This Hidden Apple Maps Feature Lets You Virtually Visit Cities Around the World

You can virtually visit cities around the world, from New York to Tokyo, with a click of a button.

While lockdowns remain in place around the world and international travel is largely off-limits — if not impossible — we’re all looking for a way to escape, a way to break out of the mundane day-to-day routine and get a taste of the travel we all miss so much.

Believe it or not, there’s a little-known feature hiding within the very phone you’re likely holding right now that allows you to do just that. Best of all, a similar real-life experience would cost thousands of dollars, if it’s even available.

That’s because while using the Flyover tool on Apple Maps, which Apple calls “a bird’s-eye view of your favorite cities,” you can virtually fly through more than 350 cities around the world, swooping past their major landmarks and seeing the destination in a way that’s pretty much impossible in real life. You’ll feel like a bird or masked superhero, or like you’re buzzing around in a private helicopter.

Try it now: Type in the name of one of the cities equipped with this virtual tour, click the “Flyover” button, and then press “Start City Tour,” which will steer you around major landmarks, or follow wherever your curiosity leads by navigating the city in 3D with your own fingers. You can zoom, pan, tilt, and rotate your phone to tour the sights from above, thanks to high-res photorealistic VR technology.

A similar feature, called Look Around, offers an interactive 3D preview with 360-degree views of 17 cities around the world, including Dublin, Oahu, and Tokyo.

It may not be quite the same as walking (or flying) through a city, complete with all its sounds and smells, but the experience is pretty immersive. It’ll awaken the part of your brain that loves to explore, recalling cherished memories of wandering around unfamiliar locales and making new discoveries along the way.

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