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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.

While its in turn-by-turn mode, Maps displays directions even when your phone is locked; this way, if your phone accidentally shuts off, you dont have to fiddle with buttons and passcodes to see your next turn.

Once you get to your destination, Maps automatically disengages and returns to its default search mode.

Search for something

Maybe you dont know quite where you want to go. You can use Maps search bar much as you did in older versions of iOS: Tap the bar to type in your query. As with directions, before you type anything, you see a list of recent queries; as you begin typing, you see suggestions for your search.

Once you tap the Search button, pins drop down on the map near your location, indicating the results for your query. Tap a pin to view its name; if the place has a Yelp review, you see a star rating, along with the number of reviews it has. Tap the blue arrow to learn more about the business, including its hours, how much it costs, contact information and address, directions, reviews, and photos. Return to the map to view a different pin.

You may also notice that when you tap a pin, a green car icon appears on the left side of the businesss name. This is the quickest way to get turn-by-turn driving directions for a place; just tap it and Maps calculates the fastest route to the location. Sadly, this only works for turn-by-turn car navigation, not walking or transit information. (For a walking or transit route, you need to tap the places blue arrow, scroll down under the Info tab, and tap Directions To Here.)

3D mode and traffic

There are two other new features worth noting:

3D Mode: When youre inside a city, you can enable 3D mode to view an angled version of the street, hybrid, or satellite map. Some citiesincluding San Francisco, Boston, New York, London, and Sydneyeven have 3D vector satellite renderings of their buildings, allowing you to virtually fly past the Sydney Opera House or wing your way down the Golden Gate Bridge. Apple plans to expand this 3D modeling to other cities as time allows.

Traffic and Alerts: To top off the new Maps app, Apple has introduced a new way to track traffic patterns, accidents, construction, and alerts. Using crowdsourced data, the company aims to provide better (and more up-to-date) information about traffic patterns, as well as ways to route you out of problem areas.

If theres an accident or construction, Maps alerts you to this with an icon on the map. Tap it, and then tap the blue arrow to learn more about whats going on in that area, along with when Apple last updated the information.

 

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