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3 new Apple Maps features you should try now -- and how to use them

These new features help turn Apple Maps from a laughable Google Maps replacement to an app that can stand on its own.

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Apple Maps' new Look Around feature is well done, no doubt. 

Jason Cipriani/CNET

If you haven't updated to iOS 13 yet (we can't say we blame you for waiting, it's been buggy) or given Apple Maps a try since updating your iPhone ($699 at Apple), it may be time to give a shot. Apple added several new features to Maps with the launch of iOS 13 and iPadOS 13. It's taken Apple nearly seven years to take Apple Maps from a laughable attempt at replacing Google Maps to a true mapping solution that can stand on its own, but I think the company finally did it. 

For example, after the update can share your ETA with any contact in your phone, keeping them up to date on your exact location and when you're set to arrive. There's also a new Look Around feature that is a lot like Google Street View, but made by Apple.

Apple Maps isn't the only major change in iOS 13. There are plenty of new features, including a new swipe keyboard that doesn't let you swear, that make the upgrade appealing. 

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Share ETA is a convenient way to let your friends know when you'll arrive. 

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Share your ETA

This has to be one of the more useful features added to Apple in recent memory. As of iOS 13.1, you can share your estimated time of arrival with a friend through Apple Maps, iMessage or text when you're using Apple Maps navigation. Here's how:

1. Start Apple Maps navigation and get turn-by-turn directions to a location. 

2. When viewing current directions, swipe up on the bottom of the area that displays your arrival time and shows the end button. 

3. Tap the Share ETA button. 

4. Select the contact or contacts you want to share with. 

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After tapping on the Share ETA button, you may notice that some contacts have an Apple Maps icon next to their name, instead of a Messages icon. If your iPhone is running iOS 13.1 or newer, and you're sharing your ETA with someone with an iPhone on iOS 13.1 or newer, then Apple Maps will be used to share your location, route, and ETA. However, if you share your ETA with a non-iPhone user, or someone running iOS 13 or older on their Apple device, then a message will be sent. 

When Apple Maps sends a text or iMessage, it will read something similar to this:

I started sharing my ETA with you in Apple Maps: arriving at Pepsi Center around 10:44 AM. I'll let you know if I'm running late.

Indeed, if you get slowed down by traffic or take a detour, Apple Maps will send another message letting the person know you're running behind and the new estimated time of arrival. 

From my testing, the threshold for triggering another alert is 5 minutes late. So, in the instance above, if my new arrival time was 10:49 a.m., Apple Maps would send another message with the new time. 

The added details in the new Apple Maps make a world of difference. 

Apple, Inc.

There's now a more detailed map

Apple has also spent a lot of time, more or less, scanning every street and road across the country to produce a more detailed, better-looking map. The new-look has been slowly rolling out to the US since the launch of iOS 13 in September, with the expectation of covering all of the US by the end of the year. 

Currently, the new map can be seen in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Ohio, Nevada and West Virginia. Additionally, parts of Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Kentucky and Virginia have access to the new map. You don't have to do anything to view the additional details, once Apple rolls it out to your location, it will automatically show up. 

Another notable change in Apple Maps is a new feature called Look Around. It's similar to Google's Street View, using photos to show you exactly what a location looks like and allowing you to move around the city streets. The only downside is that it's only available in New York, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Oahu, Houston and Los Angeles right now. Apple has quickly added more cities to the list (Look Around initially launched with support for only San Francisco) and will continue to add more cities in the future.

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Look Around is pretty cool, if live in a city that actually has it. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

How do I use Look Around? 

If you don't live in one of the supported cities, that's all right -- you can still check out Look Around. Here's how:

1. Open Apple Maps and zoom in on a city that has Look Around. I picked San Francisco when testing because it's one of my favorite cities to visit.

2. Zoom in to a specific area, or until you see a pair of binoculars show up in the top-right corner of the map; just below the location icon and the "i" button.

3. Select the binoculars to open Look Around.

A window will pop up, with a familiar Street View-like look. Expand Look Around to full-screen mode by tapping on the double-arrow icon. 

You can swipe around in that window to change the direction of the photo, or tap on the street to move down the block (just like tapping on arrows in Street View). As you move around, you can tap on the name of a business to zoom in on the storefront and view its address, hours, phone number and website -- the same stuff you see when searching for a business in Maps.

These features join the already impressive list of additions Apple made to iOS 13. From a new Reminders app, to a new method for deleting apps on your iPhone and iPad ($359 at Walmart) -- there's a lot to learn

Originally published earlier this year. Updated with new information.