Getting to know Maps on iOS 6

Apple has completely redone the Maps app for iOS 6, bringing with it free voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation.

Jason Cipriani Contributing Writer, ZDNet
Jason Cipriani is based out of beautiful Colorado and has been covering mobile technology news and reviewing the latest gadgets for the last six years. His work can also be found on sister site CNET in the How To section, as well as across several more online publications.
Jason Cipriani
3 min read
Apple Inc.

One of the biggest changes users will notice in iOS 6 is the Maps app. As you may be aware, Apple has stopped using Google Maps to power it, opting to go with its own solution.

You're still able to search for venues or points of interest, find phone numbers, and get directions and drive times. In addition, you'll now also have access to Yelp reviews and voice-guided turn-by-turn directions and a new 3D map view.

Editor's note: Not long after the iOS 6 download became available, many people began noticing significant problems with the new mapping app, including incorrect location information, bad directions, and warped satellite images. This post serves as a good introduction for using Apple's Maps app. But if you're not happy with that app, this post shows you how you can continue using Google Maps after updating to iOS 6.


Yelp reviews, hours, pricing, and photos are all available when viewing a location. Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

When you view a location in the Maps app that has information on Yelp such as hours, photos, pricing, and reviews, you'll be able to view a summary of that information directly in the app. It's a good idea to have Yelp installed and set up on your iOS device in order to read full reviews or view any additional information not shown in the Maps app.

Turn-by-turn directions

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET
Finally! Free voice-guided directions are available on iOS. No more having to look at your iPhone's screen, trying to read the next turn, and tapping on an arrow to keep up with where you're at in the route -- that is, if you're using an iPhone 4S or iPhone 5. Unfortunately, the iPhone 4 won't have Flyover and turn-by-turn navigation.

To get directions, you can either tap on the arrow icon in the upper-left corner or search for a venue, then tap the green car icon. If there are multiple routes available, you'll select the one you want to take and the navigation will start.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

You'll see your expected arrival time and duration of the trip along the top of your screen. During navigation you can lock your phone or continue to use other apps.

3D Maps and Flyover

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET
Not every city has 3D maps available for it, but if you're lucky enough to live in, or be visiting, a city that does -- you're in for a treat. 3D maps look amazing.

To get the most out of the 3D map, make sure you enable either Hybrid or Satellite mode for Maps. When using Standard mode, you'll still see a 3D map, but the buildings look like basic 3D models of buildings.

You'll notice when Standard mode is activated because the 3D button is present. But when you're using Satellite or Hybrid, that same 3D button turns into a silhouette of buildings. Tapping on the building button will allow you to use what Apple refers to as Flyover. Flyover allows you to fly through a city, viewing the 3D skyline as if you were in a helicopter or -- even better -- as though you're Superman.

Using two fingers you can rotate the point of view and change the viewing angle from directly above the buildings to almost a street-level view.

Hopefully you feel a bit more comfortable with the Maps on iOS 6. It's a huge improvement in some areas, like navigation, while other areas, such as lack of Google's Street View (which is basically everywhere), is going to take some time for users to adjust to.

Read our complete guide to iOS 6.

Watch this: Maps on the iPhone 5: A First Look