So you got a new iPhone? It's time to dig deeper into Apple's native Maps app to uncover some of the amazing functions right at your finger tips. iPhone Maps can be utilized for much more than simply finding directions. While Siri can perform many of these same searches with iPhone 4S, I'm going to focus on the seek and find method to include other models.
Before launching the app you'll need to ensure that Locations Services is set to (ON). Do this by selecting your Settings App > Locations Services > ensure Location Services is (ON) > then turn Maps (ON). Close app.
To enable Traffic Conditions, launch the Maps app, then tap the icon on the bottom right which will reveal options. Select Show Traffic. Your map routes should light up almost instantly, although it may take a bit longer when using a 3G connection. The color codes identify traffic conditions and become even more visible when zooming in on your iPhone.
- Gray - no data available
- Green - traffic is flowing at posted speed limit
- Yellow - traffic is flowing slower than the posted speed limit
- Red - indicates stop and go traffic
Apple states in their iPhone User Guide that traffic conditions aren't available in all areas. When I compared an AT&T iPhone to a Verizon iPhone, the Verizon handset did not display traffic conditions. If you don't see traffic conditions immediately, check with your carrier before losing your mind attempting to activate this feature.
VZ Navigator is a Free premium app that Verizon customers can download access local traffic conditions, directions and turn-by-turn, voice-guided navigation. Navigation requires purchasing a $4.99 monthly subscription. (Premium features included in this app will not work for those on other carriers).
Now let's use Maps to find a local Home Depot or even a Denny's Restaurant. After opening Maps tap the search field above to bring up the keyboard. Type in the name of a business, like Denny's, then tap Search. You should see a number of red pins drop, locating the closest Denny's. Tap the head of any pin to reveal the location flag.
Tap the blue arrow icon on the flag to reveal the location phone number, address and even online home page. When you tap the phone number, iPhone will dial it up straight away. You can also tap Directions To Here or Directions From Here below for navigation. If an orange icon is located on the left side of the flag, you can also view any desired location using Google Street View.
Maps can be used on a regular basis to quickly find phone numbers and addresses along with general searches like coffee shops, landmarks or even street corners, for example Broadway & Pine Street in Seattle. Map views include Standard, Satellite, Hybrid and List.
When searching for directions, open the app, tap the arrow icon on the bottom left to lock in your current location and then type in your destination at he top by address, name or from your address book. Choose the mode of travel either by car, public transit or by foot. Then tap start.
Selecting the Bus icon will reveal when the next closest bus is leaving to your destination, the cost of your trip along with the best location to catch your bus. The icons next to each pin will reveal the required information for travel, including walking distance and bus stop. Tapping the clock on the top right will reveal additional Transit Times for your route.
Once your driving route is set in Maps for travel by car, tap the Start button on the top to begin directions. At any time you can view your route in List form by tapping the icon at the bottom right to choose the List view then return to the standard map view. Pinching to zoom in and out will reveal your entire driving route, while the arrows at the top allows you to shuttle forward in your route.
Be aware that iPhone's GPS tracking is activated on the map and can cause a considerable train on your battery once you've started tracking directions. You'll see a small, emanating blue ball moving as you travel, it continually identifies your current location while in route.
iPhone's Maps app is an intuitive travel utility that you won't want to do without once you master using it. The official iPhone User Guide for iOS 5 gives even greater details on using Maps and can be downloaded onto your device free from the iBook Store.