The most improved Apple app in iOS 11

I’ve been using iOS 11 betas for a while now and one of the apps that I’m really impressed with is Maps. I don’t know why, but I use mapping apps a lot to test them out—it’s a strange habit that I developed years ago and I still do it today.

I mentioned before that Apple Maps was good, but not great. When I went to a city or place that I wasn’t familiar with—the time when you need solid directions the most—I couldn’t use Maps because it didn’t have lane guidance.

In case you don’t know, lane guidance is a feature that tells you which traffic lane you need to be in to make your next turn. For instance, if you are taking an exit ramp, Maps will tell you to be in the right two lanes.

Lane guidance may not sound like a huge feature, but when you’re cruising down a 5-lane highway in Los Angeles and you need to cross over four lanes to the right for your exit, you appreciate it. Any time I travelled, I would use Google Maps because of its detailed instructions, not just about where I was going, but exactly how I was going to get there.

Apple Maps now has lane guidance in iOS 11 and it works perfectly. I haven’t taken a trip to LA since I’ve been using it, but I have gone to a couple of places I hadn’t been before and it worked just as I expected.

Maps now also shows you what turn is coming up next. For example, on the top of the mapping screen it will show that you need to make a left hand turn—directly under that, it will show you that your next turn is a right. This helps you determine which lane you should be in.

Maps is also getting better at finding alternate routes to your destination. It doesn’t just do it when you ask for directions, it continues to do it throughout your trip. Every once in a while I’ll see a “Similar ETA” label flash up as I’m coming close to a road. Maps is telling me that I can turn there and it’s already determined that it will take about the same amount of time as the route I’m currently on.

These are all great features that makes using Maps a better experience. There is certainly a lot to like about iOS 11, but Maps is by far the most improved Apple app for me.



  • Brian Dunning

    This is big news for me, because CarPlay’s requirement that you use Maps instead of Waze is the only reason I haven’t upgraded my cars with aftermarket screens.

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  • Paul Chernoff

    This is good stuff, I was missing this feature. My other concerns involve quality of routes (I depend on Waze a lot to avoid unexpected bad traffic) and being able to send my driving progress to someone else.

  • Hadn’t even thought to try Maps out yet on iOS 11. Haven’t had the need for any of that recently.

    Waze is still the one to beat.

    • SDR97

      I wish Waze had a setting not to bother trying to save me 2 minutes by taking 17 side streets instead of just staying on the freeway. In LA, this got so annoying that I gave up on it entirely.

      I find Apple Maps more reliable than Google Maps at getting me to the right location (Google Maps has sometimes had me exit the freeway dozens of miles early, for some reason). But Apple Maps is utterly terrible at knowing where to find the entrance to a large strip mall, or locate a business within one.

  • David Bettany

    Might be fine for the US, but here in NZ, our state highway 1 out of the capital city changed in Feb this year, after 4 years in the construction. Apple maps still does not reflect this 18km of new route. Sadly, google maps had the change within 2 weeks of the new expressway being open. This lagging makes Apple Maps near impossible to use, when you have to rely on Gmaps, you might just as well stay with it 🙁

    • GlennC777

      I’ve used Apple Maps exclusively for quite some time, mainly out of laziness, and haven’t had a problem where I live, but this is exactly the area where the market is demanding they catch up. Get on with it Apple!

  • I hope the lane guidance works here in the Greater Vancouver area. I still get confused about how to get off #1 westbound at 160th and end up on the right road, even though I’ve done it ten times.

    • John Kordyback

      Or Vancouver Island!

  • Renato Silva

    As much as I want to use it, Apple Maps simply does not deliver a good experience here. Granted, I live in the middle of the Atlantic (Azores), but i’m as entitled to an updated map as someone who lives in manhattan.

    • rosewoodat5th

      Have you submitted a correction to Apple?

      • Renato Silva

        Just did. Thank you!

  • Kip Beatty

    If you’d like to know Jim, it works great in LA!

  • Bespin

    iOS 11 ruined Notification and Store to try to shoehorn a pc like environment…give up and just do it right

    Think about it 11 tries at this , LOL IOS 11 is a sign Apple is struggling to remain relevant

  • fredfx

    How is it’s traffic prediction and routing? That’s why I’m pretty much using WAZE. I don’t go anywhere in LA without it. Waze is crowd sourced and uses historical data. Does Maps do that? I’m sure it’s integration in iOS must be much better than using Waze on iOS (which I”m doing now) I’d love to get an aftermarket screen to use with my iPhone.

  • A great feature would be to be able to download an area so you can use without the internet, like in google maps. I still use waze for navigation, imo, best app

  • Daniel Weiner

    Both of the last 2 features you mentioned (upcoming turns and live route updates) are already in iOS 10, just so you know.