Apple Maps got off to a rocky start, but it has been vastly improved over recent years to become one of the best navigation apps available for iOS. It provides routes not only for car journeys but also walks and even public transport, point out interesting places on the way and most importantly, highlights out traffic and road closures.

But while Apple Maps is feature packed, it can be confusing to use – especially for those that haven’t used the app before. Here, we explain how to use Apple Maps on an iPhone.

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Find destinations using Smart Suggestions

When it comes to finding locations in Apple Maps, it couldn’t be easier – especially after the Apple Maps redesign in iOS 9 that introduced a new way to easily search for points of interest within your vicinity.

If you want to browse for points of interest in your area (restaurants, cinemas, shopping centres, etc) then follow these steps:

  1. In the Maps app, tap the Search bar. On iPhone, the search menu will slide up and cover most of the screen.
  2. Beneath the search bar, there should be a number of Smart Suggestions broken down by category: Food & Drinks, Shopping, Fun and Travel. These may vary somewhat depending on what’s around you, as we’ve seen other categories including Health and Transportation appear from time-to-time. Tap on the category to get a list of popular options, or to be more specific, tap the sub-categories that appear (tapping Shopping will offer Shopping Centres, Supermarkets and corner shops, for example).
  3. Browse the list of options, and tap your preferred location to display its location in Apple Maps.
  4. From here, you can swipe up from the bottom of the display to access additional information including user photos, reviews and star ratings. If it’s a place you’d like to go, simply tap ‘Directions’ and it’ll plot several routes to choose from.
  5. You can also change the mode of transportation (drive, walk, transport and ride) by tapping the relevant icon at the bottom of the display. Choose the route you’d like to use and tap ‘Go’ to start the turn-by-turn navigation.

Get directions to a specific location

If you already know the address of your destination, the process is slightly different:

  1. In the Maps app, tap the Search bar and enter the name/address of the location you’d like directions to.
  2. If there’s only a single search result, it’ll automatically be displayed on the map, however if there are multiple matching locations, you’ll have to tap the correct location from a list of search results that appear on-screen.
  3. From here, you can swipe up on the card at the bottom of the display to view more information about your selected location, and tap ‘Directions’ to plot a route from your current location.
  4. You can change the mode of transport by selecting either Drive, Walk, Transport or Ride, and once you’re ready, select your preferred route. Once you’ve decided, tap ‘Go’ to initiate turn-by-turn navigation.

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View traffic and roadworks

Another handy feature of Apple Maps is the ability to view not only traffic but other issues like road closures and even roadworks using data provided by TomTom and other services. While Apple Maps will display road closures and roadworks by default, users must access Apple Maps settings to toggle on live traffic information.  

  1. In the Maps app, tap the i icon in the top-right of the display to access Apple Maps Settings.
  2. Tap the Map tab (or Satellite if you prefer the satellite view) if it isn’t already selected, and make sure Traffic is toggled on.
  3. Tap the X to close the Settings menu and look at the roads in your local area. Yellow roads indicate that there’s moderate traffic, while red roads indicate that traffic is at an almost standstill, and it should be avoided if possible.

Set up detours on your journey

We’ve all been there: you’re on a journey and somebody needs to go to the toilet. What are you to do? While it’s okay if you know the area, it can quickly become confusing and even frustrating when trying to use a satnav at the same time.

However, Apple Maps has a built-in feature that allows you to quickly set up detours along your journey, allowing you to quickly and easily find a route to the closest petrol station or services, depending on what you require.

  1. When on a journey, tap the bar at the bottom of the Maps screen that displays the ETA, distance and other useful information.
  2. Tapping the bar should reveal journey options, including Smart Suggestions to search for points of interest like restaurants and petrol stations. Tap your preferred search, browse for the petrol station/services/restaurant you’d like to go to and tap ‘Go’ to reroute.
  3. Once you’ve refuelled, Apple Maps should automatically continue to give you directions to your original destination. If not, tap the ‘Resume route to XX’ banner at the top of the display in Apple Maps to continue with your journey.

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Get public transport directions

Introduced in iOS 9 was the ability to search for directions using public transport, allowing users to find the quickest routes using public transportation without having to leave the Apple Maps app.

The attention to detail is impressive too, as Apple Maps will even show you where the entrances to larger train stations (like Kings Cross St. Pancras) are to further streamline your journey.

While it’s limited to specific cities in other countries, the whole of the UK is supported, meaning you can get directions from London to Leeds using public transport – a feature not offered by many competitors. You can see a full list of supported cities here:

So, how do you get directions via public transport? It’s easier than you might think.

  1. Search for your desired destination in Apple Maps, and tap ‘Directions’.
  2. Select the Transport tab at the bottom of the screen and choose your preferred route. Apple will suggest multiple routes using different forms of transport, and you can avoid a type of public transport by unchecking it in the Transport Options menu found at the bottom of the search results.
  3. Once you’ve found your preferred route, tap ‘Go’ to start your journey.

Use Siri with Maps

Apple’s virtual assistant Siri has come on leaps and bounds since its release alongside the iPhone 4s. Siri can now pay people via PayPal, send messages via WhatsApp and even hail an Uber without the user having to touch the smartphone. This functionality extends to Apple Maps, as Siri can help you search for locations, plot routes and more.

Simply launch Siri by holding the Home button or saying, “Hey Siri” (if you’ve got a supported device) and say something like “Directions to London Bridge” or “Take me to the closest Chinese restaurant”.

If Siri presents more than one option, tap your preferred option and tap Start to begin navigation. Don’t worry if you can’t access your phone (like when driving) as Siri will automatically start the navigation after five seconds.

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