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6 Apple Maps features that will make your family road trip easier

Heading out on a family road trip? Third apps like Waze may be all the rage, but don’t forget about the trusty Apple Maps. It comes fully installed on your iPhone and can be quite helpful when heading out on the road. Sure, when Apple Maps first came on the scene in 2012, users weren’t too impressed. Over the years, Apple has added new features to its maps. When you hit the highway for those tournament weekends, vacations or an old-fashioned road trip, don’t forget to pack your Apple Maps. Apple’s latest updated version of maps offers helpful options and road trip tips to make the drive safer and assist you when you arrive at your destination. Check out these six cool Apple Map features on your next family road trip.

road accident alert sign in the road

Reporting accidents and road hazards

Like Waze, Apple Maps 14.5 lets drivers report accidents and other issues on the road including speed checks. Using Siri, a driver can report an accident on a specific highway by saying “crash in the road.” Siri will send the report. A passenger can do the same manually by tapping the up arrow and clicking on report. After clicking on report, the choices include accident, hazard or speed check.

Share ETA

Once you plug in the directions for your destination, Apple Maps provides users with an estimated time of arrival. A new option for those of us always running late is sharing your estimated time of arrival by clicking on an icon instead of texting or calling to let people know when you’ll be there. You can alert the office when you’ll be getting in, or let the relatives know you’ll be at the house in 10 minutes by touching Share ETA on the bottom of the direction screen. Miss the prompt? No worries. You can still locate the feature by utilizing the arrow in the bottom corner. From there, you will see a screen pop up where you can find the Share ETA icon.

Highway toll plaza

Avoid tolls or highways

Did you forget to return the E-Zpass? It happens. When you type your destination into Apple Maps, three routes typically come up with the fastest first. The options will let you know if tolls are required. If you’re not in the mood to pay tolls or left the E-Zpass in a different vehicle, don’t choose that route. The same goes for wanting to take the scenic route. Not all of us enjoy highway driving and prefer routes avoiding busy highways.

Find nearby

When on vacation or exploring a new place on a road trip, it can be hard to know where to go for gas or to eat. Where is the nearest park or Post Office if you forgot to mail the credit card payment that’s been sitting in your car for a week? With Apple Maps’ Find Nearby feature, users can locate general restaurants, places serving breakfast or lunch, fast food, grocery stores or coffee shops. You can also find the closest public library, pizza or hospital. If you need to find the nearest COVID-19 testing or vaccination spot, it’s there, too.


Part of the fun of a family road trip is spontaneity. So, you may be planning your trip on the fly. Thanks to Apple Maps’ guides, you have access to free things to do in popular destinations like New York City, Boston, San Diego and more. The guides also include Canadian and global hot spots like Toronto, Paris and London. The city guides offer up everything from hotels, to food, to trails, to free things to do and beyond. The 14.5 Apple Maps features guides to National Parks in the area. Users can save the guides they’re interested in for future use as well. This convenient feature makes planning trips easier. It’s a space saver, too, because you can say goodbye to guide books and those visitor maps that clutter up the car.

Pause Siri’s voice

While some drivers find Siri’s gentle lane reminders or direction updates comforting, others may think it’s annoying if it’s interrupting the podcast you’re listening to. The solution is to go into settings and put on the Pause Spoken Audio. Then, you won’t miss a minute to that riveting podcast or your favorite song because it will pause while you get an update on your driving directions from Siri. Drivers can also shut off Siri’s voice entirely, but doing so might make driving a bit dangerous if you have to keep looking to your smartphone for directions.

Family enjoying a podcast during a road trip
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Other helpful Apple Maps features

Don’t forget there are other options on Apple Maps to make trips a snap including:

  • Walking and cycling routes
  • Public transportation routes
  • Flyover
  • Find where you parked your car
  • Look inside (indoor maps of large places like airports and shopping malls)
  • Send directions to your iPhone from your Mac

Getting there is half the fun, and if you and your family are on the road a lot for athletic tournaments, dance and cheer competitions, science fairs, or just love to explore new places, you don’t have to rely on third-party apps to get there. Apple Maps may have gotten a bad rap after it switched over from Google Maps in 2012, but it’s come a long way since then. It offers users a lot of perks to get them to their destination safely and finding places to eat, sleep and enjoy once they arrive. The other appealing thing about Apple Maps is that it is already on your iPhone. You don’t have to try and find a direction app or pay for one. Apple Maps is free and doesn’t take up space in your suitcase. Try these Apple Map features on your next family road trip, and don’t worry about where you park. Apple Maps will get you back to your vehicle even if it’s in one of those confusing and endless parking decks.

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Dawn Miller
Dawn Miller began her professional life as an elementary school teacher before returning to her first love, writing. In…
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