Apple Maps has had a rough lifecycle. After completely dropping the ball during its inception, Apple has been slowly improving its usability and feature set. After six and a half years, users still prefer third-party apps in iOS 12 over Apple Maps, with Google Maps stealing a large 67% market share. But iOS 13 for iPhone may finally close the gap.
To be fair, Google Maps dominates other maps apps because 75% of mobile users use Android, and iOS only has 23% of the pot. Plus, Apple does not have an Apple Maps in the Play Store, while Google has its app available in the iOS App Store. Still, overall, in terms of features, quality, and accuracy, Apple Maps still has a lot of catching up to do, and iOS 13 can help with that.
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Apple is introducing new features and changes to Maps that provide solutions to the many complaints iPhone users have had. Apple Maps is more detailed, more accurate, and has new features that can rival and even surpass Google Maps' equivalents. Finally, it may be time to uninstall Google Maps and stick with the stock navigation app.
While Maps has improved a lot in terms of finding and navigating to locations, it's struggled to provide the same detail and accuracy that its competition gives. In iOS 13, this is no longer the case.
Apple fitted hundreds of planes and cars with custom sensors and lidar and covered over 4 million miles to update the Maps app. The result is more detailed and up-to-date maps. Buildings, roads, and other 3D structures are better represented in Maps, helping you find exactly what you're looking for more easily. And with more up-to-date maps, turn-by-turn directions are even better.
The update will be released by the end of 2019 in the US and to a select amount of countries in 2020.
When you view information for a specific place, the interface for the place card screen is easier to use and more helpful. Data is updated dynamically, including events at a location such as training sessions, movie theater times, and other activities, so the information displayed is most relevant to the current day.
If you use public transportation, the new Maps app will house transit schedules for buses, subways, and trains, along with arrival times, stops in the line, and connections you can make. It also includes live updates for outages, cancellations, and other occurrences that will make your trip across town a hassle.
On the launch page, you can now add a button for the places you frequently travel to such as home and work, which will appear in the "Favorites" section. Based on your current location, a number, either in miles or minutes, will appear to indicate your current distance from the place. Selecting any of these locations will bring to the location details page which not only shows you the fastest route to the place but lets you start navigation right away.
Collections are custom groupings of your favorite locations. Here, you can organize your favorites into a folder which you can share with friends or use to revisit a location easily.
When viewing a location in Maps, in the upper right below the information and current location buttons, there is a new binoculars icon (seen above). Selecting this launches the new Look Around feature. You can view a street view of the area, that tap into full-screen to view the area in 3D with 360-degree views.
Look Around gives you high-definition images of the exact location. Instead of seeing a 3D render, you can see a series of 3D images which you can scroll through. And if you want to continue to explore in this view, you can even select roads around you to "fast travel" the area, while retaining the same high-quality images. You can also select labels to learn more information about the places around you such as directions and ratings. The new mode works in both portrait and landscape.
Other navigation apps provide an easy way to share with friends, family, coworkers, and whoever else, your estimated time of arrival. Now, iOS 13 gives that ability natively in the Maps app. The ETA that's given will even update automatically if delays occur, like traffic accidents.
When Maps gives you a wrong turn or sends you to the wrong place, it's not easy to send a report to Apple in order to fix it for everyone else in the future. But the Maps app in iOS 13 makes it easier with an improved feedback form for submitting incorrect addresses, business locations, operating hours, and more.
When you're traveling via air, Maps has you covered. It now includes tons of information pertaining to your flight, including terminal locations, gate locations, departure times, and so on.
When Siri gives you directions during navigation, it can make things a little bit more complicated to understand than necessary. Something like "in 1,000 feet, turn left" doesn't mean anything to someone who can't judge distances like that, so Siri has changed to give a more natural experience. So that 1,000-feet line will end up something like "turn left at the next traffic light." Apple also states that Maps "guides you closer to your end-point destination, which is especially important for large venues."
While this one applies to developers from an app-building perspective, iPhone users will reap the benefits. Developers can utilize vector overlays for things like heat maps, weather, or buildings on top of the map, as well as filtering options for points of interest and camera zoom and pan limits. Also, it supports Dark Mode!
I haven't personally experienced hardship when navigating turns, and that's partly because of Apple's Junction View feature. It visually helps you understand what lane you need to be during upcoming junctions, such as when a highway splits off into two, turns on busy streets, and when entering an elevated road. While this feature was already available in the US, it is available in China in iOS 13.