This September, iPhone users around the world were treated to the arrival of iOS 15.
This much-anticipated update delivered on a number of promises from Apple, such as:
- Security enhancements
- Bug fixes
- Changes to the interface
- New features and functions
- Improvements to native apps
When it comes to app improvements, Apple Maps users have not been left behind by iOS 15. There are noteworthy developments for local SEOs to be aware of.
These improvements to the Maps app have prompted some in the tech industry to declare that Apple could finally be offering a worthy alternative to Google Maps.
“Far from the fiasco of a launch it experienced in 2012, Apple Maps has recovered to become a legitimate challenger to Google Maps” – Neuf.tv
“Apple Maps hot on the heels of Google Maps with new iOS 15 updates” – T3.com
The Google Maps vs Apple Maps battle has been ongoing for many years, with the consensus generally being that Google has remained the champion throughout. However, the Apple Maps revamp through iOS 15 is already proving popular to Apple users. What’s more, it is clearly already enticing some people away from the Google alternative.
Apple maps vs. Google maps
— Jan Rezab (@janrezab) September 28, 2021
iOS 15 released last week, one of the big updates was inside maps. New high detailed maps for London is now live with some great new features. Love the new maps and can’t wait for it to expand to more places 👍#apple #applemaps #map #maps #detail #london #londonmap #iOS15 #AR pic.twitter.com/qXq4VxBX7e
— Jack Leigh (@AppleLeigh_Tech) September 28, 2021
What’s new with iOS 15 for Apple Maps?
There have been a number of exciting improvements to Apple Maps with this latest upgrade, including:
- Better filtering options for local business searches
- Enhanced navigation and travel experiences
- Updates to curated guides
Better Filtering Options for Local Business Searches
Apple Maps users now have access to better filters for local business information, and this update should catch the attention of those responsible for enhancing discovery of a local business.
For example, search results for a nearby restaurant can now be filtered according to a number of options. Users can filter by those that are currently open, or by the type of cuisine on offer.
These new filter capabilities mean that users can enjoy more relevant results. This will be an important time-saver when making decisions.
The filter upgrade makes it even more important that local business information is comprehensively provided and accurately kept up to date. If it’s not, then customers may easily overlook a good match in favor of one that they can clearly see meets their needs.
Many aspects of the Apple Maps experience have enjoyed a 3D upgrade, making it easier for users to identify their real-life surroundings. The improved navigation system, which now offers turn-by-turn direction instructions, gives users greater confidence in the route.
Enhanced Navigation and Travel Experiences
The navigation upgrades have clear benefits for those who are walking, driving, or taking public transport:
- Walking – iPhone users on foot can now scan nearby buildings to better understand their current location. Doing so enables them to obtain more detailed directions, which are demonstrated by arrows superimposed onto the screen.
- Driving – Drivers will appreciate that the conventional 2D map transitions into a 3D model when approaching an interchange. This will help drivers to better identify which lane they should be in, which could reduce mistakes and increase road safety.
- Public Transport – Public transport users now have the option to pin their favourite routes and obtain up-to-the-minute departure information. What’s more, alerts will be received as a user nears their desired stop.
Updates to Curated Guides
Although Curated Guides is not a new iOS 15 feature, it’s still worth knowing about as a business owner or local marketer, and it has been enhanced with this latest update.
Since iOS 14, Apple Maps users have had access to information on great local places to visit. All of the Curated Guides are regularly updated, so users can be sure to discover the latest and most relevant information.
The Curated Guides are crafted using the expert opinion of brands such as Time Out and The Washington Post. Users also have the option to create their own Guides to share with friends and family.
Being featured in a Guide—whether an expertly-crafted one or one that has been created by individual users—could lead to greater exposure and more customers.
What does this mean for local business owners and marketers?
As Apple focuses on improving its Maps app—by introducing new features and continuing to enhance existing capabilities—Google Maps users may be increasingly tempted to jump ship.
At the end of the day, everyone wants to have the best experience with each of the apps they use. This means brand loyalty may take second place to the desire for a seamless experience.
Apple Maps currently boasts up to 100 million users in the US alone, and this number looks set to grow as the improvements keep coming. As more people embrace Apple as their map provider of choice, it will naturally become more important that the businesses you manage are easily discoverable on the app. By paying attention now, you can ensure you are not going to be left behind in the future.
How can local businesses enhance their visibility on Apple Maps?
The first step to being visible on Apple Maps as a local business is to add or claim your Apple Maps listing. The process of claiming this business listing is incredibly quick, especially in comparison to Google My Business, so there’s no reason to put off getting started with Apple Maps.
Once the listing has been claimed, a local business can begin building a strong presence. Providing accurate location information—such as address and opening hours—is essential for a positive user experience and should always be a priority.
It’s also important to optimize business listings to make them more discoverable by users seeking a relevant product or service. While considering how to do this, it’s useful to know that Apple Maps still relies on third-party review data, primarily from Yelp, Foursquare, and Tripadvisor. So in order to optimize your listing with positive reviews and photos, it’s important to build a presence on these sites.
A Word on Voice Search
Since Siri uses information from Apple Maps for location-based queries, being visible here is important for local businesses.
More than 500 million devices around the world have the potential to use Siri to find information, with as many as 62% of iPhone users reporting that they use this voice assistant to get answers while driving. This means that if someone is searching for a local business while at the wheel, those succeeding at Apple Maps are going to be front and center in the results.
Ready to take action?
Now that you know all about the Apple Maps update, you will want to consider how to use this information to your advantage.
By evaluating your existing strategy for Apple Maps, you can determine how you can enhance and optimize your presence.
With the long-reigning dominance of Google Maps, you could be forgiven for overlooking the Apple alternative in the past. Getting ahead of the curve now could prove invaluable in the not-too-distant future!