Apple has filed for a patent (number 20200045500) for a “user interface for providing offline access to maps” that hints at future features on the Maps app for iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, and macOS devices.
In the patent filing, Apple notes that while a user is using a map application on a mobile device, the map application can use a network (e.g., Internet connection) to obtain map data (e.g., map images, points of interest, etc.) for the mobile device’s current location from a map service over the network connection. The app can then provide various map related services to the user using the map data received from the map service.
To enable the user to continue using the maps service while the mobile device is offline (e.g., not connected to the network), the map application on the mobile device can download map data and store the map data on the mobile device so that the map data can be used when the mobile device is offline (e.g., not connected to the network). However, Apple says that it’s not always clear to a user what maps they will need in advance (e.g., it is not clear when they will be offline), what the maps to be downloaded contain, or how to manage maps once they are downloaded. The solution: a device/app combo that can proactively request offline map data for the relevant locations. A server can identify offline map data responsive to the request and send at least a portion thereof to the device in response.
Apple says that, in some implementations, the device can suggest downloading offline map data for the relevant locations to a user before requesting the data. The user may be able to edit the location and/or search for other locations to download. The device may provide features for managing downloaded offline map content automatically and/or in response to user input.”