Google may have been the dominant mapping service for over a decade at this point, that hasn’t stopped Apple from trying to plant its own flag and give the search giant a run for its money.
While it’s felt like Apple has been playing catch-up since the highly publicized launch blunders of the Maps app, things have been changing. The company has been rolling out a major overhaul to improve the mapping experience – and those changes just hit iOS 14 in the UK and Ireland.
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Like the upgrades that rolled out in the U.S. earlier this year, the new version completely overhauls your experience to include a lot more information than loyal Apple Maps fans will be used to. And rather than just adding more on top of the old version, Apple has rebuilt everything from the ground up.
What that means is Apple gets to boast about how the new Apple Maps is faster, offers more accurate navigation, and “comprehensive views of roads, buildings, parks, airports, malls, and more.” We assume they mean shopping centres, rather than malls, meaning someone must have forgotten to localise the press release.
Other notable features making their debut on this side of the Atlantic includes ‘Look Around’, which lets you view an area of the map from street level – just like Google’s Street View. Unfortunately, it’s only available in London, Edinburgh, and Dublin at the moment, though Apple promises it will expand in the future.
We also have Guides, to help you find places to visit, better navigational support for cyclists, real-time public transport information, speed camera warnings, indoor maps of select locations like airports and shopping centers, and more. There’s a lot to get through, so the best way to check it out is to load up Apple Maps for yourself.
Finally, Apple is emphasizing the privacy aspect of Apple Maps, as it has been doing in plenty of other areas. The promise is that none of the information Maps uses is connected to your Apple ID, personalized features are all kept on the device, and data that is collected is anonymized with continually resetting random identifiers. Plus Apple promises that its servers will obscure your exact location on its servers and doesn’t keep a log of where you’ve been.