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Hands on with iOS 6: Maps

Serenity Caldwell | Sept. 20, 2012
When Apple first unveiled the iPhone in 2007, the company partnered with Google to deliver maps and directions for its users. Five years later, Apple is for the first time providing its own mapping solution.

As you enter either a start or endpoint, however, suggestions for what youre typing replace those recent routesstart to type CVS, for instance, and Maps suggests "CVS" and "CVS Pharmacy", as well as any prominent location with the letters "CVS" in it. Tap a suggestion to start finding a route to that location.

Ask for directions from any place thats not your current location (via either driving or walkingnot transit), and you get an overview of your route (or different possible routes), along with a Start button that lets you see the directions and swipe through them one at a time.

If you want, you can also pop back to the overview and view the directions as a list (using a List button that pops up in the lower left corner). To return to the main Maps interface, tap the Clear button (if you havent pressed the Start button yet) or the End button (if you have already started the route).

In addition to providing directions silently, Maps now provides voice-directed turn-by-turn routes when you plot a driving route from your current location. (Unfortunately, this feature only works on an iPhone 4S or an iPad 2 or later; if you have an older device, you can get directions as described above.)

If you get driving directions from the current location, Maps automatic turn-by-turn mode engages: You see the same Overview screen as you do when viewing walking or driving directions that dont start at your current location, but once you press Start, Maps begins talking you through the directions one at a time.

You can retreat from this view to an overview of the route (by tapping Overview) or even exit the app, but Maps will continue to guide you through the route until you press the End button or arrive at your destination. If you exit the app, and a turn is coming up, the status bar on top of your iPhone indicates this with a shorthand version of the turn.

In turn-by-turn mode, you can view your map in either portrait or landscape, and zoom slightly in or out on the turn. The top bar, in addition to providing buttons to end the route or see an overview, lists your estimated time of arrival, how many minutes it will take to get there, and how many miles you are from your destination.

Along the bottom of the app are buttons for 3D mode and for viewing a list of all the turns in this route. Unfortunately, unlike with walking directions, you cant tap on a turn in the list to see it ahead of time.

If you go off course, Maps recalculates your route and puts you back on track as soon as possible. If it detects a lot of traffic on your route, Maps may also prompt you to switch to a different, less-traveled path; you dont have to reroute in this situation unless you want to, however. If youre on a particularly long car trip, you can even ask Siri to show you the nearest gas stations or restaurants along your route.


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