Apple Maps just got an upgrade that will make your life easier

Apple maps logo on iPhone screen
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Apple Maps’ main purpose might be navigating from place to place, but that’s not it's only objective. It’s also crucial as a discovery tool, helping you find out what businesses and locations are available in a particular area. And those features are getting some useful upgrades.

Apple has just launched a free tool called Apple Business Connect, designed to allow businesses to connect with customers more directly. That includes controlling how their information is presented across Apple’s suite of apps, and direct management of the businesses pages inside Apple Maps.

That naturally offers a number of advantages to the people actually using Apple Maps. Not only does this mean information is likely to be kept more up to date, it means extra features can be added to improve your overall Apple Maps experience. 

Apple specifically mentioned a feature called “Showcase,” which helps businesses present users with various offers and incentives; be it discounts, seasonal products, or ways to highlight specific services — all without leaving the business card in Apple Maps.

The example shown on Apple’s blog features Walmart, and a service that lets you shop by sending a text message. I know I’ve never heard of this being done, and I doubt I’m alone, so that kind of promotion has already had an intended effect.

apple maps new business tools on show for walmart, walgreens and ace spa

(Image credit: Apple)

Other changes include the option to let users place orders or make reservations. Some locations already let you do this, but it relies on integration with third-party services like Foursquare or OpenTable. This isn’t changing from the sounds of things, and Apple’s blog post mentions integration with Instacart, and OpenTable.

This is also the way Google Maps operates, because you can’t add everything to a navigation app no matter how much you might want to. At least putting the control in the hands of businesses means these options should become more widely available. Having Apple Maps take you to the right app or webpage is only going to make your life easier.

Apple won’t be selling ad units in Maps, according to CNBC, which means this change won’t see you bombarded with more commercials. We can all agree this is a good thing, because there are way too many ads in digital services as it is.

It’s a small change in the grand scheme of things, but it’s one more thing that helps close the gap between Apple Maps and Google Maps — and makes life easier for you in the process. Apple Business Connect has already launched globally, and Showcase is currently exclusive to the U.S. That means you should start seeing these options appear for businesses near you. A global launch of the feature is planned, but that won’t kick off for a few months.

Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.