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Google Maps for iOS gets dark mode and new location sharing features

A new update also adds more widgets.
This illustration picture shows Google map application displaying COVID-19 restrictions along your route on a smartphone in Arlington, Virginia on June 9, 2020. - A new version of Google's mapping service being rolled out will display pandemic-related transit alerts and let people know when buses or trains might be crowded. Updated versions of the free app for smartphones powered by Apple or Google-backed Android software will also let drivers know about COVID-19 checkpoints or restrictions on their routes. "We're introducing features to help you easily find important information if you need to venture out, whether it's by car or public transportation," Google Maps product management director Ramesh Nagarajan said in a blog post detailing updates. (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)
Saqib Shah
Saqib Shah|@eightiethmnt|August 3, 2021 12:00 PM

In the past year, Google Maps has received tons of new features to help you get around, pay for parking and keep abreast of new services in your vicinity. With its latest iOS update, Google is breaking out more of its most-used functions to help you access them faster. It's also adding a dark mode to lower the strain on your eyes and a new live location option for iMessage that can help you track friends and loved ones. 

The latter lets you share your real-time location while texting by tapping the Google Maps button. Though the feature is active for one hour by default, you can choose to extend it to up to three days or disable it by pressing the stop button. Live location recalls the safety features built into ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft.

If you frequently use Google Maps to check traffic conditions, you can now put that info directly on your home screen with a new widget. The same goes for the search bar, which lets you look up places to visit or find frequent destinations with a tap. Of course, the quick access features are made possible thanks to Apple's introduction of iPhone widgets with iOS 14 last fall.

Dark mode is self-explanatory and you can turn it on via settings. It's just odd that it took so long for the otherwise ubiquitous feature to reach Maps on iOS.

Google Maps for iOS gets dark mode and new location sharing features