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Hands-on with Maps in iOS 9: Introducing public transit and more accurate data

Caitlin McGarry | July 30, 2015
iOS 9 makes Apple Maps a strong contender with the addition of mass transit directions that, so far, are just as accurate as Google's

Being able to see businesses in the area is helpful, but getting to Nearby isn't exactly intuitive. You can't tap into it when you're getting directions, for instance. After you enter an address in the search bar and the map drops its pin on the destination, then tap on the address in the search bar again--that's how you get to Nearby. A pop-up menu lets you get more specific. Tapping on "Food" lets you see all food nearby, or you can drill down to grocery stories, fast food, cafes, bakeries, dessert shops, etc. I appreciate the Yelp integration so you can see if that restaurant you've never heard of is well-reviewed or a dump.

But Apple Maps still isn't 100 percent accurate. I used Nearby to look for coffee shops around my apartment, and a few popped up that I know for sure don't exist (at least not where Maps put them), in addition to my regular spots. Both the iOS 8 and iOS 9 versions of Maps show a Pret a Manger location directly across the street from my office, and trust me, I would know if there was a Pret so close by. It's actually two blocks south.

Handoff with El Capitan

Handoff between your Mac running OS X El Capitan and your iPhone running iOS 9 is nearly identical to the experience between OS X Yosemite and iOS 8. Just double tap the Home button on your iPhone or iPad and look for the Maps popup on the bottom of the screen to grab the Maps info stored on your Mac.

If you're on your Mac, look for a popup in the bottom left corner in your Dock to launch Maps info shared from your iOS device. It's a pretty seamless experience, and works with all of Maps's features. Beam transit directions, Nearby info, or whatever you'd like. 

What's missing

Apple Maps still lacks Street View, which will likely take them years to roll out. There's also no option to save maps offline when you need to access them without using data, say, in a foreign country.

But iOS 9 has finally made me reconsider my Maps ban--and it just might earn a spot on my home screen.


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