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Will Live Activities for Google Maps be ready in time for the iPhone 15?

Published Aug 29th, 2023 7:01PM EDT
Uber Live Activities feature
Image: Uber

The iPhone 14 Pro featured a new notch design that Apple calls the Dynamic Island. Apple “weaponized” the new design with software, turning the Dynamic Island into the most discussed iPhone feature of the year. No other companies could match it. Now, the Dynamic Island is coming to every iPhone 15 model this year, including the cheaper ones.

As a result, Live Activities will work on more iPhones, not just Pro devices. And Google Maps might finally bring support for Live Activities to the iPhone. Google announced support for this unique iOS feature in February without actually rolling out the feature. New findings indicate that Google Maps Live Activities might be rolling out soon.

What Google announced for Google Maps in February was support for glanceable directions. The feature that Google started rolling out to Maps users a few months later. Here’s how Google described it back in February:

With glanceable directions, you can track your journey right from your route overview or lock screen. You’ll see updated ETAs and where to make your next turn — information that was previously only visible by unlocking your phone, opening the app and using comprehensive navigation mode. And if you decide to take another path, we’ll update your trip automatically. These glanceable directions start rolling out globally on Android and iOS in the coming months and will also be compatible with Live Activities on iOS 16.1.

That’s where Google dropped the Live Activities mention for Google Maps. Fast-forward to late August, MacRumors reports that the latest Google Maps version for iOS contains hidden code that references Live Activities.

Google Maps will support glanceable directions on Android and iPhone.
Google Maps supports glanceable directions on Android and iPhone. Image source: Google

It’s unclear when the Google Maps update will roll out and whether Google will have it out in time for the iPhone 15 launch. Since all new iPhones will feature Dynamic Island designs, it makes sense for Google to expand the Live Activities functionality. But let’s not forget that Apple has sold tens of millions of iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max units, so Google could have rolled it out already.

Then again, Live Activities will not have an equivalent on Android phones, not even Pixels. These handsets do not have Dynamic Island-like designs, though Live Activities don’t necessarily need one.

Google Maps in Live Activities will show navigation directions inside a Lock Screen notification that’s continuously updated. Like those notifications showing how long it’ll take your Uber to get to your pick-up location and then drive you to your destination.

That’s something Google could adapt Live Activities for Android. But Google Maps Live Activities will also show up inside the Dynamic Island, something Google can’t replicate on Android.

Uber Live Activities feature in action
Uber Live Activities feature in action Image source: Reddit user

Maybe the Dynamic Island part is what’s making it difficult for Google. After all, Google has to devise a new Google Maps navigation UI to fit inside that dynamic space and provide relevant information. Let’s remember that Apple’s own Apple Maps doesn’t support Live Activities right now.

Whatever the case, we’ll probably learn more details about Google Maps Live Activities support soon.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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