Home How-To-Guides Exploring the Benefits of Offline Maps in Apple Maps with iOS 17

Exploring the Benefits of Offline Maps in Apple Maps with iOS 17

Posted: November 14, 2023

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As we navigate various terrains and regions, we often rely heavily on our smartphones to guide us. While these maps work well with a stable internet connection, they become useless in remote areas with low or no connection, such as national parks. Therefore, the need for mapping applications to provide an offline map feature becomes crucial. Apple Maps, the built-in app for iPhone users, has come a long way since its launch in 2012. Over the years, it has made vast improvements and is now appreciated by many for its user-friendly interface and accurate data. However, the lack of an offline map feature has been a significant shortcoming.

Need for Offline Maps in Remote Areas

Offline maps are a lifesaver in areas where internet connection is inconsistent or completely unavailable. Access to these enables users to navigate seamlessly, avoid getting lost, and arrive at their destination on time. It is especially critical when on a trip or traveling in unfamiliar territories. Offline maps can help save a lot of time and prevent stressful situations caused by loss of connection. Utilizing offline maps can significantly reduce data costs as opposed to constantly using live maps that require an internet connection.

Former Apple Maps Limitations

One of Apple Maps's main limitations has been its inability to provide users with offline navigation. Users may start their journey with a strong data signal, with the app guiding them effortlessly to their destination. However, Apple Maps could not assist further should the signal drop along the way. This limitation made the application ineffective in regions such as national parks or remote rural areas, where data signals often fluctuate or become non-existent.

Enabling Offline Use in Apple Maps with iOS 17

As users have long been anticipating, iOS 17 has finally introduced the ability to download maps for offline use in Apple Maps. This long-awaited feature spans turn-by-turn directions for various modes of transport, including walking, driving, cycling, and public transit. It also enables users to see their estimated time of arrival, view hours and ratings on place cards, and more - all without a cellular or Wi-Fi connection. In addition, offline maps can even be used on an Apple Watch when it is within range of the paired iPhone.

General Features: Turn-By-Turn Directions for Various Modes of Transportation

With offline maps in iOS 17, Apple Maps now provides a comprehensive tool for navigation in areas without an internet connection. This includes turn-by-turn directions for various modes of transportation such as walking, driving, cycling, and public transit. Users can also access important details like estimated arrival time and more comprehensive information about their destination, including operating hours, ratings, and other details provided on place cards. The ability to use downloaded maps on an Apple Watch extends the benefits of this feature, providing even greater flexibility in navigating offline.

Starting the Download Process: Profile, Offline Maps Selection

The process of downloading a map in Apple Maps on iOS 17 is straightforward. Users simply enter the name of a specific area in the Maps' search field, click the Download button on the area's information card, and adjust the download area as desired by dragging the frame. The app indicates the storage space required for the download. The map download progress is displayed on the following screen, and any other downloaded maps are listed with options to pause, delete, or update. There are additional offline map settings, such as enabling downloads over Wi-Fi and cellular data or only over Wi-Fi, automating updates, optimizing storage by automated removal of unused maps, and setting Apple Maps to use downloaded maps even when an internet connection is available. Once downloaded, the app will refer to the offline map if the user is in the downloaded area with no data connection.

Download Process Detailed

The new feature of offline use in Apple Maps, available with iOS 17, offers various options for users. The application suggests maps to download, notably, the area around your current location or home. Besides, you can specify new regions to download. The process involves:

  • Choosing a current location.
  • Searching for a new one.
  • Tweaking the specific map area.

Following these steps ensures that your Apple Maps application is efficient, even without an internet connection.

Suggested Maps: Areas around the Home, Other Suggested Locations

Apple Maps is designed to make offline maps as effortless as possible. For example, it provides suggestions for areas to download based on your current or frequently visited locations, such as the area around your home. This convenience allows for easy access to offline maps in areas vital for daily navigation. It is as simple as selecting a suggested map and proceeding to download it for offline use.

Downloading New Map: Specifying a Current Location or Searching a New One

If the suggested maps do not cover the areas you're interested in, iOS 17 offers the option to download a new map. In the Maps application, tap on the profile picture or initials next to the search field to access offline maps. From here, choose 'Download New Map,' then search for a specific location or simply use your current location. Once a location is chosen, the option to download the map of this area for offline use is made available. This flexibility caters to all types of users, whether traveling to new places or just wanting offline data for their familiar surroundings.

Preview and Finalizing Selections: Adjusting Geographic Area

Before finalizing a download, the Maps application previews the map area to be downloaded. This pre-download preview allows users to adjust the size of the map area, ensuring it covers all the necessary locations. Once satisfied with the selection, simply tap 'Download.' You can tailor the selection by dragging the sides and corners of the selected frame, providing a greater user experience. This feature ensures efficient use of storage space and caters precisely to the user's requirements, making the Maps application a more personalized navigation tool.

Offline Map Usage and Maintenance

Now that we've established how to download maps for offline use on Apple Maps, it's important to note how to best utilize and maintain these offline maps for optimized navigation. It involves comparing the download size to the coverage region needed, being aware of the settings for downloads and updates, and understanding the differences in navigation using offline maps.

Comparing Download Size and Coverage Region

As offline maps can consume considerable storage space, users must be selective in the regions they download. A map with a large coverage area will have a higher download size compared to one that only covers a small neighborhood. Hence, users should aim to find a balance between their storage constraints and their need for comprehensive offline navigation. It may also be necessary to prioritize certain areas for download based on the frequency of use or upcoming travel plans. Furthermore, if an offline map becomes redundant, deleting it from your device is advisable to free up space.

Default and Optional Settings for Download and Updates

Apple Maps provides various settings that users can tweak to personalize their offline map use. These include options to download maps only when connected to Wi-Fi and to prioritize automatic updates. By default, automatic updates are enabled, ensuring offline maps stay current with changes like business or street names. There's also an 'Optimize Storage' option, which automatically deletes any unused offline maps after a certain period, thus saving storage space. Additionally, the 'Only Use Offline Maps' setting allows users to rely on downloaded maps even with an internet connection, potentially conserving mobile data.

Difference in Navigation with Offline Maps: Lack of Live Traffic Information

While offline maps are a valuable tool for navigation in areas without internet access, it's important to remember they lack certain real-time features available in online navigation. Notably, offline maps do not include live traffic updates, which can be a crucial navigation aspect, particularly in busy city environments or on long road trips. Nevertheless, the utility of downloading maps for offline use far outweighs this limitation, especially when considering remote areas with no internet connection where navigation guidance is still required.