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With iOS and iPadOS 14.5 scheduled for an early spring release, Apple has begun testing a new feature that could provide Apple Maps users with real-time crowd data for points of interest, similar to Google Maps.

ios-14.5-maps-feature.jpg

In the iOS and iPadOS 14.5 beta, an updated section in the "Location Services" menu of Apple's Privacy settings states that Apple will collect data from users, such as when a specific app is opened near a point of interest, to determine how crowded the location is, and whether that specific business is open:
Routing and Traffic: While you are in transit (for example, walking or driving), your iPhone will periodically send GPS data, travel speed and barometric pressure information in an anonymous and encrypted form to Apple, to be used for augmenting crowd-sourced road traffic and atmospheric correction databases. Additionally, when you open an app near a point of interest (for example, a business or park), your iPhone will send location data in an anonymous and encrypted form to Apple, which Apple may aggregate and use to let users know if that point of interest is open and how busy it is.

The wording suggests that if a user opens an app for a specific business or service near a related point of interest on Apple Maps, Apple may aggregate that data to possibly inform other users of how crowded that location is and whether the business/service is operating. Notably, Apple says it will only collect anonymized and encrypted data from users when the "Routing and Traffic" setting is turned on within Location Services -> System Services.

Currently, Apple Maps offers no front-facing interface for displaying this data to users. The lack of the feature on the visual front and Apple's wording implies that Apple is testing and collecting data to potentially launch a related feature in the official public release of iOS 14.5, or perhaps in a release subsequent to it.

IMG_0743.jpg
Google Maps Live Crowd Data

Google Maps already offers a similar real-time feature called Live Visit Data that informs users of how busy a specific store or business is at a particular time. Google provides this data by gathering aggregated and anonymized data from users who have opted in to Google Location History.

Already present in iOS 14.5 beta is the ability for users to crowdsource car accidents, speed traps, and hazards within Apple Maps. The new addition to Apple Maps joins an already extensive list of features in iOS and iPadOS 14.5, including App Tracking Transparency, the ability to unlock your iPhone with a mask, and more. Apple says the update will roll out to all users in the "early spring."

(Thanks, Stijn!)

Article Link: iOS 14.5: Apple Maps Could Feature Real-Time Crowd Data for Points of Interest
 
Last edited:

dan98

macrumors regular
Oct 29, 2013
123
218
It’s been nice seeing Apple Maps go from what it was back in 2012 to a legitimate Google Maps competitor. Unfortunately, the stigma seems to be buried in deep: most people I see talking about it still don’t think it’s dependable.
Nothing to do with stigma IMO. It simply isn't anything like as mature or functional a product as Google Maps.
 

RedTheReader

macrumors regular
Nov 18, 2019
224
437
Nothing to do with stigma IMO. It simply isn't anything like as mature or functional a product as Google Maps.
That’s fine, and I think even most users of Apple Maps would concede to it.

The problem is that the people I’m talking about seem to think it’s only marginally better than 2012 and that it will literally lead them to the wrong destination.
 

shapesinaframe

macrumors regular
Jan 14, 2020
211
262
It’s been nice seeing Apple Maps go from what it was back in 2012 to a legitimate Google Maps competitor. Unfortunately, the stigma seems to be buried in deep: most people I see talking about it still don’t think it’s dependable.
Depends on where you live. Here in Thailand Apple Maps is still junk. Google Maps has 10x the amount of POI data.
 

mazz0

macrumors 68030
Mar 23, 2011
2,856
2,807
Leeds, UK
Apple has begun testing a new feature that could provide Apple Maps users with real-time crowd data for points of interest
The usefulness of this feature will be limited by the fact that Apple doesn’t actually know where the Points of Interest are.

It’s been nice seeing Apple Maps go from what it was back in 2012 to a legitimate Google Maps competitor. Unfortunately, the stigma seems to be buried in deep: most people I see talking about it still don’t think it’s dependable.
It’s not dependable. The fact it doesn’t always lead you to the wrong place doesn’t make it so. To be dependable the accuracy needs to be high, way higher than 50/50.

Have never used Google Map since Apple Map launched and so far I haven't been lost once.
I live in the centre of a major UK city and the points of interest (shops and restaurants) on my street are in the wrong location more often than they’re right. If I go to the very busiest shopping area then the shops are all in the right place, when they exist, but most aren’t shown, and that area is an outlier in its accuracy.

