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Get Transit Directions in iOS 6 via Google Maps on the Web

iOS 6 introduced Apple’s new mapping solution, replacing Google Maps. With the latter going the way of the dodo bird, some may be disappointed that local transit directions are not available anymore, unless you download a local transit app. Think again.

You can still access local transit directions in iOS 6 by using Google Maps–on the web. It’s quite simple, detailed, and even shows your location. Here’s how to do it:

1.  Visit http://maps.google.com in Safari (and enable it to use your location).
2.  Tap on the directions icon–then enter in your start and end destinations (suggestions auto fill as you type; tap Show options to toggle kilometres).
3.  Tap the bus icon, then the blue go arrow. Your transit directions will show below, plus there’s also a map view.

 

Here’s a deeper look at the detailed walking directions on getting to bus stops; on the left there is the map view, which you can tap on each station for further detailed info:

 

Here on the left, is the detailed bus stop info from tapping on the map; on the right, saving Google Maps to the home screen has a nice high res icon:

 

This Google Map view on the web brings back memories when Google Latitude was web-based. As you travel on the bus, your location will be shown on the map via a blue dot. You can even save the Google Maps web app to your home screen; the icon is Retina ready.

So there you have it–you can still get your transit directions in iOS 6 with Google Maps on the web. Advantages of using this way for transit directions is that you leverage the power of Google for your local area, no matter where you may be. Standalone transit apps are typically curated for smaller areas, and not the world.

Let me know if this free solution works for you.

Thanks @dezumondo!

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter, and @iPhoneinCanada, and on Google+.

  • MrXax

    For those interested, I tried out a few transit apps today, and found that The Transit App (so clever!) is a free, quality solution.

  • http://www.iphoneincanada.ca Gary

    The Transit App is super polished and nice–however it is still expanding to cities across Canada.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jake.herve Jake Hervé

    You only get 20 free trips with that app, unless you pay for a subsciption. Personally i’m sticking to “HopStop” or the mobile google maps… ios was awesome till this let down…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=822257102 Omar Hassan

    This is totally messed up. I’m all excited about my new iPhone and then Apple just ruined one of the most important features and the only reason in my opinion is they just did it out of arrogance and to screw Google but in fact they screwed us.

  • http://www.justinluey.com Justin Luey

    This is a terrible solution (Google’s mobile apps are garbage). There are several apps in the app store that work with Apple’s new ‘Maps’ app. In Apple’s ‘Maps’ app, select transit, set your location, set your designation, hit route and you will get a list of compatible apps. When you select the app, it opens with your public transit routes. At this point, you need to have the apps installed. Apple isn’t suggesting anything.

    I like vTransit Global ( http://bit.ly/vtransit ) best so far. It launches from Apple’s “Maps”, it’s very easy to select a different route or time, and it uses Google’s API.

    So if you’ve been depending on Google’s Transit times, and you don’t want to use their terrible web app, this is the way to go.

  • Mikeo

    Steve Jobs died. Apple is going to go down the toilet by screwing it’s customers. They’ll pay for this.

    This makes the iphone a complete piece of crap.

  • http://www.justinluey.com Justin Luey

    Are you nuts?

    Apple just released the best (by far) mobile OS, they are a day away from releasing the best mobile computing device ever made, and their first crack at a mapping and navigation app is beautiful, intuitive, and fast.

    Does this sound like a company that is “going down the toilet”?

    I don’t know if Apple made the right decision when it comes to relying on third-party developers to handle public transit apps, but considering their new ‘Maps” app has been out for a few hours and there are already excellent apps that provide all the functionality of the old app, it looks pretty good.

    It’s Google that risks “going down the toilet” if they keep ignoring iOS users. Apple just proved we can live without them. I like Google, but I’m sick of their lazy, half-baked, web-based iOS apps.

  • Disapointed

    Nokia Maps are much better, but I’m still not upgrading to iOs 6 because of this. I probably use google maps (native app) on a daily basis. It worked really well on iPhone (better than Android) and hate the thought of losing that feature. Also no turn by turn for iPhone 4??? Starting to reconsider upgrading to 6S next year when my contract runs up. Might go Windows 8 if Nokia releases a smaller handset.

  • Disapointed

    PS: I meant Nokia mobile maps is better than Google mobile maps. Anyone looking for a solution, that’s the best one I found (but not good enough for me-sticking with iOs5 until Transit in Vancouver is native or Google releases standalone Map App)

  • http://www.justinluey.com Justin Luey

    How did they screw us?

