Everything You Need To Know About Google Maps For iPhone


Photo: Kevin Smith/Business Insider

As expected, Google delivered its long-awaited maps app for the iPhone by the end of the year.And as expected, it’s really, really good.

The new app is a dramatic improvement over the old Google Maps for iPhone, and it’s far better than the new Apple Maps app that’s the default app on all iPhones and iPads.

Click here to jump straight to a photo tour of Google Maps for iPhone >

Google’s Maps app for iPhone is fast, functional, beautifully designed, and most importantly, won’t get you lost. We now have turn-by-turn directions, street view, public transit directions, and walking directions all in the same place. 

We spent a lot of time with the app today and checked out ever nook and cranny. We were surprised at how much better this app is compared to Apple’s offering. Google really did a killer job with this.

Still, Apple Maps are better in a few ways: get a few things right that Google just can’t do like navigating turn-by-turn via the iPhone’s lock screen and having 3D functionality baked right into its Maps app. In Google’s Map app, if you want to have photorealistic 3D maps you have to download a separate app, Google Earth.

Despite these two shortcomings, we still think that Google’s new maps app can be added to the first page of your home screen and replace Apple’s Maps.

Google Maps is available for the iPhone and it is free.

After you download the app using the link we gave you in the intro, tap the icon to open.

It'll just take a few seconds for the app to power up.

Once everything is loaded, the first thing you'll need to do is allow the app to use your location. Tap OK to give it permission.

After you give it location permission, you have to accept Google's terms and conditions. Once you read the terms of service and privacy policy tap accept & continue.

If you want Google to sync your favourite places between your computer and phone, go ahead and sign in with your Gmail login.

And we're finally in. The blue dot is your current location.

If you double tap to zoom in, you can see more details of the buildings around you. You can also the names of businesses and where the nearest subway stop is. Unfortunately, tapping on the blue dot will not give you your exact location like the old Google Maps did.

Swiping from the right will bring up various views like traffic, public transit, satellite, and Google Earth.

This is what the satellite view looks like.

At the very top of the screen you can type in an address, business, restaurant, or whatever else you're looking for. The app is really good at predicting what you want.

Once you type in a location you can swipe up to get more details about it.

This is the information on 257 Park Ave South, Business Insider's global headquarters.

Next, we wanted to see how far Central Park was. Google Maps found the very centre of the huge park. Remember if you want more information just pull up. But we want directions this time. Tap the small car in the bottom left corner.

This is the screen that comes up. You have the option between driving, public transit, and walking directions. The app also provides you with multiple routes.

We love how the driving directions automatically integrated current traffic conditions. The app also let us know exactly how long it would take to get there.

But because we don't have a car, we wanted public transit directions. The map was able to place the subway lines right over everything. But because we already chose driving directions we'll stick with that for now.

And we're off. Here is Google's recommendation on the best way to get to Central Park from Business Insider's HQ.

The turn-by-turn directions are very useful. They provide voice and visual guidance. At the bottom of the screen you can get out of the turn-by-turn by tapping the X. If you tap the three dots at the bottom right...

you can view the step-by-step list, mute voice guidance, or cancel.

Here's what that list looks like. It's pretty detailed. To head back to directions tap the arrow in the top left corner. You'll be returned to the turn-by-turn directions. To get out of there tap the X in the bottom left corner.

Now let's go back to the main maps screen. Tap the X to close this out and you'll be returned to your search.

Tap the X one last time to close our your search. And you'll see in the top right corner there is a silhouette of a person. If you tap that it will take you into your profile.

Here's what the profile looks like. It pulls in your Google profile picture and you can add a home address and work address for easy routing. Tap the gear in the top right corner. That will take you into settings.

Inside settings you can tweak your work or home address view your maps history, send feedback, and view tutorials.

Inside maps history we saw an address we didn't want to be there anymore, so we tapped the red minus icon to delete it.

It took a long time...then we ran into this error...

But after we tried again, we were able to delete the old address.

Just in case the first option wasn't right, we could also get directions to similarly named locations. Tap the arrow in the top left corner to go back to the location of the hotel.

Now lets get transit directions from our current location to the Waldorf Astoria.

The subway directions are displayed as a simple list. It shows us that we only need to take one train to get to the hotel from where we are. If we want more information tap the options button right next to the departure time.

The options give us a few choices. We can choose between transit mode and the best way to get there.

Now we've arrived at the hotel. Sliding up from the search results give us a lot of options about the hotel...

If we scroll down a bit, we can read Zagat reviews baked right into the app. Awesome.

But we opted for some street view, a feature that is definitely missing in Apple Maps.

It looks really good and the images are clear.

We could see all the way to the top of the massive hotel. Great detail!

A really neat feature Google added was the ability to use your compass for street view. If you tap the circle in the bottom left corner when you hold your phone in a certain direction it will rotate with you. This is really helpful if you don't know what side of the street something is on.

Photos are baked into the search results too, giving us a glimpse into the interior of the famous hotel. To leave here, simply tap the arrow in the top left corner. This will take you back to the information about the hotel.

If you ever see a mistake in the maps app simply shake the device to report an issue.

One last feature we saw in the app is the option to choose Google Earth. This is how users can see 3D maps via Google. If you tap Google Earth...

It will redirect you to the app store where you can download Google's Earth app.

After you download the app, it takes you right inside.

...and you can then explore around in this app in brilliant 3D environments!

Now, make sure you check out these other awesome apps...

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