How to plan multi-stop routes in Apple Maps | Cult of Mac

How to plan multi-stop routes in Apple Maps

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Apple finally got there.
Get directions to three or four places at once — and get directions to dinner along the way in iOS 16.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Apple Maps had a rough start upon launch in 2012, but ten years of incremental improvements have changed the tides. Apple Maps is now a feature-rich service that is praised for its detail and accuracy. Not only is it a highly detailed portrayal of the world, its advanced navigation features make it easy to get around. Its public transit integration was a life saver when I was in California for WWDC just months ago.

Apple Maps gets an often-requested feature fulfilled this fall: true multi-stop routing and navigation features. You can plan three, four, fifteen stops of a journey if you want. Here’s how it works.

How to plan multi-stop routes in Apple Maps

To use this feature, you need to install iOS 16. iOS 16 is compatible with every iPhone released in 2017 and later: the iPhone 8, X, XS, 11, 12, 13, 14 models and iPhone SE (both second and third generation). iPadOS 16 and macOS Ventura will be released sometime later in October.

Get directions in Apple Maps

Get driving, walking or public transit directions to your destination, just as before.
Get driving, walking or public transit directions to your destination, just as before.
Screenshot: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Navigating from wherever you are to a particular address works much the same. Search for a business, tap on any location, type in an address and tap Directions. You can select between Driving, Walking, Transit (where available) Cycling and Ride Sharing (with a third-party app like Uber or Lyft).

Add one or two or 15 stops to your journey.
Add one or two or 15 stops to your journey. Reorder them by dragging the grabber on the right.
Screenshot: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

To add another spot, just tap Add Stop to search for another destination. You can reorder the stops by holding on the handle on the right and dragging up and down.

What really annoys me is that there’s not a button to search for a stop between the two destinations from this screen. If I want to search for a dinner spot along the route to Lancaster, I have to first begin navigation. Luckily, it’s easy enough to do during navigation.

Search for a stop along your route

Search for stops along your route after you’ve begun navigation.
Search for stops along your route after you’ve begun navigation.
Screenshot: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

From navigation, swipe up on the menu at the bottom and tap Add Stop. You can search for specific places or broad categories like “hardware store” or “dinner.” The search results will show you how far off your path they are and how much time it will add. I’ve noticed it never shows less than one minute, even if the stop is literally along the same road.

Select a destination and tap Add. Your ETA and miles will switch from the final destination to the next stop. To remove any destination from the queue, just swipe up or tap on the menu and tap the red circle.

Pause and resume navigation

Pause navigation while you’re at your detour.
Pause navigation while you’re at your detour.
Screenshot: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

When you arrive at a middle stop, you’ll have two options.

Next Stop will immediately resume navigation to the next stop in the list; tap this if you’re getting right back on the road (like if you’re picking somebody up or dropping them off).

Pause Route will temporarily pause navigation until you’re ready to leave again. This is  a great choice if you’re stopping for dinner or making a pit stop — your phone won’t keep the navigation screen up while it’s in your pocket at a restaurant. The next time you open Maps, tap Resume Navigation and it’ll continue to the next stop in the queue.

Overall, this is a very smart implementation of multi-stop routing. Apple had a half-hearted implementation of this earlier; it’s good to see this feature fully fleshed out. My only remaining qualm is the search function works differently before and after you start navigation — once you already have your final destination up, you can search for stops along that route, but you have to begin navigation first. iOS 16 is already out, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed for 16.1.