Were you one of the countless iPhone users that felt like hitting your head against a wall after updating your phone to iOS6 and subsequently coming face-to-face with the horror that was/is Apple Maps? While the upgrade was welcome in other aspects of the phone, the map feature was universally declared a mapocalypse by the entire tech community. A handful of major landmarks went missing; public transportation stops were nowhere to be found; and if you wanted navigation help on a city’s subway or bus system, forget about it. Even Apple CEO Tim Cook acknowledged the major blunder, so you know it was bad.
But now iOS users can rejoice. As of Wednesday evening, Google Maps made its way back onto iPhones via a new, free app. The minute I saw the story posted on my Facebook newsfeed, I reached for my phone and pulled up the App Store. It was as though the clouds parted and angels sang to me. (Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but I was pretty darn excited.) What are the new features you can expect to see (and love)? Hint: these maps far supersede their former iOS iteration.
- Public Transportation: It’s back! See where bus, train, and subway stops can be found, plus figure out which to take in order to get from A to B fastest. Even better, if you’re unsatisfied with the wait time for, say, taking the bus somewhere, it’s easy to quickly switch to another mode of transportation, including walking, to see which will get you there fastest. Not only that, but when you enable the Public Transit feature on the menu, it maps out the city’s entire subway system. (Caveat: you will have to zoom in to see which specific train it is, at least in NYC; it just maps out various color paths of the lines.)
- Traffic: Driving? Turn on the traffic feature and make sure the road you want to take isn’t going at a snail’s pace.
- Navigation: Turn-by-turn navigation is back and, if you close out of the app, the phone will continue to speak out the directions to you, until you tell it to stop.
- Street View: Let’s say you’re searching for a particular place, but want the added bonus of knowing what the place looks like. (Look, I’ve lived in NYC for 6 years now, and I still find myself completely bypassing places—sometimes multiple times…don’t judge me—I’ve mapped for various reasons, so trust, it can help.) Just perform a search and select your destination. As always, Google will pin it on the map; but at the bottom, you’ll see the pin’s label…just swipe up, tap street view, and you can see exactly what it, and its surroundings, look like.
I’m sure I’ve barely scratched the surface, but regardless, it’s a far superior product than Apple Maps (Sorry Apple! I still love you!), and I’m glad to have it back. Oh, and one final “warning”: Apple Maps is still the default map application, and there’s no way to change that, so if you’re browsing the Web, or any other app for that matter, and there’s a “Map It” option, it will automatically load using Apple Maps. To get around it, just copy and paste the address into Google Maps.
Download the app here: Google Maps for iOS
Photo Courtesy of Apple
Joshua Pramis is the social media editor and resident tech aficionado at Travel + Leisure. Follow him on Twitter: @joshuapramis