When Apple decided to build its own Maps app years ago, it didn’t go well at first. But the company has worked hard to improve on that initial offering, constantly improving its accuracy and adding new features. Now, the company says it has rolled out a redesigned Maps to all U.S. users, with Europe to come later.
If you’re in the U.S. and you use an iPhone or iPad, you shouldn’t need to do anything to experience the new Maps. Just load the app you’re already familiar with, and the update will be there. You might not see the difference at first, but zoom in and you’ll see the first change.
Going forward, you’ll see close approximation to building shapes, even in areas that other apps like Google Maps and Here Maps currently don’t. I checked my home in a suburban area outside Cincinnati, and Apple Maps show all the houses around me, and in their approximate positions. Google and Here don’t. I have to zoom in on downtown Cincinnati to see some (but not all) buildings in the other apps.
Even if you live far from metropolitan areas, there’s a good chance you’ll still benefit from the buildings view. Apple didn’t stop there, though. In large cities like New York or Los Angeles, you can enable a new Look Around feature.
It works much like Google’s Street View, and when you turn it on, you’ll see photos of the city that you can pan and move through. And in 350 cities, you can enable a flyover view that lets you explore the city from above in a photo-realistic, immersive 3D view.
With this update, Apple also introduced a new collections feature. With collections, you gather together various locations you either frequently travel to or love. You can then share those collections with family or friends, which could be helpful when you are hosting out of town visitors.
Among the other many features Apple is touting, the company once again wants to emphasize a focus on privacy. To back that up, the company says Maps doesn’t require a sign-in, nor does it connect to your Apple ID in any way. Additionally, Maps obscures your location on Apple’s servers when searching for locations through a process called “fuzzing.”
That’s all good news for U.S. users today, and the company says the changes will roll out in Europe in the coming months.