Inside iOS 9: Apple's Maps app gets smarter with automatic directions based on user habits

Posted:
in iPhone edited October 2015
A major focus for Apple in building iOS 9 is making it even easier to access the information you need, in part by predicting what you want before you unlock your phone. One way the upcoming operating system does that is by knowing when you get into your car, and predicting where you're probably planning to drive.




iOS previously offered just estimated travel times in the Notification Center's Today view. But upon upgrading to iOS 9, users will find that travel directions will become even more convenient, with popular destinations automatically showing up on the iPhone's lock screen.

Reddit user "MrMacNeil" first noticed that after getting into their car after work, directions home appeared on their iPhone's lock screen. Other users also commented to confirm that the functionality works on their Apple Watch as well.

With iOS 9, the iPhone knows when a user gets in their car because of a connection to the vehicle's infotainment system, either via Bluetooth or USB.

Making its mobile operating system more proactive has been a major focus for Apple in iOS 9. Most notably, the search function gains a new feature dubbed Siri Suggestions, which can suggest frequently used apps, nearby businesses, contacts, news topics and more.

As iOS learns a user's habits, Siri Suggestions evolve and present information that it thinks the person might want quick access to. This is akin to the Google Now service, but Apple has placed an emphasis on protecting personal data, and anonymizing any information that might be sent through the Internet, to differentiate its service from its rival.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 81
    poksipoksi Posts: 481member
    Hm.... How does that go together with anti-gobbling data policy?
  • Reply 2 of 81
    This is all well and good, but are you able to select different options like "avoid highways," or "avoid tolls," or get detour suggestions when heavy traffic is ahead yet? My 2009 BMW has this capability, if anyone wants to take Apple Maps seriously then these basic functions should be included.
  • Reply 3 of 81
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,817member
    Automatically getting directions seems like a waste of battery and data usage. I certainly know how to get to and from work and 99% of the other places I travel. I presume it will be able to be switched off. However, I would appreciate a bit of traffic data if my normal route has abnormal traffic conditions.

    One thing I would like is the ability for the phone to automatically turn off wifi when I get in the car. I hate when the phone latches on to a weak wifi connection when I'm stopped at a light and switches off my LTE data. This wreaks havoc with Siri, Radio, Maps and everything else that uses data.
  • Reply 4 of 81
    inklinginkling Posts: 731member
    How irritating. Apple seems to be creating a nanny operating system that treats users like children who need to have their every step guided by someone wiser.

    It also reminds me of Microsoft's irritating Clippy. It'd try to type something and Clippy would come up asking me if I wanted to write a letter. Oh, I I hated it.
  • Reply 5 of 81
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,743member

    *First minute of family road trip*

     

    Siri:

     

    "Hello, Quadra 610. Would you like me to take you to Scores Gentleman's Club and Bar again?"

     

    Uh.....

  • Reply 6 of 81
    websnapwebsnap Posts: 224member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by poksi View Post



    Hm.... How does that go together with anti-gobbling data policy?

     

    It doesn’t – it is anonymous to apple and never leaves the device. For instance, If I have my phone and my watch with me, those devices get it because they are naturally connected. My iPad on my desk never got it and they aren’t keeping it connected to my iCloud account so it’s not saved any in any profile.

  • Reply 7 of 81
    wigbywigby Posts: 687member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mike1 View Post



    Automatically getting directions seems like a waste of battery and data usage. I certainly know how to get to and from work and 99% of the other places I travel. I presume it will be able to be switched off. However, I would appreciate a bit of traffic data if my normal route has abnormal traffic conditions.



    One thing I would like is the ability for the phone to automatically turn off wifi when I get in the car. I hate when the phone latches on to a weak wifi connection when I'm stopped at a light and switches off my LTE data. This wreaks havoc with Siri, Radio, Maps and everything else that uses data.

    I don't think it's automatically getting directions. It's suggesting destinations. So if you choose that destination, then you get turn-by-turn directions to it. It probably does a 2 second GPS scan when it first connects to your car's bluetooth so no battery issues. I do wish I could train and edit it's destination suggestions. Otherwise, I really doubt it will learn my preferences fast enough to be useful.