I’ve used Apple Maps for walking directions twice in the last year. Neither journey was perfect, at one stage I was instructed to walk along a ring road which had no pavement (I didn’t), although to be fair it did at least have the destination in the right place!

It also sounds like Apple’s approach of only counting data from people opening certain apps will fake this feature ever more useless. Places are crowded because there are lots of people there, not because there are lots of people there using a specific app! Sorry Apple, but Google’s data hoovering approach is simply more useful in these situations.
 
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RedTheReader

macrumors regular
Nov 18, 2019
224
437
It’s not dependable. The fact it doesn’t always lead you to the wrong place doesn’t make it so. To be dependable the accuracy needs to be high, way higher than 50/50.
You are exactly the sort of person I was referencing in comment #8. It’s not anywhere near 50/50. It wasn’t anywhere near that before the big 2019 update, and it certainly hasn’t been that way afterwards. Even in the places where it’s bad, the problem is the small database of locations, not inaccurate navigation.
 

1258186

Cancelled
Feb 5, 2021
813
1,006
I don’t like the idea of Apple randomly collecting data from my iPhone without my knowledge and/or explicit approval. I don’t care if it’s anonymised.
 
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CarpalMac

macrumors 68000
Nov 19, 2012
1,525
3,613
UK
I am guessing the most accurate reporting will be on how busy the nearest Starbucks is... 😏
 

shapesinaframe

macrumors regular
Jan 14, 2020
211
262
I don’t like the idea of Apple randomly collecting data from my iPhone without my knowledge and/or explicit approval. I don’t care if it’s anonymised.
Then Apple Maps will always suck, because constant input data from devices and users is what has made Google Maps so good.
 
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coolsean20

macrumors regular
Apr 23, 2014
233
137
Given how hard Apple are playing the privacy card, this needs to be opt-in. Even Google have this as an opt-in feature.
Notably, Apple says it will only collect anonymized and encrypted data from users when the "Routing and Traffic" setting is turned on within Location Services -> System Services.
I don’t like the idea of Apple randomly collecting data from my iPhone without my knowledge and/or explicit approval. I don’t care if it’s anonymised.
Did you guys not read in the new post that it’s opt-in? Just turn off the setting..
 

BuffaloTF

macrumors 65816
Jun 10, 2008
1,262
1,356
That’s fine, and I think even most users of Apple Maps would concede to it.

The problem is that the people I’m talking about seem to think it’s only marginally better than 2012 and that it will literally lead them to the wrong destination.

It provides betters navigation that Google Maps. Better handling of one ways. It’s on par with Waze. And before the ignorant reply hits - yes, Waze is owned by Google... but it’s still a separate company and their directions are absolutely not identical.
 

Just sayin...

macrumors 6502
Jan 8, 2008
342
542
Because I’m working on de-googling, I hate to say the following but, just this past weekend, Apple Maps gave me hideously incorrect walking directions to an unfamiliar store in a major outdoor mall. I seriously considered re-downloading Google Maps...just to find where I needed to be. Fortunately, a valet parking guy was able to point me in the right direction (Apple Maps was indicating the wrong way).
 

akashagrawal

macrumors newbie
Feb 25, 2021
9
20
It’s been nice seeing Apple Maps go from what it was back in 2012 to a legitimate Google Maps competitor. Unfortunately, the stigma seems to be buried in deep: most people I see talking about it still don’t think it’s dependable.
It's more than stigma, I'm afraid. It's gotten much better, yes, but I've had instances as recent as last week when something showed up in place that's completely different from reality (google got it right).
Also have had more than a few instances of apple maps flat not not having any data whatsoever on a place.
This is from India, fwiw.

That said, simply because it's more fluid and I like the overall experience more, I generally jump to apple maps first. I'd say it gets me the right data about 90% of time.
 
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jonnysods

macrumors 604
Sep 20, 2006
7,216
4,402
There & Back Again
It’s been nice seeing Apple Maps go from what it was back in 2012 to a legitimate Google Maps competitor. Unfortunately, the stigma seems to be buried in deep: most people I see talking about it still don’t think it’s dependable.
It's catching up for sure, but here in Canada it does some pretty wild stuff that you just wouldn't expect, even as late for me as December. I use google maps now, just because I need to depend on it for work. I'll give it more time!
 
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