It’s the compass, a tool that was originally available in Google Maps but which eventually got removed by the parent company back in 2019. The whole thing, however, happened only on Android, as iPhone users continued to be provided with a compass.
Google claimed it decided to pull the compass from Google Maps on Android because it wanted to clean the navigation screen, though such an explanation makes little sense given the feature has continued to be offered on the iPhone.
In an announcement this week, Google announced that the compass is coming back to Android following feedback from the community.
“You wanted it and we heard you! 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!” a Google community manager announced in a post.
The compass wouldn’t just return in Google Maps when you launch the app on your Android device, as it requires you to first start the navigation to a specific location before showing up. So in theory, all you need to do is to begin the navigation in Google Maps on Android and then the compass should be there once again.
You need to be running at least Google Maps version 10.62 to get back the compass, and of course, those with an iPhone can continue running the app just like before because no change is happening on their devices.