Activate Feature for Google Maps on Android to Work in Tunnels

What you should know

  • GPS signals often cannot penetrate tunnels, causing issues for drivers using GPS apps for navigation. Staying connected in a tunnel can improve driver safety and provide real-time updates on conditions inside the tunnel.
  • Google-owned Waze uses Bluetooth beacons inside tunnels in certain cities to provide seamless navigation where GPS signals cannot reach. Google Maps will now also support these Bluetooth beacons.
  • The Bluetooth beacon feature is currently available only on Android phones and is disabled by default. Users must manually enable it in the Google Maps settings.
  • Once enabled, Google Maps can “find, connect to, and determine the relative position of nearby devices,” improving location accuracy in tunnels. This feature appears to have been available for some Android users since last October and has recently been found on more Android devices.

Full Story

GPS apps can be a real pain when you’re driving through a tunnel. The signals just can’t get through, leaving you in the dark. You might think, “So what? I’m in a tunnel. I just follow the road.” But it’s not that simple.

Google, on its support page, points out a few reasons why staying connected in a tunnel is important. It keeps the location services running, improves driver safety, and gives you a real-time view of the tunnel’s conditions.

Waze, owned by Google, has a solution. It links up with Bluetooth beacons inside tunnels in cities like New York City, Chicago, Paris, and others. Google says, “The Waze Beacons program provides seamless navigation to drivers underground where GPS signals don’t reach.” And now, Google Maps will also support these Bluetooth beacons, according to SmartDroid (via 9to5 Google).

But there’s a catch. The feature is switched off by default. Don’t worry, though. I’m about to tell you how to turn it on. First off, this feature is only available on Android phones. Sorry, iOS users.

Here’s what you do. Open Google Maps on your Android phone. Tap the round profile icon on the right of the search bar. That’ll open a menu. Tap on Settings > Navigation settings. Scroll down to Driving options and look for Bluetooth tunnel beacons. Toggle it on.

Once you’ve enabled the feature, Google Maps will ask for permission to “find, connect to, and determine the relative position of nearby devices.” It seems this feature has been around for some Android users since last October, but it’s now popping up on more devices.

Follow the steps I’ve just given you. If you see “Bluetooth tunnel beacons,” it means you’re good to go. I’ve got it on my Pixel 6 Pro running Android 14 QPR2 Beta 3. If you drive through tunnels often and use an Android phone, you might want to take a second to enable this feature. It could be a game-changer.

Derrick Flynn
Derrick Flynn
With over four years of experience in tech journalism, Derrick has honed his skills and knowledge to become a vital part of the PhonesInsights team. His intuitive reviews and insightful commentary on the latest smartphones and wearable technology consistently provide our readers with valuable information.


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