The cycling support on Apple Maps is not the best. Certainly not compared to Google Maps, which offers a much higher number bike-friendly routes — and some support for e-bikes. That might be about to change, though, thanks to some references found in the Apple Maps code.
The new code lines were discovered by journalist and iOS app developer Steve Moser, who spotted a bunch of lines referencing the phrase “E-Bike” as well as a feature that optimizes routes and ETAs for people using them.
Apple is working on e-bike routing in Apple Maps. "Optimize routes and ETAs for powered bicycles. pic.twitter.com/0oBdf5CCBHJune 22, 2022
Unfortunately, these features are not currently available in Apple Maps, suggesting there’s still work to be done. How much work isn’t clear, and for all we know this could be the very early stages of testing — and we may not be able to try it out for ourselves for some time.
It’s not clear how much difference there would be between routes for e-bikes and route for regular non-powered bicycles. We suspect that e-bike directions might be willing to send users up steeper inclines, and avoid sending them down trails and unpaved paths. But we won’t know for sure until the feature launches — if it does.
But this is the kind of feature we’d hope to see sooner rather than later, as it could prove very useful as consumers try and save money wherever possible. It’s one thing to know how to find cheap gas, and another to actually pay for it when the national average is currently $4.86 a gallon.
If you can’t afford to buy an electric car, or supply chain issues mean a suitable model isn't available, then cycling is a viable alternative. E-bikes help ease the physical burden of getting around on two wheels — without adding too many dollars to the price tag.
Google Maps doesn’t appear to specifically optimize routes for e-bikes compared to ordinary bikes. However, the app does offer features that make e-bike (and e-scooter) rental much easier in key cities across the world. That includes guiding you to rental spots, offering price and range estimates, alongside information on journey time and your ETA.
Here’s hoping that Apple Maps can start offering similar sorts of features, alongside whatever other e-bike support might be on the way in the not-too-distant future. At the very least I hope the company can expand its cycling support, because following a car-friendly route isn’t always a particularly good idea; it's less safe than a dedicated cycle route, likely more congested and more polluted.
In the meantime, if you’re interested in picking up an electric bike to reduce your transportation costs (and have an excuse to avoid the gym) we have some recommendations. Be sure to check out our list of the best electric bikes, if you want the best of the best, or the best budget electric bikes if you want to pick up something that costs less than $1,500.
Next up: The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max just got tipped for a serious price hike. And this is the most underrated iOS 16 feature.
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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.