Apple users, your long wait is finally over. You too now have access to offline navigation courtesy of Google Maps, so if you didn’t have a sense of direction before, don’t expect it to be getting any better anytime soon. A month after the Google Maps update gave Android users access to this handy new tool, which allows you to navigate confusing cityscapes even if you’re underground or otherwise caught without signal or WiFi, the Internet company is rolling out the feature to iOS users as well.
Despite recent reports that Apple Maps is now used three times as often as its “next leading competitor” on Apple devices, Google made no major announcements about its software update, which will doubtless come in handy as shopping and travel season begins in earnest. While you won’t be able to get live traffic updates in offline mode, you’ll still have access to other important information, like turn-by-turn directions, hours of operation, contact information, and ratings (Google only, no Yelp allowed on their turf).
Better still, Google Maps will now offer gas prices for your driving convenience, and you’ll also be able to tell when certain businesses are busiest during the week (because avoiding rush hour is going to be key in the next few weeks).
Despite all these great changes, mass transit directions are still unavailable in offline mode, so if you live in a city like New York where you’re as likely to get around under as above ground, you’re out of luck. Walking and biking directions are also nowhere to be found (though they may be deduced through driving directions in most cases).
If you do decide to start downloading maps for offline use, make sure you’ve cleared out some space on your phone. A map of New York City is estimated to take up around 300MB of storage, so if your music library is getting a bit out of control, you may want to use this as an opportunity to cut some playlists. But since these maps expire automatically after a month anyway, it’s not as though your phone will be forever inundated by unused maps.
So navigate away, friends. You don’t need to be online to do so anymore.
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