After a two-year absence, Google has brought the in-map compass back to Google Maps on Android thanks, it says, to continued user pressure for a return of the feature.
“You wanted it and we heard you,” a support post on Google Maps help begins. “We’re excited to announce the return of the compass on Maps for Android. “The compass was removed from Maps for Android in early 2019 in an effort to clean up the Navigation screen but due to overwhelming support it’s back!”
While it’s easy to be cynical about companies insisting that something returning is due to popular demand, it’s pretty clear that people really did miss the compass. You don’t have to look far to find plenty of examples on Google’s own support pages.
The compass appears as a widget on the right-hand side of the map screen, with a red arrow determinedly pointing north on the map as you rotate your phone. It’s a handy extra bit of info as you navigate unknown places, and given the small footprint it takes up, it’s hard to believe Google ever thought it was worth removing.
Indeed, Google’s explanation that it was removed to clean up the navigation screen is a little hard to stomach when the change only ever happened on the Android version of the app. The iOS edition has kept the compass for the past two years, and Google says that iPhone owners won’t ever have to experience