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iOS 15’s incredible new Apple Maps feature you need to see

Published Sep 27th, 2021 9:40PM EDT
iOS 15 Apple Maps
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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It might sound crazy, but one of the more intriguing iOS 15 features worth checking out is Apple Maps. Now I’ll be the first to admit that Apple Maps still isn’t as feature-rich as Google Maps. Still, Apple Maps in iOS 15 certainly fills in some of the glaring gaps. As a small example, Apple Maps now lets users fetch directions with specified arrival and departure times. Even more exciting is a new Apple Maps feature that lets users explore major cities in 3D.

Apple released iOS 15 a few days ago and, as a whole, it’s certainly an update worth downloading. Even though iOS 15’s killer feature — SharePlay — is delayed a bit, the update still boasts several compelling features. And while there have been some scattered complaints about iOS 15 impacting battery life, that is likely attributable to indexing in the background that comes along with any new system update. That said, Spotify users have noticed some significant battery drain, so that’s definitely worth keeping in mind.

Apple Maps’ new 3D feature

Not to be confused with Apple Maps’ flyover feature, the new 3D feature in iOS 15 provides users with a more immersive way to explore major cities. One of the more eye-catching features is a nighttime mode with a “moonlit glow.” You can see what that looks like below:

Image source: Apple

“With this update, we are pushing Maps even further, providing more ways for users to discover the natural beauty of the world and explore cities through a new 3D view,” Apple executive Eddy Cue said in a press release.

The more detailed maps in iOS 15 provide new road labels, elevation details, and “hundreds of custom-designed landmarks Coit Tower in San Francisco, Dodger Stadium in LA, the Statue of Liberty in NYC, and the Royal Albert Hall in London.”

Apple promises that more custom landmarks for Apple Maps are on the way.

Currently, the full range of new Apple Maps features is only available in a few cities. For now, iOS 15 users in London, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco can take advantage of the new 3D feature. Later in the year, the feature will be available in Philadelphia, San Diego, and Washington, D.C. Support in additional cities, including Toronto, will roll out in 2022.

Improved Navigation

One new Apple Maps feature all iOS 15 users can enjoy is improved navigation. The new Apple Maps offers up enhanced road details with information about turn lanes, medians, bus lanes, and crosswalks. Further, Apple Maps in iOS 15 offers more details regarding complex interchanges. If you haven’t yet downloaded iOS 15, this is what the new navigation pane looks like:

Image source: Apple

All told, iOS 15 is a solid update all around. Of course, if you’re in no rush to check out any particular feature, it never hurts to wait for the iOS 15.1 release so that Apple can iron out some looming bugs and performance issues.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.