The Year of iOS in the Car – WWDC 2017

During Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, California on June 5, 2017, Apple announced a few features in iOS that will make using an iPhone in the car much nicer. Here they are in random order.

  1. One-handed zoom in Maps
  2. New Siri voice
  3. Lane guidance
  4. Time away from locations in QuickType
  5. Indoor maps for malls and airports
  6. Speed limit
  7. Do not disturb while driving
  8. ARKit (more on that in a bit)

One-handed Zoom in Maps

Google Maps and other map apps have had this feature for a while. The idea is that you can double tap and hold, then swipe up or down to zoom in and out, instead of pinching to zoom. This is a well-welcomed feature for map use.

New Siri Voice

When you are using Siri in the car, a natural voice will be easier to understand. Since Siri is using machine learning to make the voice better, we can hope that street pronunciation will improve.

Lane Guidance

When driving, knowing what lane(s) are part of an exit is extremely helpful, especially on highways and interstates and other multi-lane roads. Again, Google Maps has had this for a while, and is very welcomed.

Time Away from Locations in QuickType

In iOS 11 you’ll be able to say how far you are from locations in QuickType – the gray bar of suggestions right above the keyboard. The example given in the keynote presentation was someone asking “how long until you get home?” and a suggestion showing “8 min, home” as a suggestion. I used to have a Workflow set up for this exact reason.

Indoor Maps for Malls and Airports

When driving to a mall or airport, specific drop-off or entry planning can be tricky. This will allow you to find the best spot to start walking, and will make your trip easier once you’ve left your car.

Speed Limit

Apple Maps will now show the speed limit in the top left corner, under the main navigation. Helpful for unfamiliar areas, or when that police car appears.

Do Not Disturb while Driving

If you’re looking to be safe while driving, you know a phone alerting you with notifications can be a distraction. This setting allows you to go dark while driving, and the feature is enabled once you start moving quickly or connect to a car’s bluetooth. I’ll try this feature out, and can do so safely since people can text and see you’re in driving mode, but still able to alert you by replying with  “urgent”. I’m curious to see how it pairs with Apple Watch, since that is how most of my notifications are presented to me.


One of the features of iOS 11 is ARKit which is for augmented reality – putting rendered graphics on top of a video feed. ARKit can recognize surfaces (roads) and rectangles (signs) and can place images on top of the real world, including realistic shadows and lighting. Imagine a real video feed being overlayed with images to help you find the entrance to a complicated area. Imagine your phone being able to understand what you’re seeing and help pass that info on to you, like what a sign said. Who knows, but I think this could be a feature we see soon.

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