    Apple isn’t dumb, they wouldn’t move away from Google just to screw them. Apple is just one of many large companies dropping Google, because of privacy, API restrictions, and API pricing.

  • http://www.justinluey.com Justin Luey

    Google never had a native app for iPhone (it’s a common misconception). Apple has always made the ‘Maps’ app, they previously used Google’s data and are now using a combination of their own and licensing.

    If Google gets it act together and releases a decent Google Maps app for iOS, Apple users will have the best of both worlds.

  • http://www.justinluey.com Justin Luey

    vTransit Global also has a free version. http://bit.ly/vtransitfree

    If you use this app with Apple’s ‘Maps” app, it’s just as good or better than the iOS 5 version of ‘Maps’.

  • nosnoop

    Of course, Apple would do anything to Google “just to screw them”.
    Google is its biggest competitor, Apple would like to have as little involvement and as little profit sharing with Google as possible. Lawsuits, dropping their apps… you name it; even if it means consumers have to put up with an inferior product.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shameer-Mulji/1685212657 Shameer Mulji

    “….and there are already excellent apps that provide all the functionality of the old app, it looks pretty good.”

    What are these excellent apps you’re referring to?

    As far Apple’s Maps being beautiful, intuitive, & fast, that’s not the perception the average joe is gonna get if they search for reviews across the web.

  • http://www.justinluey.com Justin Luey

    Sorry, but that is not how competition works in the tech industry. Right now, Apple is involved in several bitter lawsuits with Samsung, but at the same time, Samsung remains their largest supplier.

    Google and Apple are bitter rivals in smart phones, but are competitors and collaborators in several other areas.

    How exactly does this screw Google? What apps did Apple drop? Google pulled the plug on Apple’s YouTube app, and Apple’s ‘Maps’ app was never a Google branded app. Apple simply changed mapping data providers and implemented some of their own technology. Apple is only one of many companies to do this. Google’s map API is a concern right now, because of privacy, higher prices, and restricted access.

    Mapping is far too important for Apple to put all their eggs in Google’s basket.

    How exactly is it an inferior product?

    What is stopping Google from doing a Google Maps app for iOS? If anything it’s Google jeopardizing their standing with iOS users.

    If Google does release a decent Google Maps app, and we have the best of both worlds, how are we not better off?

  • http://www.justinluey.com Justin Luey

    Apple’s ‘Maps’ app plus vTransit Global works better than the iOS 5 version of ‘Maps’.

    If ‘The Transit App’ supports your city, it looks fantastic too.

    You’ll notice you can still select transit in iOS 6, it just launches to the appropriate app. And this is just day one, there will be many more.

    The tech press is mostly meaningless to Apple. Remember last week when a significant percentage of the tech press claimed the iPhone 5 was boring and was lacking when compared to some Android phones? How did that influence pre-orders?

    It will still be the best selling phone of the year (it won’t even be close), and will have the highest consumer satisfaction ratings.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=822257102 Omar Hassan

    Well you sound like defending Apple against Fandroids or something. I’m a big Apple fan but what I saw today on Apple Maps is just a half assed product. It’s far from being an alternative to the old Maps “at least for me”. Street view is far more useful than 3D in 10 downtown areas across the whole world. I liked how 3D buildings looked but when I wanted to see my house like I used before, I couldn’t and I bet it’s the same for everyone. I live in a very metropolitan area in Calgary and while we have 3D in downtown Calgary the rest of the city lsatellite view looks like garbage. The old one used to far more detailed information and business names right on the map, even in standard mode you can see diagrams of all the buildings. Now all this is gone and this is the definition of Apple screwing us “for me”. I wanted to be happy and I’m happy with some other features but Maps is far more important than Shared Photostream. Well here is for hoping Apple will get this thing quickly improved cause Samsung is already making fun of the new iPhone :|

  • http://www.justinluey.com Justin Luey

    That is a completely reasonable answer. Thank you.

    I have zero interest in Street View or Google’s satellite view, they were both fun novelties a few years ago and I haven’t used them since, but if they are both important to you, than I can see why this would be a disappointing product for you.

    But I still believe that it is Google dropping the ball. You are obviously a fan of Google’s mapping product, and they aren’t currently serving you (and their other users).

    Apple has released a credible alternative, which is nice for people who appreciate the qualities they bring to the table, and it increases competition (which is good for everyone).

