One of the nice improvements that will come to iPhone users with iOS 15 will be the improvements in Apple Maps. For many, Apple Maps has been a laggard in the map app world, with Google Maps being the preferred choice even by the most diehard of Apple fans. iOS 15 and the improvements to Apple Maps may cause a few to try it and switch away from Google. Visually, the improvements in Maps in iOS 15 are stunning but it goes beyond just looks. There is significantly improved navigation – especially in cities – that come with the update.
First things first, let’s talk about the visuals. If you compare Apple Maps in iOS 15 to those of iOS 14, it really is night and day in some cases. The details and richness of the visuals in the new Apple Maps is fantastic. Let me give you a couple of comparison for your consideration.
Here is a view of the Apple Park campus from my iPhone 12 Pro Max running iOS 14.7.1 (my daily driver). All I did was do a search for “Apple Park” in Maps and tapped on the result. No additional zooming in or out.
Now take a look at the same result in Apple Maps in iOS 15. This one is from my iPhone 11 Pro (my beta testing phone) and again, no zooming in or out.
The differences are quite remarkable!
As you explore the world in the new Apple Maps, you will see greatly improved visual cues such as trees or bodies of water in parks all around. While some of these were in Maps in iOS 14, they were not to the level of detail in the new version.
Next, let’s talk about navigation. The whole point of a Maps application is to find a place and get to it, right? To help with this, Apple has created a new 3D city driving experience that has new road details which will help drivers see important details like turn lanes, bike lanes, crosswalks, and medias. Further, for those who use public transit, you can now more easily find nearby stations and pin them. Maps will automatically follow the transit route and notify you of when it is time to disembark (and yes, it works with Apple Watch too).
Perhaps the coolest new feature is the new Augmented Reality walking maps. If you find yourself in a city and not exactly sure where you need to go to get to your destination, the new AR feature allows you to scan your surroundings and Maps will sort out which direction you need to go. Take a look at this short video from Apple highlighting how it works.
While the focus with the release of iOS 15 has been around SharePlay (a feature that won’t ship day one) and the new Focus feature, the improvements to Apple Maps shouldn’t be overlooked. This is an excellent update that brings a pretty good maps app up to a solid option to consider.