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Start using Alternate Routes in Maps on iOS 5

Maps has been updated in iOS 5, and now lets you pick from multiple routes for driving and walking directions.

Turn traffic on to make the most of Alternate Routes in Maps. Screenshot by Sharon Vaknin/CNET.

Apple released iOS 5 today, including a small but very useful update to Maps: users can now choose from multiple routes for driving and walking directions.

This update makes it possible for you to pick from three routes in situations where there might be a detour, heavy traffic, or other obstruction in the first suggested route.

How to use alternate routes
The process for using Alternate Routes is simple. When you look for directions in iOS 5, you'll be presented with three possible routes. Tap a route (Route 1, Route 2, or Route 3) to view its path on the map, or tap the bottom-right button to view the list of directions for that route.

Once you choose your preferred route, hit "Start" to get directions. If you wish to change the route after you've begun the step-by-step directions, tap the back arrow until you return to the route selection screen.

Simple enough, but here's a tip to maximize this new feature: before searching for directions, tap the button in the lower-right corner of Maps and select "Show Traffic." Although this option hogs more battery life, you'll be able to pick a route that avoids the heavy traffic and gets you to your destination quickly.