    Apple’s ‘Maps’ has only been out for a few hours, and based on Apple’s track record will get better over time. Google needs to bring Google Maps to iOS users, before no one cares.

    Also remember that this conversation was originally about public transit, and the fact that the new app when used in conjunction with a supported third-party app is better than Google’s web app.

  • http://twitter.com/Chrome262 Chrome262

    map app offers other apps for the directions, no big deal. Seriously its way faster and smother then google maps. It should get better with time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/vasiljevicstefan Stefan Vasiljevic

    I am not sure why iPhone user expect an app for everything?! Google maps started out as web based app. you go online and do your thing the szme way you do it on a PC or Mac. Like I stated, for some reson iphone users expect an app that will have the same functionality as the web based app. JUST USE THE WEB BASED APP. There are many examples of apps like that, you name it. Also, is you want an icon on your springboard just add a bookmark to you springboard.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=822257102 Omar Hassan

    I’m quite sure Apple maps is going to beat Google version probably in a year or something but I was just expecting a lot from Apple, like they would beat Google from day one but yeah at least we have turn by turn navigation which is a nice addition. My main concern now is the lack of detailed business info right on the map and hopefully they will be fixed soon. Personally I’d rather hear from Apple that they are working on their maps than getting Google iOS app. Google should work on a decent YouTube app for iPad first lol
    Thanks for the talk and have a good day : )

  • Brian

    Any chance we’ll be able to download maps for certain locations so that we don’t need to rely on a data signal? Driving through some rural areas with little to no cell towers makes relying on the Maps app a daunting task. Obviously it’d take up a ton of space to add all of North America or even just Canada, but maybe you could pick regions you want to add. Third party SatNav apps offer this, and it’s their main selling point because the UI on them is usually terrible and ugly.

  • http://twitter.com/Chobertt EL Cockblock

    You’re using quotations incorrectly, Joey Tribbiani.
    Your argument is invalid.

  • MrXax

    I totally missed this drawback. Thanks!

  • Anthony

    I’m still on iOS 5 on my iPhone 4, and I’ve been spending my morning comparing the performance of the old maps app vs the Google Maps web app. By doing different types of searches (on my home’s wifi) I still find that the old maps app runs more fluidly, rather than the web app. The web app seems to get really slow and choppy. It’s really too bad, because I don’t think I’ll upgrade to iOS 6 until I have reason to believe that there is going to be a sufficient maps app for me.

  • http://twitter.com/ThePostalnator mikejpost

    Shit. Web apps suck balls! It’s so jittery and broken, there are plenty of TTC apps out there that are 1000 x better

  • http://twitter.com/ThePostalnator mikejpost

    One of them is Rocketman – use this kids and stop your crying

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=822257102 Omar Hassan

    Are you willing to teach me how to use them right?

  • http://www.iphoneincanada.ca Gary

    While Apple Maps are a nice start, they still have a long way to go before they can reach the level of detail of Google Maps. Just looking at the map view of Apple Maps vs Google Maps, and you can immediately tell who is the winner. Apple has an uphill battle to climb. Those that have used Apple Maps since the first iOS 6 beta–you know what I’m talking about.

  • Aro2220

    Well let’s see…by Apple not using the Google Maps service then Google loses all that user data — which is the lifeblood of a company that revolves around information mining.

    Apple’s ‘Maps’ app was not a google branded app — it was also inferior to the app on android (can’t use places, can’t create entries into your address book as easily, impossible to use other mapping features and searches that you can with android — I have an android and an ipad and there is a huge difference)

    As far as ‘privacy’ goes…the user end privacy hasn’t changed. It’s just instead of Google getting your mapping information, Apple gets it. Neither of them are any more or less private with your data. They are both data mining for themselves.

    And Apple has not ‘simply changed mapping data providers’ — they’ve spent billions creating their OWN service. This is hardly a ‘simple’ change. This is huge. And if you want to see how it’s an inferior product search for “iPhone 5 maps are awesome tumblr”. There’s a huge list of bugs and glitches and other screw ups related to their new mapping service. And yes I realize it’s new…but didn’t they beta test this first? And UNTIL they fix the bugs, they are still BUGS. We don’t live in an imaginary future so right now everyone with an iPhone 5 has an INFERIOR product (their mapping data is MUCH MUCH MUCH less complete than Google’s)

    Furthermore, you keep saying that Apple is “only one of many companies to do this.” Although I can’t think of any other company of significance, other than microsoft, that has switched from Google to another mapping service…and then Microsoft never used Google in the first place…they just up and made their own mapping service, which is also inferior when you start looking for who has the most up to date and complete information about businesses, street views, etc.

