Apple Maps To Get New Features In iOS 18

Apple Maps may be gaining new custom routes and topographical maps in iOS 18.

TL;DR: iOS 18 Apple Maps Features 

  • Apple Maps: The Apple Maps app in iOS 18 is rumored to gain at least a few new features. 📍
  • Topographical maps: Topographical maps, currently found on the Apple Watch, could make their way into iOS 18. 🗺️
  • Custom routes: iOS 18 may also add custom routes to directions in Maps. 🧭
  • Release date: iOS 18 will be previewed in June 2024. 📆

iOS 18 has long been rumored to focus on artificial intelligence, but several rumors also suggest plenty of other types of features may soon come to the iPhone’s operating system, including a few new features in Apple Maps.

Specifically, Apple Maps in iOS 18 is expected to gain a topographical maps view and also the ability to choose custom routes when using the Maps app to get directions.

Let’s look at topographical maps first. Topographical maps show the elevation of the surrounding landscape. This allows a user to see how much the elevation in any given area rises or lowers. Topographical maps are especially useful to hikers who often travel on trails that may wind high into the countryside.

Apple first introduced topographical maps to the Apple Watch with the release of watchOS 10. The Apple Watch exclusive feature made sense as many people with Apple Watches are active outdoors, so the topographical view was likely a benefit to a great many Apple Watch hikers.

But now code found by MacRumors suggests Apple is ready to add topographical maps to iOS 18, macOS 15, and visionOS 2 later this year. Topographical maps would likely take the shape of another view you could choose to show on a map–much like you can choose to view a map with starlight imagery now, for example.

MacRumors also found evidence in code that Apple is planning to add another feature to Maps this year: the ability to choose custom routes for directions. Right now Apple Maps gives users multiple options on how to get somewhere, if available. But Apple Maps users currently cannot tell the app that the user wants directions via a certain street or highway.

A user may want directions using a certain route, for example, if they want to take a scenic way to get there—one that is not necessarily the fastest or most efficient.

It’s unknown if these two features will be the only features coming to Apple Maps in iOS 18, or if the Maps app will gain additional features. 

Besides the new Map features, iOS 18 is also expected to gain a host of other capabilities. One of the major features of iOS 18 is rumored to be a generative AI chatbot via a revamped Siri. However, instead of Apple using its own internal AI chatbot, the company is rumored to be in talks with OpenAI and Google to use their AI technology to power some of the artificial intelligence features in iOS 18.

Apple is also said to be in talks with Baidu in China to use its AI to power some of its generative AI features in China in iOS 18.

In addition to the new map features and the new generative AI features, iOS 18 is also rumored to give users greater ability to customize the iPhone’s home screen. Apple is reportedly adding the ability for users to add empty spaces between icons–or even entire rows or columns.

Icons would still be spaced on an invisible grid, but now they wouldn’t automatically slot right next to each other, which would give users more control over the look of each iPhone home screen.

Apple will show off the first preview of iOS 18 at WWDC24 in June.

Michael Grothaus

Michael Grothaus is an American author and journalist with a flair for exploring the intersection of technology, creativity, and digital culture. With a background in film, journalism, and creative writing, he brings a unique perspective to the world of mobile technology. His work has been featured in renowned publications like Fast Company, The Guardian, and Engadget. At KnowYourMobile, Michael leverages his extensive knowledge to guide readers through the complexities of mobile devices, helping them make informed choices in the fast-paced tech landscape.

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