Windows Maps updated for Mobile Insiders with Bluetooth audio navigation option

Windows Maps is getting a pretty nifty update for Windows 10 Mobile Insiders frustrated with audio performance while navigating. Announced by Dave_MSFT on Reddit, this update includes a new option for playing voice navigation over Bluetooth when available.

Prior to this update, Maps would play navigation audio over the phone audio channel in a car. This could result in lower quality audio than expected. The option to transmit navigation over Bluetooth should make for a clearer audio experience.

If you're a Windows Insider, you should be able to grab this update now. You'll want to make sure you're on version 5.1706.* of the Maps. Once updated, you can find the Bluetooth option under the "Play voice navigation" section of the turn-by-turn navigation options in the Setting menu.

Thanks to thaman04 for the tip!

Download Maps from the Windows Store (opens in new tab)

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

  • Finally they added this option. I still see issues when i connect with my Car's Bluetooth sometimes it's a hit sometimes a miss.
  • I agree mine does the same.
  • Absolutely brilliant, looking forward to testing on my drive home... Long overdue (hoping options for dimming/muting music are included)
    Anyone who say that Windows on Mobile devices is dead, or even Windows Mobile for a fact, is dead IS DEAF, DUMB, AND MOST OF ALL BLIND.
  • Feature that was present in older versions but taken away in the so called "upgrade" to the latest version now hailed as new, yep its alive and well...... /s
  • Doesn't matter. The fact that it is back solidifies EVERYTHING my original post conveys.. The fact that NOTHING is dead.
  • I can't tell if you're trolling or actually believe what you're posting.
  • Oh yeah? Where are the new apps? Why Viber stopped at 6.6.1 version while in the other two OS it reached 6.9? All the apps are either non existent or outdated...
  • Viber is not created by microsoft... He is talking about ms.
  • Viber isn't part of the OS, or MS.... I'm saying Windows on Phone is Alive... I never said it was in the best shape....
    It's a FACT that WM is alive. If it were dead your comment wouldn't even make sense... That's like asking "where's George? He's late for the meeting",, knowing he got hit by a car and killed..... So, are you saying your comment doesn't make sense, or WM is Alive?
  • Nah, dude.  It's dead.  Well and truly.
  • Explain How
  • forget this app and use Sygic GPS Navigation instead.
  • I have the latest build and I still don't have this update. Am I the only one?
  • Question - my biggest gripe with the Maps app when it comes to audio is that it does not PAUSE whatever your listening to when giving the latest navigation prompts. It's 'OK' when I'm just listening to music, but maddening when I'm listening to a podcast. Does this update fix that now?
  • I only use Groove music, and with it, it pauses and resume fine. I don't recall ever having such issue, but again, I use Groove.
  • That may be the case. I listen to my podcasts through Grover Pro and it's ridiculous at times. I believe it did it as well through the official Podcasts app also. Grover Pro places podcasts in the Groove app, so i might have to start using that route - but then it defeats the use of the 'live tiles' for Grover since I don't believe that'll reduce the number of 'haven't listened to casts' on the tile. I'll figure it out and still 'suffer' a bit, lol.
  • C'mon, we're used to a litttle sufferring by now :D
  • It depends on the car. Skoda Infotainment just is to slow to react, i only hear second half. Some like ".... (silence) left on Exit 3" The "turn right and then turn left ..." i miss. Works fine in my Mini, but on skoda it was a mess. Of cause, Skodas fault.
  • It pauses and resumes for me while listening using groove, audible, and podcasts.
  • That's strange. I have the opposite gripe. For me, Maps pauses what I'm listenting to and then restarts it when the turn-by-turn instruction is done. That's fine except when what I was listening to is paused, in which case, Maps will restart it even though I don't want it to. So I have to use that old "clear playlist" app before I use Maps for navigation to avoid this issue. I hope this update fixes this issue, although the "clear playlist" app works fine.
  • I find that it pauses it when I'm connected to Bluetooth, but doesn't pause it when not on Bluetooth. Strange.
  • Mine pauses while listening to Groove.  I actually find that annoying as hell. I wish there was an option to lower the volume of the music and speak the directions over the music instead.