    To be honest, mapping is not the most significant thing that Apple relies on Google for — that would be Google search. As long as iPhone 5 users are using Google or Bing to search then your whole ‘privacy’ concern is kind of a moot point since you’re throwing everyone through Google’s servers anyway.

    Also, Google HAS released an iOS application. Apple has, so far, refused to approve it.

    Get your facts straight.

    It’s a bold move by Apple and IF IT WORKS, it’s a good move. But right now it is an inferior product and it’s one of the most significant applications you use your phone for after talk and text….so I’d say it’s pretty significant.

    I’m not saying that Apple has bitten off more than it can chew — it’s bigger than Google financially…but since Mr. Jobs has passed away I have noticed this emerging trend from Apple to start releasing all kinds of stuff at once instead of the old method of only releasing the TOP things and everything else goes on the shelf until it’s perfect. THat’s a very very very big difference from the old Apple and it will only compound its effect in the future. So I’m keeping my eye on that and so should anyone who is interested in tech trends.

    Cheers.

  • Aro2220

    At the moment it is not a credible alternative. It has major bugs. It’s telling people to drive into lakes and capital cities around the world are in wrong locations. It’s not little stuff.

    I agree with the competition thing…but I have a feeling that since Google is better at internet data mining than Apple, all this is going to do is make Google maps even better. I’m happy for that.

    I also don’t see any evidence for your vague statement about apple maps + ‘with a supported third party app’ being better than google’s web app. In fact, I’m pretty sure you’re grasping at straws.

    And I don’t care if you want to be an Apple fan boy. But, I would like to get the facts straight for people trying to understand what is going on.

  • Aro2220

    I do not think I am as confident as you that Apple is going to beat Google maps..simply because it comes down to who can mine more data and Apple might be able to make a ‘complete’ product (design hardware, design os, design software, distribution, marketing) but Google is still the master of search and data mining. That gives them a technological edge…

    Plus did you see the WWDC 2012? They were touting these hundreds of changes coming in iOS6 and Mountain Lion as being a huge step forward. That goes dead against everything Steve Jobs ever stood for. He was always about quality over quantity. Already we are seeing a change in direction.

    Apple has tons of money but if they lose their core principles then their software will start being buggy and then they fall from grace. So I just can’t see why they would certainly beat Google maps…they may just be spreading themselves too thin.

    I think they did this the last time Jobs was out of the company. Remember Apple in the 90s? Fantastic products…not.

    If Apple’s maps get better than Google, I’ll stand behind them. But at this moment they are not and I’m not going to pretend what I ‘feel’ Apple is going to do has anything to do with reality.

  • Aro2220

    Because if you view maps through the web you are loading the mapping software on top of the whole safari (or whichever) browser…hence it is slower and not optimized. Ie: you can’t use swipe commands and so on. It’s universal, yes, but it doesn’t work with the OS as smoothly. And forget turn by turn directions…it’s not going to detect your GPS or do anything interesting.

  • Aro2220

    Google already released a maps App. Apple has not allowed it on the appstore….presumably because it directly conflicts with their new direction (they just spent billions on mapping, by the way). And don’t say it’s because it’s not ‘good enough.’ The Google app, even if it’s not all it can be, is still way better than a lot of other crappy apps on the app store. So the reason is due to competition.

    Furthermore, if Apple’s maps are worse than Google’s then it gives Androids a HUGE boost. Why would Google work their butts off to lose a competitive advantage? And if Apple does get their maps to work as well or better than Google then a Google maps app would be useless anyway no matter how good it is.

    Makes no sense.

    Speaking of which…do you know what I, and many other smartphone users, use their phone for?
    1. Calls/text
    2. Maps/gps/turn by turn directions
    3. Webpages
    4. Email

    How can I buy an iPhone 5 if it doesn’t do the #2 thing I need it to do? I’m not about to buy a separate GPS device just because my $900 iPhone is busy throwing a pissy fit with Google right now. And who knows what the future holds — you and I certainly aren’t developing apple and google maps — and I’m not crazy enough to spend $900 on hope and faith in Apple. If they have a superior product, I’ll buy it. If they don’t, I won’t. I don’t buy things and pray it will somehow change into the thing I actually want. That’s insane.

