How To: Navigate Indoor Mall & Airport Floorplans in Apple Maps for iOS 11

Navigate Indoor Mall & Airport Floorplans in Apple Maps for iOS 11

Apple has some great features aimed at making the lives of globetrotters and mall aficionados significantly easier — by incorporating detailed floor plans for airports and shopping centers in its native Maps app with the launch of iOS 11.

Maps' new ability to provide a detailed layout of malls and airports right on your iPhone will do away with the need to rely on publicly posted maps and directories which are often confusing and hard to locate. And you won't need to download third-party apps for malls and airports anymore just to find your way around.

Another advantage of these new Maps features is that the text displayed will be in your native language. So if your English is not very good, you'll see the layout and information in whatever default language you have enabled on your iPhone. This removes the hassle of navigating inside these bustling English-preferred complexes.

The best part about the new enhancements for Maps in iOS 11 is that they are instantly accessible, so you can view details for malls and airports without having to be physically in those locations. This advantage gives you the ability to plan your trips well in advance and streamline your adventures as never before.s

Bringing Up Indoor Maps

Floor plans for both malls and airports for iOS 11 are comprehensive and let you view directories down to individual levels. A button that enables you to browse through different floors within a building will appear after zooming in on the mall or airport you're viewing within Maps.

Zooming in on Mineta San José International Airport.

Viewing Place Cards for Businesses

On the indoor map, each store or eatery that you select will yield a "place card" detailing what your target business has to offer. Tapping on the Apple Store within a mall's floor plan, for instance, will bring up a place card which contains all pertinent information, from category and average ratings, all the way to contact options and store hours.

Checking out Apple's place card in the Westfield Valley Fair.

Browsing & Searching the Directory

You'll also be able to search for any points of interest located inside malls and terminals from with the directory. Just tap on "Browse [Place]" at the bottom of the screen, when in the indoor map, then tap on a specific category such as "Shoes" or "Food" to zero in on the stores or points of interest that match your needs and budget.

Hunting for some good shoe stores at the mall.

Finding Security Checkpoints & Gates in Airports

In addition to listing which airlines are situated within each terminal, the new floor plan feature for airports has the added benefit of laying out the exact locations of important spots such as security checkpoints and gates to help the wary traveler anticipate and prepare in advance to reduce any delays and frustrations.

Looking for the right gate in Terminal A.

What Malls Are Available?

Detailed floor plans for shopping malls will first be available in select major cities around the world. Apple, who has partnered with Mappedin, a company that provides mapping solutions to property owners and operators, plans to eventually cover hundreds of locations on a monthly basis as this feature gathers steam, but it's slowly rolling out right now during the iOS 11 beta. The cities so far include:

  • Boston, MA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Hong Kong, China
  • London, UK
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • New York, NY
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • San Jose, CA
  • Tokyo, Japan
  • Washington, DC.

What Airports Are Available?

Building layouts for airports in Maps will cover 30 major airline transit hubs in iOS 11. As in the mall floor plans, more airports will be included every month after iOS 11's full release. Here are the airports initially covered by this new feature:

  • Amsterdam (AMS)
  • Baltimore (BWI)
  • Berlin (TXL, SXF)
  • Chicago (ORD, MDW)
  • Denver (DEN)
  • Detroit (DTW)
  • Doha (DOH)
  • Dubai (DXB)
  • Geneva (GVA)
  • Hong Kong (HKG)
  • Houston (HOU, IAH)
  • Indianapolis (IND)
  • Jacksonville (JAX)
  • Las Vegas (LAS)
  • London (LHR, LGW)
  • Los Angeles (LAX)
  • Miami (MIA)
  • Minneapolis (MSP)
  • Nashville (BNA)
  • New York (JFK, LGA)
  • Newark (EWR)
  • Oakland (OAK)
  • Philidelphia (PHL)
  • Pittsburgh (PIT)
  • Portland (PDX)
  • San Diego (SAN)
  • San Jose (SJC)
  • Seattle (SJC)
  • Toronto (YYZ)
  • Vancouver (YVR)

Stay Tuned for More Improvements

Maps' ability to generate detailed floor plans for shopping malls and airports is very limited in scope right now, since iOS 11 is only in beta. So far, only a few locations, such as Mineta San José International Airport and Westfield Valley Fair — both located in San Jose, California — are covered in varying degrees of detail.

We'll be sure to post an update as these new features receive the fine tuning they need, so stay tuned. As always, feel free to leave a comment down below and share your opinions about the long-overdue enhancements on Apple Maps.

Cover image and screenshots by Amboy Manalo/Gadget Hacks

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