Google Maps rolls out big new features for iPhone, including Dark Mode

It’s a lucky day for iOS users who rely on Google Maps to find their way around! Google has released three handy new features for its popular turn-by-turn navigation and mapping software. These tweaks won’t shake-up your experience too much, but are sure to make getting around that little bit easier.

First of all, letting people know where you are just got simpler too. Maps will now integrate with iMessage to allow you to share your real-time location with friends and family. This is already a feature in WhatsApp and other chat apps, but it’s a very welcome addition to help us all feel a bit safer when we’re out and about.

By tapping the Google Maps button in the iMessage app, your location will be shared with the contact or group of your choosing.

Even better, it will update as you move around so people can track your movements and make sure you get where you’re going safely. By default, the location sharing will last for one hour, but you can extend this up to three days – far more than WhatsApp allows.

It’s not clear yet whether you’ll be able to share your location with contacts who don’t use iMessage, however.

Is opening the main app to check the traffic a little too much hassle? Google Maps has you covered. The new traffic widget shows information about traffic in an area, right from your home screen. Handy for when you’re setting off in a hurry. You can also search for your favourite places or navigate to frequent destinations from the new widget.

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To access it, you’ll need to update your Google Maps to the latest version and install the new widget, using these easy steps.

  1. From your home screen, touch and hold a widget or an empty area until your apps jiggle.
  2. In the upper-left corner, tap the Add button.
  3. Search for and tap the Google Maps app.
  4. Swipe to select a widget, then tap Add Widget.
  5. Tap Done

Finally, Google Maps is following virtually every other major app on the market in rolling out a new Dark Mode. This will switch your maps, menus and the rest of the interface into a black base with more muted blue outlines for roads, buildings and boundaries. Other elements like menus, tabs and place suggestions will be in a light grey colour.

This should provide a welcome relief for screen fatigue and tired eyes when on the road. Google adds it will help you save your battery by dimming the screen brightness.

When it launches, you’ll be able to toggle Dark Mode in the app’s Settings. This option has been available to Android users since March, so it’s about time iOS customers saw the benefits, too.

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