     

    I do like your idea of turning off Wi-Fi in the car unless you have connected car which relies on built-in WiFi. In any case, that should be a selectable option to automatically disable.

  • Reply 8 of 81
    websnapwebsnap Posts: 224member

    Quote:



    Originally Posted by mike1 View Post



    Automatically getting directions seems like a waste of battery and data usage. I certainly know how to get to and from work and 99% of the other places I travel. I presume it will be able to be switched off. However, I would appreciate a bit of traffic data if my normal route has abnormal traffic conditions.


     

    That’s what it does, that’s why it says “traffic is light”. So you can plan with some traffic data. You can turn it off in your settings but it really is not noticeable if there is a drain – again, it only does this if you connect to your car’s bluetooth... not just randomly throughout the day.

  • Reply 9 of 81
    wigbywigby Posts: 687member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by websnap View Post

     

     

    It doesn’t – it is anonymous to apple and never leaves the device. For instance, If I have my phone and my watch with me, those devices get it because they are naturally connected. My iPad on my desk never got it and they aren’t keeping it connected to my iCloud account so it’s not saved any in any profile.




    Apple is painting themselves in a corner here. The only reason to activate iCloud on all devices is to synchronize the same account across all devices. An independent but cloud connected device will not behave the way most users think it will.

  • Reply 10 of 81
    websnapwebsnap Posts: 224member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Inkling View Post



    How irritating. Apple seems to be creating a nanny operating system that treats users like children who need to have their every step guided by someone wiser.



    It also reminds me of Microsoft's irritating Clippy. It'd try to type something and Clippy would come up asking me if I wanted to write a letter. Oh, I I hated it.



    Not at all – you can turn it off if you like. It’s a non-icteruptive feature, it’s not handholding at all and like any other notification you can turn it off if it’s not for you. I found it very hand this weekend though.

  • Reply 11 of 81
    wigbywigby Posts: 687member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Inkling View Post



    How irritating. Apple seems to be creating a nanny operating system that treats users like children who need to have their every step guided by someone wiser.



    It also reminds me of Microsoft's irritating Clippy. It'd try to type something and Clippy would come up asking me if I wanted to write a letter. Oh, I I hated it.



    How so? Isn't the point of superior AI that users don't have to think about all the mundane little details in order to concentrate on work or fun or people? Five years from now, the idea of asking Siri for help in the hopes that you phrased the question just right or that she is capable of even knowing and executing the most basic queries is going to seem hopelessly outdated.

  • Reply 12 of 81
    websnapwebsnap Posts: 224member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wigby View Post

     



    Apple is painting themselves in a corner here. The only reason to activate iCloud on all devices is to synchronize the same account across all devices. An independent but cloud connected device will not behave the way most users think it will.




    I don’t see how. There are two levels of iCloud data – things that should be synchronized and things that should not. Things that are device specific (location, touchID, cellphone tower data) don’t need to be synchronized nor need to be in apple’s servers. Things that a person specific (my email, my contacts, my photos, my music play counts) should be synchronized and should be backed up on servers incase something goes wrong. If my phone dies, I want device specific information to die with it (again, TouchID data, locations, call/cell info). But my User specific stuff should be able to be retrievable when registering a new device.



    Very simple stuff.

  • Reply 13 of 81
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,985member
    websnap wrote: »
    It doesn’t – it is anonymous to apple and never leaves the device. For instance, If I have my phone and my watch with me, those devices get it because they are naturally connected. My iPad on my desk never got it and they aren’t keeping it connected to my iCloud account so it’s not saved any in any profile.
    As you suggested your "frequent locations" stays on your device instead of being sent to Apple. That does not mean when traveling to the "frequent location" that your your travel data is not being sent to Apple in an "anonymized" form tho. Two different things, and FWIW it's been shown repeatedly that anonymized data does not necessarily remain anonymous. When combined with 3rd party info it's not hard to figure out exactly who you are. Note tho that when they're combined it's to be treated as personal information meaning it won't be shared except under very specific conditions.
  • Reply 14 of 81
    websnapwebsnap Posts: 224member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post





    As you suggested your "frequent locations" stays on your device instead of being sent to Apple. That does not mean when traveling to that "frequent location" that your your travel data is not being sent to Apple in an "anonymized" form tho. Two different things.



