Smartphone maps
Edit maps from your phone or computer. Enrique Alarcon via Unsplash

Your favorite mapping app does a lot more than show landmarks. With a little help from third-party data providers, Google Maps and Apple Maps redirect your route based on traffic, alert you to transit trouble, list websites and opening times for businesses, and more. Despite their thoroughness, they’re not perfect. Occasionally, you’ll encounter errors—like an incorrectly labeled place name or a new road that isn’t listed yet—and you have the power to fix them. By reporting the issue, you’ll improve the service for everyone

While you’re tweaking the data, we’ll show you how to register your own venue. Adding your business to a major mapping app will help potential customers learn you exist, visit your location, and explore your website. Here’s how to edit Google Maps and Apple Maps.

Google Maps

Google Maps
Editing Google Maps for Android. David Nield

You can edit the details of Google Maps through either the app or the website. Perhaps the most common data to modify are the details of a local venue. For example, if you pull up your favorite watering hole and notice errors in the listed opening hours, you can correct those details—even if you don’t own or work for that particular business.

On your phone, whether Android or iOS, you start by opening the Google Maps app. Then navigate to a particular place, such as a restaurant or gas station, and tap on the location’s card to view all of its details like its official website and the times it opens and closes each day. If you notice any inaccurate or missing information, tap the Suggest an edit button anywhere on the card—it appears in a few places. For example, to change those opening hours, tap them and then hit Suggest an edit. Or if the place description seems vague, tap it and then Suggest changes.

Editing something through the Google Maps website follows a similar process. When you bring up a location’s full details, you’ll find the same Suggest an edit button. However, the web interface has a few small differences, and lacks that Suggest changes button for the place description.

In addition to the details of local businesses, you might want to modify the map itself by adding a road or fixing an inaccurate street name. This follows the same process whether you’re using your computer or your phone. Find the incorrect part of the map, click or long-press on it, and then open the Google Maps menu by hitting the three horizontal lines on the top left. When you choose Send feedback, a new menu will pop up, allowing you to add a place or fix an error. For example, if you’ve highlighted a particular street, that pop-up menu will have a Suggest an edit to… option. This opens a dialog that lets you change the road name or mark it as incorrectly drawn, closed, or private. You can also flag one-way streets and roads that don’t actually exist.

Google Maps
Adding a place to Google Maps on the web. David Nield

When you enter an edit, it won’t show up immediately. Because anyone can input a suggestion, the Google Maps staff must review the change before implementing it to prevent inaccuracies. So try to provide supporting evidence. For example, you have the option to upload a photo, so if you suggest an edit to the opening times, you can include a picture of a sign with the correct times listed. You’ll also see an Add a note button, which lets you back up your claims with more details or a link to relevant information.

Although you can suggest place names on the map, you follow a slightly different process to add your own business or venue. First, head to Google’s My Business webpage. Then click the Manage Now button to fill out the relevant details. You can add photos of your place, menus for a restaurant, and more information to help you reel in customers. Again, you’ll have to help out the Google Maps team by providing some sort of verification. In this case, that usually takes the form of having Google mail a postcard to your claimed address. This card has a verification code you can use to prove your identity.

Apple Maps

Apple Maps
Editing Apple Maps on iOS. David Nield

Apple Maps offers the same sort of editing features that Google Maps does: You can add missing information, report inaccuracies, and claim your own business listing. And you can perform these tasks on both an iPhone and a Mac computer.

On iOS, open the app and tap the Info button (it looks like an “i” in a circle) in the top left corner. This gives you the option to Add a Place or Report an Issue. On your computer, use the Apple Maps app for macOS: Open the Maps menu and choose Report an Issue, which opens another menu that includes the Add a Place option, as well as other choices like editing road and place names and transport information, or reporting a different issue.

If you pick Add a Place, Apple Maps will ask what you want to add: a business, landmark, or street. In each case, you drag a pin across the map to specify where the new object should land, and then you answer questions about it. For example, if you add a business, you can upload photos, mention a category, and list opening hours. In the case of a new street, all you need to specify is the map location and the postal address. Either way, you should provide supporting evidence by filling out the Information box before you submit your change.

Opt for Report an Issue, and you can fix wrong labels, inaccurate transit timetables, and so on. You might suggest changes to places or road names, or in the case of public transit, to the labels for stations and lines. Again, you can add photos and notes to back up your suggestion. For example, a snap of a road sign will support your bid to change the name of a road.

As with Google Maps, you can make edits to existing businesses and venues, and the process works the same way on both iOS and macOS. Tap or click a place name, followed by its card, to bring up information about it. Then scroll down to the bottom, where you’ll see a Report an Issue button. This lets you suggest changes to a place’s location or to details like its telephone numbers and opening hours. You can also indicate when a venue has completely shut down by selecting Place Closed. If you want to report another error that these options don’t cover, hit Other Issue.

Apple Maps
Editing in Apple Maps on macOS. David Nield

Like Google, Apple will review your edits before implementing them. So supporting evidence is crucial. When you add a place, fill out that Information box with background details and even a link to relevant information. If you want to change a road name, include a snap of the correct street sign. This will ensure that Apple takes your suggestions seriously.

Finally, you should consider adding your own business to the Apple Maps database. Head to the Apple Maps Connect web portal and sign in with your Apple ID. Then enter the name and location of the business you want to (quite literally) put on the map. You can enter details like the contact number, opening hours, and so on, and provide a category for the type of business you own. To verify, Apple will send an automated phone call to the number you’ve provided, proving that the connection exists. Then staff members will review your submission, and they should approve (or reject) your listing within a week.