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I have my iPhone's language set to English in Settings, but I live in a non-English speaking country. As such, when using turn-by-turn navigation, street names are pronounced as though they were English words, and are barely recognizable.

Is there a way to get Google Maps' navigation feature to speak my language without changing the systemwide language setting?

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  • an alternative answer for you but the waze app have such setting – Chmouel Boudjnah Nov 27 '15 at 7:55
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Since iOS 13, you can now change each application's default language, and that is possible for Google Maps too, by going to Settings > Google Maps > Preferred Language (at the very bottom of that screen). You should be able to select one from the multiple languages you have installed on the iPhone (by default, of course, Google Maps will use the iPhone's 'standard' language).

If you don't see any other language there (besides the 'standard' one, i.e. the one the iPhone is displaying everywhere), then you can add more languages by going to Settings > General > Language & Region > Other Languages... and add there all the languages you wish; then go back to Settings > Google Maps > Preferred Language and the new language(s) should be available for selection!

Source: https://ios.gadgethacks.com/how-to/change-languages-per-app-basis-your-iphone-ios-13-0208770/ (last accessed 2019-11-22)

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  • Note: in my case (using Portuguese), very few messages are actually spoken out loud (e.g. 'turn left'), I just get the 'attention sound'; but this seems to be a restriction of Google Maps on the iPhone app, since even changing the main iPhone language to Portuguese (and not only the language for Google Maps) will not make a difference. Still, some messages are clearly spoken in Portuguese and not in English... I'm a bit baffled at that. – Gwyneth Llewelyn Dec 12 '19 at 23:50
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Unfortunately, Google Maps doesn't have Language controls built into the app. It cues off of the settings in Settings.app > General > International.

The only way to have Google Maps speak a different language is to change the actual settings in Settings.app > General > International > Language.

Of course, this doesn't take long to change, and it may be desirable to change it before using turn-by-turn for perhaps a long trip.

It would be a good idea to request that feature from Google by opening the Google Maps app and tapping the person icon in the upper right corner. Then tap "Send Feedback" and compose a request to Google.

Minor Update

You can now set voice search language in the app. There is a mic icon on the right in the search box that you can tap to basically dictate the location. While that doesn't apply to your question, perhaps that would be a first, mildly helpful step.

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You can now set the voice language without changing the system language.

enter image description here

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  • 2
    That screenshot is from Android and I don't have that option on Google Maps on my iPhone? – grg Sep 10 '17 at 11:30
  • Indeed, the OP asked for how to do that change in iOS, not Android... – Gwyneth Llewelyn Nov 22 '19 at 18:16
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I changed the phone language settings and it is the easiest fix, and will help you improve your Spanish, or you could try a different GPS app

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  • Note that the OP clearly stated that they do not wish to change the iPhone's language, neither change to a different app; also, 'helping improve your Spanish' only applies if a) the OP is navigating in a Spanish-speaking country; or b) they're actually interested in improving their Spanish — which they certainly did not specify in the question... – Gwyneth Llewelyn Nov 22 '19 at 18:19

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