Maps’ new fea­tures

Ap­ple’s Maps is fi­nally catch­ing up with Google Maps

iPad&iPhone user - - IPAD & IPHONE USER -

Ap­ple’s na­tive Maps app cur­rently sits in a folder called Junk on the sec­ond page of my home screen, where I ban­ished it as soon as it launched close to three years ago. Mainly be­cause it lacked public trans­port di­rec­tions. That’s how I get around the city, and while Maps points you to third-party apps for un­der­ground in­for­ma­tion, I need an allin-one so­lu­tion. Google Maps tells me how to get where I’m go­ing by foot, in a car, or on the train, so it’s my go-to when­ever I leave my flat.

But iOS 9 makes Ap­ple Maps a strong con­tender with the ad­di­tion of mass transit di­rec­tions that,

so far, are just as ac­cu­rate as Google’s. Plus, it has a range of other im­prove­ments, like bet­ter com­mu­ni­ca­tion with your Mac and some nice dis­cov­ery fea­tures.

Public trans­port

I mapped my way to sev­eral fa­mil­iar des­ti­na­tions to gauge whether the trains and routes Maps sug­gested were the quick­est and most ef­fi­cient ways to end up at my des­ti­na­tion, and they were. Bonus time-sav­ing fea­ture: Ap­ple Maps shows you where sub­way en­trances are in fly­over mode, which is in­cred­i­bly use­ful. Lon­don St. Pan­cras has sev­eral en­trances, but if you don’t know where the clos­est one is, you could end up walk­ing sev­eral blocks out of the way. Now en­trances are help­fully marked ‘En­trances’ in Maps.

Nearby

Ap­ple is tak­ing a page from Yelp with a new fea­ture called Nearby, which shows you shops, restau­rants, places to drink, and other types of busi­nesses around you or near the des­ti­na­tion you en­ter in the Maps search bar.

Be­ing able to see busi­nesses in the area is help­ful, but get­ting to Nearby isn’t ex­actly in­tu­itive. You can’t tap into it when you’re get­ting di­rec­tions, for in­stance. Af­ter you en­ter an ad­dress in the search bar and the map drops its pin on the des­ti­na­tion, tap on the ad­dress in the search bar again – that’s how you get to Nearby. A pop-up menu lets you get more spe­cific. Tap­ping on ‘Food’ lets you see all food nearby, or you can drill down to su­per­mar­ket,

fast food, cafes, bak­eries, dessert shops, and so on. I ap­pre­ci­ate the Yelp in­te­gra­tion, it means I can see if that res­tau­rant I’ve never heard of is well-re­viewed or one to avoid.

Hand­off with El Cap­i­tan

Hand­off be­tween your Mac run­ning OS X El Cap­i­tan and your iPhone run­ning iOS 9 is nearly iden­ti­cal to the ex­pe­ri­ence be­tween Yosemite and iOS 8. Just dou­ble-tap the Home but­ton on your iPhone or iPad and look for the Maps pop-up on the bot­tom of the screen to grab the Maps info stored on your Mac.

If you’re on your Mac, look for a pop-up in the bot­tom-left cor­ner in your Dock to launch Maps in­for­ma­tion shared from your iOS de­vice. It’s a pretty seam­less ex­pe­ri­ence, and works with all of Maps’s fea­tures. Beam transit di­rec­tions, Nearby in­for­ma­tion, or what­ever you’d like.

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