Apple Maps wasn't very good when it launched, but now it's full of features that have substantially improved it.
On Monday the company added public transit support for Paris, allowing Parisians to get the best route from point A to point B using local transit options. It's a service already offered to a growing number of other cities, so we thought it was appropriate timing to show you some of the new features Apple Maps offers.
Some of these might be old hat to you, some might be new, but all are useful.
Apple has improved this feature it introduced several years ago, and it remains one of my favorite tricks in Apple Maps. Flyovers let you take a birds-eye view of various cities — such as New York, Paris and others — and explore some of the popular sites, like the Empire State Building or the Statue of Liberty. It's kind of like flying around a city in a helicopter. Start a Flyerover by searching for a city and then, if a tour is available, tapping Flyover at the bottom of the display.
Apple Maps lets you search for restaurants that are popular among the locals in a specific city. It's a perfect option if you're landing in a new city and want to find something good, without just settling on some snacks at the hotel bar. Just tap the search bar, tap "Food," and then tap "Popular" to explore a list of frequently and high-rated Yelp restaurants right in Apple Maps. Tap any restaurant for quick directions.
If you visit Settings > Maps, you can choose whether you want directions for driving, walking or for public transit. You can also use this to avoid tolls or highways, choose whether you prefer the train over bus or ferry, and more. Once you've set your preferred mode of transportation, Maps can start to learn to tell you when the best time to leave for appointments so that you'll get there on time.
Apple Maps supports a feature called "extensions," which allows it to tie in to other applications. If you visit Settings > Maps, for example, you can add support for Uber, Yelp, OpenTable and Lyft, to name a few. If you want to hail a ride with Uber or Lyft inside Apple Maps, you can just search for a destination, tap "Ride" at the bottom of the screen, and choose the option you want.
Another neat feature inside Apple Maps is the ability to search for bike sharing options. In New York City, for example, simply search "Bike sharing." Apple Maps will pull up Citi Bike locations where you can pick up or drop off a bike. It even works abroad. A quick search in Barcelona pulled up a result where I could borrow a bike for the day.