For those of you who can never decide between using Apple Maps and Google Maps on your iPhone, with iOS 17, Apple is adding an important feature that matches one found on Google Maps. But at the same time, Apple’s version of this feature is going to top Google Maps’ implementation in an important way. We are talking about the ability to download a map and have it used offline. This is important if you’re driving in an area without cellular connectivity.
Offline maps come to Apple Maps in iOS 17, plus one special related feature that Google doesn’t have
No one wants to be driving in an unfamiliar area and not be able to check a mapping and navigation app to see where they are and which way they should be going. Google Maps already allows users to download maps for offline use. On Google Maps, open the app and tap the profile picture in the upper right corner. Tap on Offline maps. You might already have a map downloaded based on your home address.
In iOS 17, Apple Maps will recommend when you should download a map for offline use
You can also tap on Select Your Own Map and use 30MB of your free storage space to download an area that you suggest by moving the map on the screen around a rectangular box. Once you have the general area you want downloaded in the box, pinch in or out to widen or narrow the area you want Google Maps to download for offline use. When you are ready, tap on “Download.”
Downloading a certain area for offline use on Apple Maps is similar. Again, you need iOS 17. Open Apple Maps and tap the profile picture in the right upper corner. Choose “Offline Maps,” and then “Download New Map.” When you tap on “Download New Map,” you’ll have the option of choosing your Current Location or a place you recently searched for. Like with Google Maps, you’ll use pinch-to-zoom to place the area you want downloaded inside a rectangle, and then press “Download.”
In iOS 17, you’ll also be able to select how you want a map downloaded (via Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi/Cellular), if you want automatic downloads, or whether you want to use only offline maps. Downloaded maps can be resized, renamed, and deleted.
In the example embedded with this article, when the iPhone user typed in Yosemite National Park as his destination, he was prompted to download the map. It isn’t clear where Apple gets the information about which areas don’t have cellular from although it may come directly from wireless providers.
Apple Maps has come a long way since it was called “life-threatening”
If you can’t wait for this feature to become available, you can install the latest iOS 17 Public Beta even though there still might be some kinks in the beta that might give you a little trouble. The final, stable version of iOS 17 should be released next month so you might want to hold off with the beta and wait for the final version of iOS 17 to be released in September.
And that Apple certainly did. It started from scratch and while many still prefer Google Maps, Apple Maps is now, at the least, biting at Google Maps heels. And if it keeps adding features that Google Maps does not have, Apple Maps might even surpass Google Maps in the minds of iPhone users.