Going back and forth between a navigation and streaming music service app on a phone or tablet while driving is, undeniably, dangerous. Not only does it take your eyes off of the road for an extended period of time. It takes at least one of you’re hands off of the wheel. That is unless you’re well-versed in voice assistants. But Google Maps has a solution for those who want to travel and use music streaming.
Namely, Google Maps integrates directly with the music streaming services already on your device. And the UI for those apps also directly integrates into Maps. Helping Maps earn its placement among the best navigation apps around. And allowing users to actually use both types of apps on the same screen, making travel potentially quite a bit safer. And that’s exactly what this guide is here for. So if that sounds like something you’d like to do, read on.
How to get started streaming music directly in Google Maps on Android
Now, you should probably set up music streaming in Google Maps before you’re in the car. Or, at the very least, before you start driving down the road. As is the case with any of our “how-to” guides. At least a part of the purpose of this feature included in Google Maps is to make driving safer. As noted above, to minimalize the amount of interaction needed with a phone while behind the wheel.
Otherwise, the process is straightforward if not the easiest — if you don’t know where to start.
- Open up Google Maps on your Android smartphone or tablet
- Select your profile image at the top right-hand corner of the UI. If you haven’t set a profile image, the icon will be a colored circle. That will, instead of an image, contain the first initial of the user account name
- Select Settings. That’s accompanied by a gear-shaped icon
- In the Settings menu, scroll down and select the option labeled “Navigation settings” from the list
- Next, select the segment labeled “Assistant Default Media Provider,” subtitled “Service used to play music”
- Google Maps will present you with a list of streaming music services to choose from. Select the option that you prefer. For our sample images, we’ve selected the YouTube Music service. Google Maps may require you to link your account first. And will walk you through that process, following a tap to select the music service you’d like to add below the default list. The service will work with just about any app for music that you have on your phone
- After setting a default provider, Google Maps will — during navigation — display one of two options. Namely, it will either display an icon for your selected music streaming service provider near the bottom of the Google Maps UI. Or that will be tucked behind a four-square-shaped icon in the bottom bar UI. That will itself contain the icon for the music service you’ve selected, as shown in the example images below. Tap the icon for the music service you’ve selected
- Google Maps will display the widget UI for the music service, overlaid in Google Maps and simplified for safer usability while on the road. A tap on that widget will bring forward the full, but simplified UI. And a tap on the Maps icon in the bottom bar will return the widget to the bottom bar UI
This also works on iOS but the process is just a bit different
Now, if you happen to be using an iOS device from Apple, instead of Android, the process will be different. You can start by first following steps 1 through 4 of the guide above. But then you’ll need to select “Music Playback Controls” instead of “Assistant Default Media Provider” in step 5.
Following that step, the remaining steps are identical. So there aren’t any other major variations to be aware of moving forward.
Of course, coloration and theming will, it goes almost without saying, be slightly different for Apple users. That’s par for the course when it comes to comparing Google apps — and many other apps — between the platforms. But Google has done a fairly good job keeping consistency between them.
So music streaming in the iOS variant of Google Maps still comes complete with the bottom bar UI and in-app widget interactions. As well as a choice of music service providers and a design engineered to keep you driving more safely. And the steps are nearly the same across the board.