For the past few years, Apple has been reworking Maps, and as of now, the redesigned experience is complete in the United States. It’s rolling out to users starting Thursday and includes more accurate maps that were created fully in-house by Apple.
The Maps app should now bring you to the right location with clear navigation along the way, and that includes knowing which lane to be in on a major highway. (That’s been a nice experience for navigating the Garden State Parkway, to say the least.)
Redesigned Maps isn’t just about roads, though: There are mapped parks (including Central Park in New York) and indoor maps of malls and airports from coast to coast. It allows you to bring the mapping experience with you, whether it’s on your laptop as you’re plotting the day, on your iPhone 11, 11 Pro or 11 Pro Max, or on your wrist with an Apple Watch.
Apple has had cars driving around the country with special cameras and sensors to create this new map experience. It should get Apple Maps closer to competitors like Google Maps and Waze. Don’t expect real-time traffic updates sourced from a community, but you will get road closures via stop signs and know where potholes might be via construction worker stickers on the map.
Look Around and FlyOver
While you might think of using Maps as a navigational tool, it has modes, like Look Around, that will let you get up close to the location, competing with Google Maps’ Street View. I find it pretty helpful for planning walking directions — it lets you pick out landmarks so you’ll know you’re going the right way — or for just getting the lay of the land. Plus, with FlyOver, dare I say that Apple has made mapping and looking at cities fun again? It’s similar to Google Earth, but it gives you a unique tour of cities around the US or even specific landmarks.
The Indoor Mapping function can help you find your way around a mall, so you can find a coffee spot or the restrooms. It can also help you find your gate at the airport. Since it can pull data from your calendar, and that data stays on the device, it can give you an accurate time to leave for your flight and help you get there.
Lastly, if you like to keep people in the know, the Share ETA function is great for trips. If you’re driving back to college or hitting the road this spring, you can easily share your ETA with friends or family through Messages. It will even alert them if it changes.
As with all things Apple, privacy is at the center here, and it’s on-device for these neat features. There’s no sign-in required to use Maps, and you can decide what locations get shared with it.
All in all, it’s a good update, and hopefully just the beginning.
The new and redesigned Maps is now complete for all of the United States, and Apple will start going around the globe next. In the coming months, you’ll see it populate for cities in Europe and elsewhere.
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