With the new Google Maps integrating Google Earth and 3D into the web browser I'm experiencing some performance problems on my PC when I feel the need to look something up while processing power is diverted to tasks like compiling. Is there a way to do away with the Earth view and return to 2D satellite view? It seemed like a few weeks ago this was possible but nowadays I end up with Earth view all the time.

  • Hovering over the map icon in the top-right corner should reveal a satellite view icon next to it - click that. Or does that not show for you?!
    – MrWhite
    Commented Sep 24, 2013 at 16:36
  • Sorry, I'm talking about the preview of the "new" Google Maps, which shows the "Earth" icon on bottom-left corner. Sadly, no amount of hovering helps to avoid having to click "Earth" for satellite images :-(
    – LostBoy
    Commented Sep 24, 2013 at 21:01
  • Ah OK sorry, not aware of the "new" Google Maps! Have Google gone and "improved" something again? ...one step forward; two steps back?!
    – MrWhite
    Commented Sep 24, 2013 at 22:43
  • It's actually a nice update ... but kind of performance heavy in my opinion. Using it in parallel with a Linux VM and other stuff is a little much for my notebook.
    – LostBoy
    Commented Sep 25, 2013 at 20:04
  • You can't get back to it. I suggest using the 2D map. Commented Dec 5, 2013 at 1:27

4 Answers 4


The Lite mode of the new Google Maps does not include the 3D Earth view or other 3D functionality. You can see if you are in lite mode by looking for the "Lite mode" indicator in the bottom right corner of the map.

Lite mode supported browsers and operating systems

The new Google Maps may default to Lite mode for older browsers and operating systems, as well as on browsers that do not support WebGL and on systems where WebGL is known to be unstable. Lite mode supported browses include Safari 6+, IE 10, or IE 11. Lite mode will also work for Windows XP, (except for Firefox) or Mac OSX lower than 10.8.3.


If you are having problems running 3D mode, and have a supported browser and operating system as listed above, there may be other issues preventing you from running in 3D mode. There are a few things you can try to resolve the issue:

  • Restart your browser
  • Ensure you have applied all system updates, particularly video card driver updates.

If the new Google Maps seems slow, using Lite mode can often help improve performance:

Note: if you are having trouble with one of the links, you may need to edit the URL to align with your regular Google Maps domain (e.g. change .com to .co.uk)

  • I've come across this recently, however my browser (Chrome) does not remember the setting although I tried the regional domain and I am logged in with my Google account. Any knowledge if this is achievable?
    – LostBoy
    Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 10:44

Click on question mark-icon on bottom-right and then on return to Classical Google Maps.

  • This does not really answer the question. This is a question about how Google has integrated the 3D Google Earth view into the default maps.google.com interface. This is not about switching back. Commented Dec 5, 2013 at 1:26
  • 1
    This was the question: Is there a way to do away with the Earth view and return to 2D satellite view?
    – user424821
    Commented Dec 5, 2013 at 1:42

If you're in edit mode (i.e. signed in to Google), in the lower-right corner of the white box that covers half the map look for a tiny almost invisible down arrow. Click it and several optional "styles" will pop up. One of them is good old sat view.

If you're not signed in just looking a map, just click the "sat" icon in the lower left corner. Unfortunately, this icon is not available in edit mode.


Click on Earth (bottom left corner), it did it for me

  • Yes, except that's what the OP specifically doesn't want. That's the new Google Earth view. The OP is looking to go back to the old-style satellite view.
    – ale
    Commented Nov 17, 2014 at 13:21

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