  • My biggest gripe is the BT voice audio cuts out after 5 to 10 minutes in my vehicles and others I've used it in. HERE Maps never had this problem. I also lose GPS signal sometimes after opening the app and the only fix is rebooting the phone, always fun while driving. Voice nav is also much too quiet on some devices even with music cranked and perfect on others. HERE Maps never had volume issues on these same devices. Groove, Spotify and Deezer work flawlessly. BT audio is all that's used.
  • I never bothered to use Windows Maps for on the road except for planning purposes only. For driving I use Sygic GPS Navigation which performs as good as Nokia HERE maps did back in the days.
  • This☝ is seriously annoying...and I listen to music on Groove (ones that I've uploaded to one drive) and it doesn't pause it
  • No, that's still an issue
  • Wait. I have a 2017 Chevy Equinox. The Map navigation voice is always played through the Bluetooth audio. I actually hate it because when there is a voice, the voice starts to speak while my 950xl tries to activate Bluetooth connection; at the time when the Bluetooth channel connection got through, the first few words of the voice already got skipped. The first thing I did when I got this update 4 days ago was to change the setting so that the voice is played through the phone audio. BTW, my 2017 Chevy Equinox's Bluetooth works flawlessly with my 950xl; but my other car, 2015 Subaru Forrester, has trouble. The Bluetooth connection often gets dropped during audio play. I blame this on the car.  
  • Yeah, using my idol 4s it works fine in my '16 f150 using sync. I however don't get any voice prompts in my wife's '16 Subaru outback. I also blame their crappy proprietary system.
  • I kinda find the skipping is not the problem but it seems like the starting volume is really low and steadiliy increases.  I noticed on long insructions this increasing volume phenomena
  • I use my VXI Xpressway II noise-cancelling Bluetooth headset, rather than the phone speaker or car's BT  connection, and have been since Windows Phone 8.1. It works great. The benefits for me are: 1) I can always hear the nav audio instructions regardless of the conversation going on in the car. 2) The conversations going on in the car are not interrupted by the nav audio instructions. 3) If a text comes in, with the BT headset and its noise-cancelling microphone, Cortana allows me to handle all texts completely hands-free, never take my eyes off the road or take my hand off the wheel. It's good that Microsoft is making these improvements to Maps, but I for one am are completely happy with my Lumia 950 on Production builds combined with my VXI Xpressway II noise cancelling BT headset. I always put on the headset every time Iget into the car, and from that point I can handle all of it (navigation, texting, search requests, voice calls) safely and efficiently, never taking my eyes off the road or a hand off the wheel.
  • I don't know, but it always worked for me via the car's bluetooth system. I don't have to do any additional settings on my Lumia 640.
  • Same with me.
  • I was confused about this article, so I did some experimentation at lunch to the restaurant and back to work. After reading the Reddit thread, it appears that the author of this article either misunderstood this new feature announcement or did a poor job of explaining it.  I'm not using Insider builds, so I can't see the settings reference, but they are not adding "a new option for playing voice navigation over Bluetooth when available."  That is already possible. They are instead adding an option to output voice navigation "On this device," meaning the phone's built-in loudspeaker. As Dave_MSFT describes in one of his replies, "if you select the new "On this device" option, music will continue to play over Bluetooth." With the current implementation, voice navigation always plays through a connected Bluetooth device and will either mute or pause media playback while a navigational direction is read.   Below is a description of the current behavior with my car's Bluetooth stereo. By default, the navigation voice plays through the stereo only when my input is set to Bluetooth. If I'm playing audio/video media, the stereo displays "AV Stream." When voice navigation is being read, the display switches to the device name of my connected phone and the music/video pauses. After the voice navigation is finished, the media resumes and the display switches back to "AV Stream." If I'm not playing media, the stereo display always shows the name of my connected phone and reads voice navigation as I approach turns, merges, etc. In the Windows Bluetooth settings, there is an option that can be enabled that reads, "For