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Google Maps on iOS finally gets dark mode and more overdue upgrades

Google Maps on iOS is getting a major update, including the long-requested dark mode for those occasions when users are driving or navigating in lower light conditions.

Google says the update – which also includes live home screen widgets and a mini app for iMessage – will assist users experiencing screen fatigue. The company says going to the ‘dark side’ will also save on battery life.

It’s coming within the next few weeks to all users, so you may not see it immediately. Google says it’ll be available within the app’s Settings menu. Just head to dark mode and select “On”.

The addition of a dark mode will be a welcome one for Google Maps loyalists on enemy territory. Apple has had a dark mode version of Maps for a couple of years now, tempting some users away from the classic navigation app.

Elsewhere, Google is finally serving up some home screen widgets for the iOS app, enabling users to quickly access key functionality without delving into the app itself. The company says it will ensure users can find the information they need, faster.

In a blog post, Google writes: “One of Google Maps’ most powerful features is the ability to see live traffic conditions in an area. With the new nearby traffic widget, you can now access this information for your current location right from your home screen. So if you’re about to leave home, work, school, or any other place, you’ll know at a glance exactly what traffic is like, and can plan accordingly.

Google Maps widgets

“Heading to one of your regular spots? With the new Google Maps search widget, you can search for your favourite places or navigate to frequent destinations with just a quick tap.”

Finally, Google is adding another long-requested feature; the ability to share live locations within iMessage. All users will need to do is to tap Google Maps from within the app drawer in iMessage. Tapping “stop” on the thumbnail will end the location sharing.

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