The 7 Best Apple Maps Features in iOS 15

How to unlock better navigation and detail

The Apple Maps app will gain a number of improvements after upgrading an iPhone or iPod touch to iOS 15. These new Apple Map features add more functionality and usability to Apple’s navigation service while still allowing long-time users to access the traditional features they know and love for driving, searching, and getting directions.

Here are seven of the top new features iOS 15 brings to Apple Maps.

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iOS 15 Augmented Reality (AR) Walking Directions

iOS 15 Apple Maps AR directions.


What We Like
  • A fun alternative way to navigate cities.

  • Useful when complex maps are hard to understand.

What We Don't Like
  • AR functionality is limited to a small selection of locations at launch.

One of the coolest new features coming to Apple Maps with iOS 15 is the addition of Augmented Reality (AR) functionality. This new feature lets users scan a location with their iPhone’s camera and then see in real-time where they should go.

This new Apple Maps feature works very similar to how AR works in games like Pokemon Go and will likely be useful for those who find traditional maps hard to understand. Apple Maps’ AR functionality will initially be available for London, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco Bay Area, and Washington, DC with more locations expected to be added in the future.

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Weather Warnings in Routes in iOS 15’s Apple Maps

iOS 15 Apple Maps hazard warnings


What We Like
  • Routes will now be more efficient.

  • The focus on safety in addition to speed is welcome.

What We Don't Like
  • Very little to dislike here. Who doesn’t like more safety and convenience?

With the rollout of iOS 15, Apple Maps will be incorporating weather and hazard warnings into route suggestions. This will let drivers choose the fastest and safest route by using the latest up-to-date information to avoid delays.

One example of the new Apple Maps is flash flood warnings, though other hazards are also expected to be implemented in the improved route suggestion experience.

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iOS 15’s New Interactive Apple Maps Globe

iOS 15 Apple Maps new 3D globe of the Earth feature


What We Like
  • A feature Google Earth users have enjoyed for a while.

  • A more visual way to search for locations.

What We Don't Like
  • You’ll need at least an iPhone XR to view this Apple Maps feature.

People have been enjoying Google Earth for many years now, and Apple has finally decided to add a similar experience to Apple Maps with iOS 15. This new interactive globe of the Earth can be used to visually search for locations and you’ll be able to pinch and zoom to explore anywhere on the planet in a matter of seconds.

iPhone models released before the iPhone XR won’t support this new feature, however, but anyone with a more modern iPhone should be able to use Apple Maps’ new 3D globe with ease.

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More Detailed Maps of Cities in iOS 15

Apple Maps iOS 15 Night Time Mode


What We Like
  • Maps will be more informative than before.

  • Night Time Mode is a brilliant idea that looks great.

What We Don't Like
  • Only a small selection of locations included at launch.

A lot more information is expected to come to Apple Maps with the iOS 15 update. A new Night Time Mode will allow anyone to view an area at night which will make for a more organic user experience when using the app after sunset.

Names of landmarks will now also be more prominent on maps with a small picture of what they look like in real life along with new 3D models for the more iconic locations. These enhancements will be available for US, UK, Ireland, Canada, Spain, and Portugal locations when the update rolls out with Italy and Australia expected to join them later in 2021.

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New iOS 15 Apple Maps Place Cards

Apple Maps place cards on iOS 14
What We Like
  • More information on locations is always welcome.

  • More important information will be shown first.

What We Don't Like
  • Few details available on this so far.

Apple will be revamping its place cards feature with the new iOS 15 Apple Maps update. Place cards are the screens that pop up when you tap on a location or business on an Apple Map map. They display information such as opening hours, contact information, photos of the location, and user reviews.

While no footage of the new place cards has been released yet (the above image is from iOS 14,) Apple has promised the new look will position more important information at the top of each card. This will be a relief to those who get frustrated when trying to find basic information while being bombarded with every detail about a business all at once. Location guides will also be getting a greater focus.

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iOS 15 Improves Apple Maps’ Public Transport Info

iOS 15 Apple Maps transit routes on iPhone and Apple Watch.


What We Like
  • The in-app alerts for nearby stops will be a game-changer.

  • Lots more information on routes is appreciated.

  • Improved Apple Watch support.

What We Don't Like
  • Users who like a minimal app experience may find the extra info and alerts overwhelming.

Apple Maps’ transit experience will be getting a bit of a revamp with iOS 15. The UI will now work better with one hand, more details will be listed, and key routes will now be prominently featured.

Favorite routes will now be able to be pinned to the top of the transit screen and in-app notifications will alert users to when they need to get off a bus or train due to improved real-time GPS tracking. Transit information will also now be viewable on a connected Apple Watch.

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More Detailed Driving Directions for Apple Maps Users

Apple Maps driving experience in iOS 15.


What We Like
  • The addition of bus lanes and crosswalks will helps avoid surprises while driving.

  • 3D overpasses make maps much easier to interpret.

What We Don't Like
  • Not much to dislike here.

One of the biggest changes coming to Apple Maps with iOS 15 is the new experience for drivers. Bus and taxi lanes will now be included on maps while driving as will crosswalks and other minor details been missing up until now.

Greater depth will also be added to the driving maps with the use of 3D modeling which will make it easier to interpret directions when faced with roads that go over or under the one being driven on.

How Do I Use Apple Maps?

To use Apple Maps, you need to open the official Apple Maps app on your iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, or Mac computer. Once open, you can use Apple Maps for a variety of tasks such as basic map navigation and even turn-by-turn directions when driving.

The Apple Maps app comes pre-installed on all Apple devices.

What Are the Features of Apple Maps?

The Apple Maps app has a large number of features for navigation, location discovery, and exploration. Here are some of Apple Map’s primary features.

  • Turn-by-turn directions for drivers
  • Public transport routes and times
  • Indoor building maps
  • Augmented reality enhancements
  • Favorite locations
  • Highway, parking, and toll information
  • Map printing options

Is Apple Maps Good for Navigation?

Apple Maps may have had a rough start when it launched back in 2012 but it’s since received numerous updates which have improved its accuracy and the amount of location information the service has access to.

Many people use Apple Maps for navigation assistance on a daily basis with very little trouble though it is worth mentioning it isn’t the only map app out there. Lots of people prefer Google Maps to Apple Maps. Some lesser-known services such as DuckDuck Go Maps also have a lot of supporters, too

  • How do I drop a pin in Apple Maps?

    To drop a pin in Apple Maps, open Apple Maps on your iOS device and tap and hold the location you want to pin, then select Edit Location. You'll see a satellite image. If you want, drag the image to set a more precise location, then tap Done to set your pin.

  • How do I clear my Apple Maps history?

    To delete your Apple Maps location history on an iPhone or iPad, launch Apple Maps and swipe up to reveal more of the information panel. Under Recents, swipe left and tap Delete to delete an individual location. Tap See All to see your complete location history by the sections This Week, This Month, and Older. Swipe left and tap Delete to remove an individual location or tap Clear to remove all the locations in a section.

  • How do I make Apple Maps my default maps app on an iPhone?

    Apple Maps is automatically installed on every iOS device and is the default mapping app, which means that if you tap an address in a text message or email, Apple Maps will open automatically to guide you. However, in Safari on an iOS device, if you've chosen Google as your default search engine, Google Maps will open automatically when you tap an address on a website. If you've chosen another search engine, such as Yahoo or Bing, Apple Maps will open by default. To adjust your Safari search engine default, go to Settings > Safari > Search Engine and choose your search engine.

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