Get out of the way, Vision Pro headset, this seemingly small Apple Maps feature is the main event at WWDC 2023 for me.
After Apple rolled out its redesigned map years ago in the United States, I made the switch from Google Maps. I really do prefer Apple’s take on maps and think that, not only are the directions just as good, but that the experience is much more beautiful. However, there was one thing that required me to keep Google Maps around: offline downloads.
As someone who hikes, camps, and backpacks, I’m commonly in areas that have little to no cellular coverage. If I happen to be parked in an area without coverage, Apple Maps would crap out on me and make it impossible to get directions home (or wherever else I wanted to go). Thankfully, Google Maps supports offline downloads, so I would be able to still get directions — even if I was completely without cellular coverage.
However, I’ve never wanted to keep Google Maps around — especially for privacy reasons. I trust Apple with my location data far more than I trust Google, and I was waiting desperately for Apple to add the feature to its own maps app. Thankfully, that day is finally here with iOS 17. At WWDC, the company announced that it was finally adding offline maps to Apple Maps.
Maps adds offline maps, so users can download a specific area and access turn-by-turn navigation, see their estimated time of arrival, find places in Maps, and more while offline. Maps also makes it easier than ever to discover thousands of trails in parks across the United States, and supports electric vehicle drivers with real-time charging availability information.
I am so grateful that this feature is finally coming to Apple Maps, especially as someone who loves being in the great outdoors. I’m finally able to leave Google Maps for good! Be gone Google, hello Apple Maps…again.