lighter would go, and the dash mount shown below uses suction to stick to the dashboard or adhere to a windshield.
For those with tons of USB Lightning chargers laying around, something like a Dual USB car charger works well too, the primary benefit is it has two generic USB ports which lets you charge anything that uses USB, whether it’s an iPhone, iPad, or Android. I use one of these, but if I only had a single device to worry about charging I’d go for the aforementioned direct car charger.
Obviously if you’re using the voice navigator for walking or biking, you won’t need the car charger or the dashboard mount, but do keep a watchful eye on the battery usage, as GPS usage and keeping the screen on constantly really depletes the iPhone battery rather quickly.
Troubleshooting Voice Navigation
Voice nav usually works fine, but if it’s not working go through the following checklist:
- Be sure Siri understood your request, speak clearly and concisely
- Check that iPhone (or iPad) has an active data connection on a 3G / 4G /LTE network
- Device should have iOS 7.0 or newer
- Device must have Siri support
- Device must support Maps Turn-By-Turn Directions (free apps are available for older iPhones that don’t support native iOS navigation)
- Location Services must be enabled for Apple Maps and for Siri
- Flip AirPlane Mode ON and OFF to reconnect to a data network
The only time I’ve had trouble with Siri’s voice navigation was when trying to use it in an area with poor reception, when the iPhone was cycling between EDGE, GPRS (the circle icon that sometimes shows up in the status bar alongside reception indicator), and no reception at all. While turn-by-turn will work fine traveling through deadzones like that, you won’t be able to effectively summon new directions, since there isn’t a sufficient cellular connection to use.
Grab your car keys and iPhone, ask Siri for some directions, and happy travels!