How to use the route planner in Apple Maps on Mac

You already know you can use Apple’s Maps app to get directions, turn-by-turn navigation, and details on businesses. So, of course, you know you can plan a route from here to there. But did you know you could also plan a route from there to there?

You might be laying out a road trip for yourself or helping someone else get from point A to point B. In Maps, you can create a route from any location to another. You can specify the transportation type and avoid things like toll roads by default.

For making the most of Maps on Mac, where you have a nice big screen to work on, we’ll show you how to use the route planner.

Maps Create Route on Mac

Set the default route planner settings

You can configure a few settings by default to make route planning easier. This can be especially helpful when certain elements of your routine remain the same, like wanting to avoid toll roads/highways, or if you always drive (and never take public transit). You can still change these details at a later, date, too.

Open Maps and click Maps > Preferences from the menu bar. Select the Route Planner tab to adjust the following options.

  • Preferred Transport Type: Pick from Driving, Transit, Walking, or Cycling.
  • Driving Default Options: Check the box(es) if you want to avoid toll roads or highways.
  • Cycling Default Options: If you’re a cyclist, check the box(es) to avoid hills or busy roads.
  • Transit Default Options: When you choose Transit for the Preferred Transport Type, this handy section lets you choose which transit options to use.
Maps Preferences Route Planner on Mac

Create a route

Let’s say you’re planning a trip and want to map out your destinations. You can see how far it is and the various route options from a hotel to nearby attractions, restaurants, or other spots. This might even help you choose the right hotel for your stay or the places you want to visit on a short trip.

1) Open Maps on your Mac and use the Search box to find a location or select one from your guides or favorites.

2) Select the spot on the map to display the location details.

3) Click Create Route From Here.

Maps Create Route From Here on Mac

4) Enter the destination in the To box. As you type, you’ll see suggestions for locations — you can select one or keep typing in your entry manually.

Maps Create Route from Locations on Mac

You’ll then receive route options, which will include details like multiple potential routes, distance, time to travel, and more.

Even though you may have picked default settings for the route planner in Apple Maps as described earlier, here is where you can change them for this particular trip.

At the top of the small pop-up window, you can select a different mode of transportation. You’ll also see Options in blue for each mode. Click that to pick things to avoid or transit options.

Maps Route Options on Mac

And if you do decide on transit, you have Now and Plan tabs. Now gives you the current direct route. Plan lets you pick the date and time for when you want to Leave or Arrive.

Maps Plan a Transit Route on Mac

Just like when you get directions from your current spot, you can reverse the From and To locations. Click the swap icon next to the locations in the pop-up window to see routes in the opposite direction.

Maps Route Swap Locations on Mac

Safe travels!

No matter how near or far you plan to travel, Maps on Mac can help. Plan where you’ll stay in relation to how close attractions are or see which activities are within walking distance of your hotel. Whatever your pleasure, the route planner in Apple Maps can come in handy.

How do you plan your trips? Do you solidify the accommodations and then see which activities are close? Or do you center your trips around the attractions and then look for a nearby hotel?

For additional ways to plan routes and trips with Apple Maps, check out these how-tos: