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iOS 9 brings public transit directions to Apple Maps

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Update: Read the iOS 9 review.

iOS 9 will give Apple Maps users the ability to receive public transit directions, restoring core functionality that Apple's mobile operating system lost when the company replaced Google Maps with its own software in 2012. Software VP Craig Federighi just announced the long-awaited feature, which covers bus, ferry, subway, and train routes, on stage at Apple's WWDC keynote. In the United States, launch cities will include Baltimore, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington DC. Transit directions will also be available internationally in London, Toronto, and Berlin.


Before Apple made the decision to move away from Google and create Apple Maps, iOS users were long accustomed to getting public transit directions from the default maps app. Google brought transit directions to iOS in 2008. Back then, Google had transportation schedules for over 100 countries, and seven years later, Apple is starting off at a smaller scale. 9to5Mac was first to report that public transit would be bundled in as part of iOS 9, later expanding to mention its limited rollout. Apple had reportedly originally aimed to launch the feature with iOS 8 last year, but ultimately pushed those plans back to further improve transit. Part of that revolves around a huge focus on transit in China; Maps will support public transit in 300 cities in China.

Google Maps old iOS

Public transit directions were built into iOS between 2008 and 2012.

Today, Google's number has stretched to 18,000 cities, something that the company was happy to highlight in a recent blog post ahead of WWDC. Google Maps has held close to the top of Apple's free app charts since it was launched as a standalone app in 2012. Apps like Transit and Citymapper have also filled the gap in the absence of transit features from Apple's own software. But after making a number of transit-focused acquisitions, Apple will now attempt to provide a feature that can rival Google's when it comes to getting you from point A to point B via bus, subway, or train. Owing to its built-in status, Apple's Federighi said that Apple Maps is far more popular than Google's app, touting that it receives 5 billion requests per week and is used 3.5-times more frequently than the "next leading maps app."

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