    Can you point me in the direction of where that is labeled by Apple as two different things? Nothing I have gotten from apple suggests that, so if you could show me that I would like to be better informed.

  • Reply 15 of 81
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,985member
    websnap wrote: »

    Can you point me in the direction of where that is labeled by Apple as two different things? Nothing I have gotten from apple suggests that, so if you could show me that I would like to be better informed.

    Traffic: If you're physically moving (for example, traveling in a car), your iOS device will periodically send GPS locations and travel speed information in an anonymous and encrypted form to Apple, to be used for augmenting a crowd-sourced road traffic database.

    Popular Near Me: Your iOS device will periodically send locations of where you have purchased or used apps in an anonymous and encrypted form to Apple to improve a crowd-sourced database. This database may be used to offer geographically relevant apps and other products and services.

    Frequent Locations: To learn places that are significant to you, your iOS device will keep track of places you have recently been, as well as how often and when you visited them. This data is kept solely on your device and won't be sent to Apple without your consent. It will be used to provide you with personalized services, such as predictive traffic routing.

    Location-Based iAds: Your iPhone will send your location, including travel speed and direction, to Apple to provide you with geographically relevant iAds.

    Spotlight Suggestions: When you use Spotlight or Spotlight Suggestions in Safari, the location of your iOS device at the time you submit a search query to Spotlight or Safari will be sent to Apple to make Spotlight Suggestions more relevant and to improve other Apple products and services. If you turn off Location Services for Spotlight Suggestions, your precise location won't be sent to Apple. To deliver relevant search suggestions, Apple may use the IP address of your Internet connection to approximate your location by matching it to a geographic region.
  • Reply 16 of 81
    adrayvenadrayven Posts: 460member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by RedRaider2011 View Post



    This is all well and good, but are you able to select different options like "avoid highways," or "avoid tolls," or get detour suggestions when heavy traffic is ahead yet? My 2009 BMW has this capability, if anyone wants to take Apple Maps seriously then these basic functions should be included.



    I read that as "avoid trolls".. heh

  • Reply 17 of 81
    wigbywigby Posts: 687member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by websnap View Post

     



    I don’t see how. There are two levels of iCloud data – things that should be synchronized and things that should not. Things that are device specific (location, touchID, cellphone tower data) don’t need to be synchronized nor need to be in apple’s servers. Things that a person specific (my email, my contacts, my photos, my music play counts) should be synchronized and should be backed up on servers incase something goes wrong. If my phone dies, I want device specific information to die with it (again, TouchID data, locations, call/cell info). But my User specific stuff should be able to be retrievable when registering a new device.



    Very simple stuff.




    It's all simple when you only approach it as backup data like you suggest. This story is talking about location-based suggestions and Siri being proactive. Most Apple users have more than one device so that features like handoff function in an iOS ecosystem. When you remove the ability to "handoff" iCloud data from one device to another, you cripple the experience of proactive and seamless AI.

  • Reply 18 of 81
    I want Apple Maps to realize, after about the millionth time, that I prefer one road over another. It would also be nice if Apple Maps, after the millionth time, realizes that when I park in my driveway that that's where I live, not two doors down. It should learn through repetition preferred routes and locations.
  • Reply 19 of 81
    ITT: a lot of people that really don't know how this works and didn't know the Notification Center today view did almost the same thing already.
  • Reply 20 of 81
    wigbywigby Posts: 687member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Jim Gramze View Post



    I want Apple Maps to realize, after about the millionth time, that I prefer one road over another. It would also be nice if Apple Maps, after the millionth time, realizes that when I park in my driveway that that's where I live, not two doors down. It should learn through repetition preferred routes and locations.



    One road over another is one thing. That's a pattern that software can accommodate. If Apple Maps is only 2 doors down from your driveway, that's a GPS accuracy issue, not software.

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