❤ iOS 17 Apple Maps suggests an offline map to download when getting directions to an area with poor cell service
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Although several years behind Google Maps, the Apple Maps implementation of offline maps is very well done. In fact, it is even intelligent enough to remind you to download an offline map in advance, if you are getting directions to an area with poor reception.
The detail was first spotted by u/freaktheclown on Reddit and can be reproduced in the latest iOS 17 betas.
When planning a route on an iPhone running iOS 17, Apple Maps will look ahead and check to see the cell service of your route. If it knows that the cell service will be poor before you get to your destination, the route options screen will automatically include a link to download a map that covers your route.
That means you won’t be caught lost once you set off, due to a lack of network connectivity. At this stage, it is a bit unclear how Apple Maps determines whether to show the ‘limited service’ warning. Perhaps, it is based on telemetry collected by other Apple Maps users. It may also be region limited; we could only make it appear for US national parks, but it is possible it rolls out more widely over time.
Once downloaded, you can manage your collection of offline maps by tapping on your profile picture inside the Maps app. Automatic updates means that Apple Maps periodically updates your downloaded maps with the latest POI and cartography, on your behalf. This means the maps never go out of date.
Downloaded maps are also browsable on your Apple Watch, if the paired iPhone is nearby.
Other improvements to Apple Maps with iOS 17 include an upgrade to the experience for EV owners. Maps can now integrate real-time availability information for charging spaces with support for Tesla Supercharger network, Chargepoint, Electrify America and more.
iOS 17 adds real-time charging availability info for EV drivers
With iOS 17 this year, Apple is further expanding on its set of features in Apple Maps for electric car owners. Starting this year, Apple Maps will show real-time charging availability information and let drivers choose a preferred charging network.
Apple first announced support for EV routing in Apple Maps back at WWDC 2020. The feature eventually debuted for Ford Mustang Mach-E drivers last year, followed by Porsche Taycan drivers earlier this year.
With iOS 17 installed on your iPhone, Apple Maps will prompt you to set up your preferred charging networks for your EV. You can choose from a long list of options, including Electrify America, Chargepoint, Tesla’s Supercharger network, and more.
Once you choose your preferred networks, Apple Maps will intelligently present you with real-time charging availability information. For instance, this will show the number of total stalls available at a specific charging station and how many of those are currently occupied.
Based on the electric car you drive, Apple Maps will only show you charging options that are compatible with the charging connector used by your car. In iOS 17 beta 1, the feature still appears to be a work in progress and is missing some of the necessary data.
“When driving an electric vehicle, you can now choose a preferred charging network and see real-time charging station availability,” Apple explains.
As of right now, it appears that this feature is only available to cars that support Apple Maps EV routing, which is only the Mach-E and Taycan. Still, we expect more EV makers to adopt the feature in the future, and this is a great improvement to have – especially when using CarPlay.
iOS 17: How to download and use offline maps with Apple Maps
Apple Maps has improved leaps and bounds over the last decade, but one area it has always been lacking is offline use. Google Maps and others have let you download maps to be available offline for a long time.
That feature gap is now closed with iOS 17. Apple Maps now lets you download a maps region to store on your device, and use entirely offline for navigation and routing without an internet connection. Here’s how.
Offline maps are useful when travelling abroad, but also at home when you can’t always rely on a network being available. If you often travel through cellular deadspots, especially applicable to some highways and suburban areas, having maps available offline is a nice safety net so that you know you won’t get lost.
With Apple Maps on iOS 17, you can now save a region of the map locally on your iPhone. As long as you stay inside the bounds of the downloaded map, you can get turn-by-turn directions entirely offline; for driving, walking, cycling, for transit. You can also simple pan and zoom around the map in the Maps app, with no waiting for things to load. Offline maps also include POI data like opening hours.
Apple Maps downloaded to your iPhone will also be available on the Apple Watch, when the paired iPhone is nearby. The watch cannot download maps directly.
How to download an offline map in iOS 17
- To download a map, press on your avatar in the panel and press on the new Offline Maps button.
- Select “Download New Map”.
- Search for the area you want to download. iOS will automatically suggest your home area.
- On the preview, you can refine the bounds and the app will tell you how much storage space you’ll need to save the map.
- Press “Download” button to confirm and the map will appear in the Downloaded list.
Obviously, the larger the region, the bigger the download size. You can repeat the process and download as many different regions as you need. What’s also nice is that offline maps are not a one-time static snapshot; they will be automatically updated with the latest changes, when a network is available.
Downloads default to happening only over the WiFi network. You can change the setting to download over cellular as well.
Offline Only Mode
With a map downloaded, when no network is available, Apple Maps will use the downloaded map if applicable for your current location. When internet is available, Maps will always look up data over the network to incorporate information like realtime traffic.
However, you can force the app to only use downloaded map content. To do this, from the same settings panel as described above, enable the toggle for “Only Use Offline Maps”.