7 Pro Tips for Using Maps on OS X and iOS

Old-fashioned paper map of the United States

Apple has slowly been moving OS X and iOS together for some time now. While a merging of the two operating systems is far from likely, there have been some pretty great additions to each that help integrate them with one another.

One great example of this is Apple’s Maps for both iOS and OS X Mavericks.

While Apple Maps got a bumpy start, it’s a comparable replacement for Google Maps. Best of all, it’s a native app, so other apps like Calendar and Contacts sync seamlessly with it.

There are some pretty great features for both versions of Maps. Below are seven tips for using Maps on both OS X and iOS like a pro.

1. Make a Map Into a PDF – OS X

Most people think of mapping applications as only for routing and navigation. But with Maps on OS X Mavericks you can actually save maps as PDF files and print them out.

These saved maps can be used for businesses, education, or event planning. You could even print and frame a satellite picture of your house or neighborhood.

Overlapping Apple Maps windows

You can also save and print routes. This is helpful in case you’re using your phone for navigation and it stops working.

To get started, just move the map to the location you wish to save or print, and then click File > Export as PDF.

Note: If you’ve entered a search or mapped a route, the PDF you save won’t pay attention to zoom level, but it will if you freely move around the map.

2. Send Maps to iOS – Both

This is the big feature Apple touted when Maps for OS X Mavericks was launched – and rightfully so, because it’s really useful. If you’re using an iOS device like an iPhone running iOS 7 or above, you can send maps and directions from OS X right to the phone.

Apple Maps notification on iPhone screen

This is useful for many reasons.

For one thing, you can plan your route on your computer and send it to your phone when you’re ready to leave, allowing you to use the richer interface of the desktop version.

Another great use for this is getting help from afar. Instead of searching for directions on the go, you could get someone at home to map a route for you and send it to you on the fly. Pretty nifty – almost like you’re James Bond.

To send maps to iOS, just click File > Share and choose the device you wish to share to.

Apple Maps share drop-down menu

3. Share Maps – OS X

While you’re looking at the Share menu, check out the other ways to share maps from Mavericks. You can quickly and easily share a map or route with anyone via Email, iMessage, Twitter or Facebook.

Sharing map and directions via Twitter

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As long as you have the services set up inside of OS X, it’s one click and you’re sharing.

RELATED: How to Set Up Social Media Accounts in OS X Mavericks

4. Have Siri Map a Route For You – iOS

Siri can be used for more than scheduling reminders and being tricked into saying funny things. You can actually plot an entire route just by talking.

Simply hold the home button down on your iPhone and tell Siri the address you’re looking for, and she’ll start navigating for you. Need to find a gas station or ATM? Just have Siri navigate to the nearest bank or gas station and you’re set.

5. Use Siri to Show Where You Are – iOS

Speaking of Siri, you can actually use Siri and Apple Maps to find out where you are. If you’ve been driving for a while and need to know where you are, just ask Siri “Where am I?” and she’ll show you on the map.

You’ll see a small basic map, but if you tap on it you’ll go into Maps and get the full experience.

6. Use Earth View to Show Day and Night – OS X

This is more of a cool trick than a super-useful feature, but you can use Apple Maps to see where it’s light and dark in the world.

To view this, make sure you’re in satellite view and zoom out as far as possible. You should see the entire globe and a little space, too.

Apple Maps Earth view showing day and night

Maps shows you in real time where it’s day in the world and where it’s night. While this isn’t so useful when you’re planning your vacation route, it’s great for saving as a PDF or printing out.

SEE ALSO: How to Use Siri to Add Tasks to Remember the Milk

7. Never Be Late With Travel Time – Both

This last tip is probably the most useful. Since Maps is a native app in OS X and iOS, it’s deeply integrated with other native apps. So, for example, you can actually see the travel time between your appointments in the Calendar.

To use this feature, enter an address into every appointment you have, click on the drop-down next to Alert and choose When I need to leave.

Appointment details window in Apple Calendar

Now you’ll get an alert when it’s time to go instead of at a specific time. This is great when you have multiple appointments in a single day, making sure you’re never late for any of them.

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