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Google Maps for iOS adds offline navigation, gas prices, and more

Google today updated its Maps app for iOS, bringing over some features that've been on Android for about a month. The biggest among them is much better offline maps support. Now you can select a portion of the map and save it locally onto your iPhone or iPad. And this does more than just save the local street layout. Saving a section of Maps lets you search for destinations even without a data connection; you can also get turn-by-turn navigation, business hours, and contact details when offline.

If there's one key thing still missing, it's mass transit directions. You'll still need to be online to receive subway or train routes. Same goes for walking or biking directions. Hopefully those'll also arrive at some point, but you'll obviously have to weigh how much storage you want Google Maps using up on your phone. Downloading offline maps in New York City can take around 300MB, as one example. On the plus side, they'll automatically expire after a month, so you won't get stuck with wasted space if you forget to delete offline maps manually.

Aside from improved offline support, Google is also adding gas prices to Maps for iOS, and when viewing local businesses, you'll now see when those places are most busy throughout the week and on a given day. That should be pretty useful as we enter the desperate holiday shopping frenzy. Again, this is stuff that Maps on Android has already offered for a bit, but now both versions are basically at parity.