all Bluetooth audio devices, use an alternate audio connection for Cortana and other Speech. If this option is selected and I'm listening to media via Bluetooth, the music is not paused. It is muted while the media player continues to play the muted media in the background. The stereo switches from "AV Stream" to "Dialing" as it would when I make a phone call. Once the Bluetooth connection is "dialed," it reads the voice navigation. After the voice is finished, the stereo displays "Call ended" followed by "AV Stream" as the media in the background is unmuted. With this option, I can have the stereo input set to anything - Auxiliary, Bluetooth, radio tuner, CD, or USB. Whatever input is playing will always be interrupted by the "Dialing" process to read a navigation direction or incoming text message. With the new option for "On this device" the car stereo will never be interrupted, but you will lose audio quality versus playing through the car speakers and the phone's loudspeakers might get drowned out by the car stereo and road noise (depending on your car).
  • I'm still waiting for navigating directions in background (with screen off), a feature that once was...
  • I just posted about this, here and in the forums. The strange thing is that sometimes i get navigation and voice prompts to work in the background either with screen off or while focused on another app. Most of the time though, it asks me if i would like to resume navigation when maps loses focus. I have no idea why its intermittent.
  • Ditto very annoying...i even set app seeing under battery to always allow in background, instead of managed by Windows and still have the issue on and off it's bizarre.
  • Oh HANG ON. I miss understood. This option does nothing that this artice says. All it allows you to do, is allow you to pass voice navigation on the phone speaker or Bluetooth... but Bluetooth still send it as normal. So the problem where you can't hear Coratana voice unless you set it to pass as phone calls, still stands. It won't pass the navigation instruction through the audio channel.
  • Yea this would make more sense!  Because I have an older car with bluetooth and maps can't activate it to pass the map instructions.  It only works for phone calls.  This is great for when I drive the older car! (though will be getting rid of it sometime this year)
  • Lame...
  • Does anyone know why maps using navigation will sometimes run in the background but other times it won't? I posted in forums but of course no one had answered.
  • I guess this refers to the changes mentioned in this article? The new option is to acually let the maps app use the phone speaker even if bluetooth is connected.  Sending voice commands through the phone channel can be activated in the bluetooth settings and has nothing to do with the Maps app. This can be useful if e.g. an older car only supports the phone protocol but not audio streaming. This will result in a worse quality as it is normal with the old bluetooth phone protocol (no HD Voice). Very confusing article I have to say...
  • Provided that this updated actually allows the navigation audio to play through the *phone* speaker, I think this is the best option.  The current method of playing the navigation audio over the phonecall channel of the car's bluetooth does not work well and is very disruptive.  It would be great to allow music to continue playing from the phone to the car's bluetooth or taking a call over bluetooth, while letting the phone itself play the audio through its speakerphone.  I think I requested this very feature about a year ago.  I'm hopeful that this is actually the way it works. But, yes, the article was very confusing.  
  • I have found that in my Mazda if i charge the connection in car setting to audio only, from phone and audio, then maps plays instructions with audio channel fine, if phone and audio option is enabled (default) ok the car, and settings in Windows Bluetooth are default (not checked to use alternate method) it still plays the instructions over phone channel, it's super annoying...
  • You understand what a lot of people are missing; older cars that do have Bluetooth but only for phone call/text read support and not audio streaming have been able to get navigation instructions over the audio system precisely because of how it works right now. Hopefully that does not break with (and I'm hoping I'm reading the article correctly) by allowing for Bluetooth audio streaming priority for navigation announcements.
  • MSFT's bluetooth implementation for music and navigation is very wonky!  Half the time my phone won't connect to my car stereo.  This seems to get worse with every new "update" to my L950XL.  Heck, my 920 used to just connect and when I selected BT audio on my car stereo, Zune/Xbox Music used to just play and never disconnect.  Now I have to go into Groove and start music shuffle. Half the time directions don't come over the car speakers in navigation mode and when it does, the music doesn't restart. And don't get me started on responding to texts.  It takes Cortana 30 seconds to figure out what "Read it" and "Reply" mean when I'm trying to deal with those. I really hope that MSFT doesn't have a strategy to enter the driverless car market!  After the Sync debacle and their very wonky integration with standard BT car audio, I really don't think that they could pull anything off.  Oh and it would be a consumer focused product and we all know that MSFT doesn't get the consumer.
  • Glad to hear I'm not the only one experiencing ALL of the issues you just mentioned. Frustrating!
  • I've also noticed some weirdness with my vehicle's bluetooth connection.  I would have to launch groove and start the music everytime.  Back then it would automatically connect and resume playing.
  • Windows Maps are the worst I almost purchased Sygic, but I use use my work phone instead. It seems to take you to every side street for no reason at all half the time.
  • I actually have the opposite issue, Windows Maps directions (on my 950 XL) is so much better than Google Drive (on my Android)... Google keeps taking me to side streets and stuff... so many unncessary turns, and doesn't even know many of the newer streets here whereas Windows Maps does.  I guess it's based on country too (canada here).
  • Haha! Now they just need to update their navigation engine to route around traffic. Waiting since 2013, hailed by Pino Bonetti as the next update in HERE Drive on HERE Conversations forum. Almost 4 years now.
  • I'm just glad they finally fixed the "No GPS Signal" problem a few updates ago!
  • It's weird. My Bluetooth always calls Cortana at 555-555-5555 to get navigation audio through. Then disconnects. The process pretty much happens at every intersection. Super annoying.
  • I find it odd too. This happens for me in the Toyota Rav 4. Except all Cortana commands (I believe) go through 555-555-5555 for me. Sorry, I accidentally reported your comment. The "up" button is very close to the "report" button, which automatically reports the comment instead of prompting if you meant to do this or not.
  • Interesting
  • Finally approaching feature parity with Ovi Maps for Symbian. Seriously, I can't think why they wouldn't have this since day one.
  • Nice! This is a feature that has been asked for for so long on windows mobile I'm surprised it passed  the feedback hub. It's taken by my knowledge over two years now, but happy it's here while it lasts. Not sure how much longer we can enjoy it on enjoy it current windows mobile phone devices. Fingers crossed a very very long time to come.
  • I hated how the map app switches my cars audio over the "phone service" rather than over Bluetooth, which was one of many reasons I prefer Navigon. But not being able to set a default map app when I ask Cortana for directions forces me to use maps. I'll definitely try this.
  • Just tested out going to a new doctors office. Works great!!!!
  • Yeah what ever 😒
  • ? Why the long face?
  • Cause it is too little too late
  • So they should just give up and stop development of their apps? Even if I agreed with you it's still nice and a very useful feature.
  • Nope don't give up. NEVER GIVE UP AND DO NOTHING. I just wished Microsoft would stop playing around with us. Removing features and then putting them back in later
  • This is a great option to have over Bluetooth is more sketchy than it's ever been (especially when using Maps which seems to hog more resources than it used to) so I'm not sure I want the audio to come out of the Bluetooth device if it has a medium-high chance of breaking up like Groove does. It's not constant, but I see that issue more than ever, especially if you need to actually interact with the app, or if the app needs to reroute (either randomly, or genuinely because you missed a turn)
  • we've had this on android and ios for ages :)) as usual Microsoft is late
  • I don't even have a car, lol! But I can say with the two latest updates street numbers are gone and zoom buttons are so tiny that I can't distinguish them from the map background...
  • Auto Zoom deleted, transit stop notification added (used to be public transport), voice volume added.
  • About ******* time. This was literally my biggest gripe with the platform. Now they just need to fix the exact same issue with Cortana.
  • Offline search won't work!!! What is the point of "offline" download maps?!