Get Started With Maps In iOS 6

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Everything you need to know about the new app

In iOS 6, it’s all change for the Maps app. Previously, Maps used Google data, the richest mapping information on the planet, providing well-tested direction, detailed satellite imagery and useful street views. But Google’s data is out and Apple’s now rolling its own. However, its offering isn’t terribly mature. Views are limited, data isn’t always accurate, and transit information is now reliant on third-party applications.

In tests we’ve found the performance of the new Maps app to be excellent

In tests we’ve found the performance of the new Maps app to be excellent

But it’s not all bad news. In tests we’ve found the performance of the new Maps app to be excellent – head-to-head, it’s faster than the iOS 5 app. Although data is sometimes a little iffy, there are ways to make it more accurate.

While satellite imagery is weaker, armchair tourists will find new 3D flyover views pretty interesting – we reckon they are more fun than Google Earth. And if you do find yourself staring aghast on seeing that Apple’s positioned your town in the middle of the English Channel, there’s a means of letting Apple know. With plenty of use and fast iteration, there’s a good chance Apple’s Maps app can once again be an industry leader. For now, our walkthroughs give you the lowdown on how to tackle its shortcomings.

How to get directions

1.    Define a journey

Define a journey

Getting directions in Maps hasn’t changed significantly, although the information is flakier and the maps aren’t as clear. To start, click the directions button at the top-left and define Start and End locations. Maps isn’t terribly smart, so for best results, be very specific: add a county, post-code or other identifier, such as an airport’s full name.

2.    Pick a route

Pick a route

Tap Route to see three alternatives. Tap each to see its distance and estimated journey time. For full directions, tap the directions button (the bulleted list icon) at the foot of the screen. The standard map only differentiates between major routes (motorways and some A roads, in orange) and other roads (white), so check routes carefully before setting out.

3.    Follow directions

Follow directions

Tap Start and Siri will give you spoken turn-by-turn directions and a 3D(ish) view. There are caveats here, too, though. You’ll need a cellular connection for Maps to work – if you go into a dead area, it can’t pinpoint your location – and we’ve heard reports about issues with road information. But as long as you’re not relying entirely on your iPhone, you should be fine.

How to explore a city

1.    Choose a landmark

Our favourite feature of Maps is Flyover, which aims to one-up Google’s Street View by providing 3D city flyovers. It’s more of a novelty than Google’s practical feature, but it’s fun for armchair tourism. To start, search for a city or monument, bearing in mind that only a handful of the largest cities and famous landmarks are so far supported.

2.    Go 3D

Activate the Hybrid or Satellite view by tapping the relevant button under the page curl. Once you’ve done that, use unpinch gestures to zoom in closer, and then tap the flyover button (it looks like buildings). The entire view will tilt and you’ll have a 3D view of your chosen monument. It’s not entirely lifelike, but what happens next makes it worthwhile…

You can use unpinch gestures to zoom in closer, and then tap the flyover button

You can use unpinch gestures to zoom in closer, and then tap the flyover button

3.    Spin things round

With two fingers, do a route gesture to see the entire 3D scene rotate, or rotate-flick to make it spin on the spot. As you move, the compass tracks your direction; tap it to revert the scene to its default. In Hybrid mode, roads and places of interest are overlaid. Outside of supported cities, 3D is replaced by simpler images that incorporate land elevation.

How to correct Maps’ mistakes

1.    Unearth an error

At the time of writing, there’s a Tumblr blog ( outlining the many failings of Maps, including misspellings, museums in rivers, and streets not existing. But we can all make Maps better, by providing feedback to Apple. On finding an error, tap-hold on the screen to drop a pin which will flag the location of the problem.

We can all make Maps better, by providing feedback to Apple

We can all make Maps better, by providing feedback to Apple

2.    Report the problem

Tap the page curl at the bottom-right. Tap the Report a Problem link and you’re given a number of options, such as ‘Search results are incorrect’ and ‘Location is missing’. Choose the one that’s most appropriate. You may be asked to tap another point on the map, before entering information that will assist Apple. Once happy with your report, tap Send.

3.    Move a site of interest

Maps displays sites of interest, such as shops and restaurants. In some cases, these entries are incorrect. To inform Apple, tap the location, tap the right-facing arrow to access its details page, scroll down and tap Report a Problem. Choose the relevant option, tap Next, make suitable changes, and then your report is sent to Apple for investigation.


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