How to Use Maps in Globe View on Mac

Sep 10, 2018 - 12 Comments

Globe view in Maps for Mac

Have you ever wanted a little digital globe you could interact with, spinning the Earth around to see the continents, oceans, and features of our planet? If so, you’ll be happy to discover that the Maps app on the Mac has a hidden globe view that allows you to interact with and spin planet Earth as a virtual globe.

The hidden globe view in Maps can be a great feature for obvious geography reasons, whether it’s for informational, exploration, educational uses, just having a little fun, or any other reason you’d like to reference a globe. Even more interesting is that Maps Globe view uses satellite data to show the Earth surface relative to the sun, making both day time and night time views visible depending on the time of day. The whole Globe view is quite interesting and fun to play with.

Read on to learn how to access Globe view in the Maps application for Mac.

How to Access Globe View on Maps for Mac

Ready to switch the Maps app into Globe view? Here’s how you can do that:

  1. Open the “Maps” application on the Mac
  2. Maps icon on Mac

  3. Choose “Satellite” view by clicking the button in the upper right corner
  4. How to access Globe view on Maps for Mac

  5. Now zoom out in Maps view, you can zoom out by clicking the minus “[-]” button in the bottom right corner of Maps app or by using a pinch gesture on a tracking surface
  6. How to access Globe view on Maps for Mac

  7. Keep zooming out until you see Maps has entered into Globe view
  8. How to access Globe view on Maps for Mac

  9. Interact with the Maps app as usual, you can spin the globe, rotate it around in just about any orientation with a click and drag, zoom in and out, etc

You can zoom in and out of globe view quite fast with the pinch and spread gestures on a tracking surface.

One of the more compelling aspects of Globe view in Maps is that it uses updated satellite imagery based on time of day and the Earth position relative to the sun, so you can see where night and day fall on the globe.

Maps Globe view showing where night and day meet

The daytime view is brightly lit as you’d expect and makes identifying continents, oceans, and land features pretty easy. The night time view of the world is quite fascinating as well because it uses detailed satellite imagery to show light pollution on the surface of Earth, making it easy to locate cities, developments, and the human behavior on the planet, visible much like the glowing activity of humans is from the International Space Station, NASA imagery, or some other satellite or space craft (maybe this trick could be extra helpful to any aliens out there floating around in space looking down at Earth but haven’t figured out quite where to land yet).

Maps Globe view showing night time on part of Globe view

And yes if you’re an iOS user and you were wondering, the Maps app on iPhone and iPad also has globe view that is accessible in basically the same way as this, hidden behind Satellite view and requiring lots of zooming out to see.

Exiting out of Globe view is just a matter of either choosing the “Map” mode of Maps app, or zooming into any surface on the Earth close enough so that the globe is no longer visible.

Some Maps features work in Globe view while others don’t, for example you can drop pins and share a location while in Globe view, but features like scale indicators and saving Maps as a PDF don’t entirely work while in Globe view. You can also use “Show Labels” to toggle off or on the labeling of cities and continents.

Pretty cool, huh? If you have any other interesting tips, tricks, or insight about the Maps app or the hidden Globe view, share with us in the comments! Or check out other Maps tips for both the Mac and iOS platforms.


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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS, Tips & Tricks


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  1. Jannike Willoch says:

    Why can’t I get the globe anymore? Miss it so much.

  2. Marcus Erectus says:

    Geoffrey Raines is correct. You have to be in 3D mode. Then it will work in Mojave

  3. Josiah says:

    Globe View is working fine on my Mac that has OS X El Capitan.

    • Louie says:

      Works fine in MacOS High Sierra too. Apparently it’s just the Mojave beta where it seems not to work according to what a couple of people posted here. Then again that’s a beta, and we’ll see if it gets corrected for the final release.

      • ern says:

        Globe View works fine over here in macOS, and you can do it in iOS too.

        Just keep zooming out and you can spin the map like a globe.

        Cool trick on Mac iPhone iPad. I like it, digital globe.

  4. Louie says:

    Cool. Note that the Globe View also exists in maps for iOS. To access it just switch to satellite view, turn on 3D mode and then pinch to zoom out. The globe view is also accessible from within the Find iPhone app by simply switching to satellite view and then pinching to zoom out.

  5. Samuel Duncan says:

    can’t get Maps to zoom out to globe view on macOS Mojave. Is this a confirmed limitation of the Mojave version of Maps?

    • Louie says:

      On macOS Mojave you need to turn on 3D mode BEFORE you start zooming out in order to see the globe view. If you just set to satellite and then zoom in, as indicated above, you will not see the globe view. That method only works on macOS High Sierra and earlier versions.

  6. MSterling says:

    Globeview is not working on Maps for Mojave Beta ver. 18a384a

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