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Turn on this feature now to ensure Google Maps for Android will function in tunnels

Driving inside a tunnel is often an issue for those using a GPS app to help them navigate because of the inability of the signals to penetrate the tunnel. You might think that this doesn’t matter with a tunnel since there isn’t much to do inside one except follow the road. But there are other reasons as Google points out in a support page. For example, staying connected in a tunnel allows location services to work, increases driver safety, and gives the driver better visibility into what’s happening inside the tunnel in real-time.

Google-owned Waze connects with Bluetooth beacons inside tunnels in certain cities such as “New York City, Chicago, Paris, Rio, Brussels, Oslo, Sydney, Boston, Mexico City, and more.” 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 Bluetooth beacons according to SmartDroid (via 9to5 Google).

The feature is disabled by default, but we’re going to tell you how to enable it right now. First, to be clear, this feature is available on Android phones only and cannot be used with Google Maps for iOS. So from your Android phone open Google Maps. Tap the round profile icon on the right of the search bar on the top of the phone. That opens a menu and you should then tap on Settings > Navigation settings scroll down to the Driving options heading look for Bluetooth tunnel beacons and toggle it on.

To use the tunnel Bluetooth beacons on Google Maps for Android, you must enable the feature

The listing says, “Scan for Bluetooth tunnel beacons to improve location accuracy in tunnels.” Once you enable the feature, you will have to allow Google Maps to “find, connect to, and determine the relative position of nearby devices.” It appears that this feature has been available for some Android users since last October but has recently been found on more Android devices.

Follow the directions in the previous paragraph to enable the feature and if you see the listing titled “Bluetooth tunnel beacons,” it means that you do have the feature available for Google Maps. It does show up on my Pixel 6 Pro running Android 14 QPR2 Beta 3.

If you do drive through tunnels often and use an Android phone, you might want to take a second to enable this feature.

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