A small but useful feature is returning to Google Maps on Android

Google Maps on Android is seeing a classic feature return with its latest update. Two years after it was removed in an effort to clean up the app's interface, Google has confirmed that it's bringing back the compass. Yes indeed, it seems that Android users are finally getting back the tool that has been the cornerstone of navigation for centuries.

Google announced the return of the compass in a support post discovered by Android Police. Apparently, Google was driven to reinstate the compass after receiving "overwhelming" feedback in support of the tool following its removal in 2019. "You wanted it and we heard you! We're excited to announce the return of the compass on Maps for Android," Google Maps' community manager Shweta wrote in that support post. "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!"

The compass will appear on the side of the screen whenever you use Maps to navigate to a destination. The widget, for those who don't remember, is fairly plain in its implementation, only offering a red arrow that continuously points north even as your relative position rotates. Still, that's enough to satisfy the functionality requirements of a compass, so in this case, its simplicity doesn't really matter all that much.

Google says that the compass is returning to the Android version of Maps in version 10.62, which is rolling out globally. Interestingly enough, the compass never disappeared from the iOS version of Google Maps, so iPhone users can carry on using it as they always have.

Just a couple of days ago, Google announced a slew of new features headed to Google Maps in 2021, with many of those features based in AI. By the end of the year, Maps will be able to do things like show air quality and weather forecasts at your destination, offer Live View at some indoor locations like malls and transit stations, and even offer eco-friendly routes that use less fuel. You can read more about those incoming features in our round up of Google's announcement, but otherwise, Android users should install version 10.62 to get their compass back.