  • http://www.justinluey.com Justin Luey

    Most of this opinion, which you are entitled to. I personally don’t subscribe to the idea that more features is automatically better. I have always preferred Apple’s implementation of Google Maps over Android or the web. Speed and simplicity mean more to me than the latest feature from Google.

    Privacy is not a wash. Apple makes money selling hardware, Google makes money selling our information. It comes down to who you trust, but I ‘d consider their motivations.

    I was never defending Apple ‘Maps’ or claiming it was great. My comments were intended to clear up two misconceptions: Google Maps never had a native app, and transit directions are supported and work well. I actually prefer the new method.

    My facts are straight. Google has not submitted a Maps app to Apple, that was debunked a few days ago.

    I think Apple had to move away from Google or at least have back up options. Mapping is too important to leave it in Google’s hands. Google is risking more than Apple. Apple will straighten out their maps, but what will Google do if they alienate hundreds of millions of iOS users?

    I’m a Google fan, but I lose more respect for them everyday. They used to change the world with their Internet technology, but they lost their nerve.

    Now they are the latest “me too” company. I thought Android was about putting the Internet in everyone’s pocket, but it appears to be away to sell apps, music, video, etc. Google woke up one day and decided they had to be Apple or Amazon.

  • Aro2220

    lol….you have to install multiple third party apps just to get maps to work like it used to? Weren’t you the one saying one of the reasons for this switch is privacy? Do you think feeding your mapping data through Apple and some random small app developer with who knows what level of security or intentions is an improvement?

    You really are a fanboy.

  • Aro2220

    You should get a job for Fox news. You are excellent with double standards and presenting nonsense as facts.

    The new map service which has major glitches and requires search for and installing multiple third party apps to get proper directions is also “beautiful, intuitive and fast.”

    Honestly, apply now. You’d fit right in.

  • Aro2220

    Sure and the Nazi party was the most popular party in 1938, too. And Facebook’s IPO was one of the most favoured investment at its release. And McDonalds is the most popular restaurant.

    Yep. If the mass public likes something that is always evidence for how awesome it is.

    /sarcasm

  • http://www.justinluey.com Justin Luey

    We’ll see. It works the same where I’m from, and that is all I can judge.

    What’s vague about it? Apple’s ‘Maps’ plus vTransit destroys Google Maps on the web. You don’t have to agree with me, but my facts are perfectly straight. Calling someone a fanboy is a weak argument.

    In Apple’s ‘Maps’, I tap directions, select transit, and choose my destination (the app remembers my recent destinations and quickly finds new ones from my Address book or their database), as soon as my destination is confirmed it launches a list of apps, vTransit is at the top because that is what i installed, vTransit launches and the transit schedule is already loaded.

    Most of this happens before Google Maps on the web even loads. Not only is it painfully slow to load initially, everything is slower as you go along. It’s a bad interface.

    Again, there is nothing vague here, it is vastly superior to the web app. I even like it better than the iOS 5 version of ‘Maps’ because I like how vTransit shows the schedule better. It’s easier to select different times and routes.

  • http://www.justinluey.com Justin Luey

    I have no privacy concerns at all. You have to work on your reading and comprehension before insulting people. I cited privacy as one of the reasons other companies have been distancing themselves from Google. I have no privacy concerns personally and I do not consider privacy a benefit of the new ‘Maps’ app. I also don’t consider privacy a reasonable motive for Apple to switch away from Google.

    Are we clear yet?

    The new ‘Maps’ app is BETTER for GOOGLE transit times than the WEB APP.

    Again, calling someone a fanboy is a lame argument. Most of this a matter of opinion, and I have my facts straight despite your accusations (with no proof).

  • http://www.justinluey.com Justin Luey

    Nothing personal, but why should anyone care why or how you use a smartphone? And you aren’t in any position to tell us why or how other people use theirs.

    If the iPhone doesn’t suit your needs, you shouldn’t use one. Period.

    Calls and maps aren’t even in the top 10 reasons I use a smartphone. I have different priorities than you, so the iPhone suits me best.

    I don’t recommend that you or anyone buy anything on faith. Buy the product that suits you best. If a native Google Maps apps is crucial to you, than the iPhone probably isn’t right for you.

  • http://www.justinluey.com Justin Luey

    I really liked the app ‘Transit ~ Directions with Public Transportation’ when I was posting suggestions the other day, but it had a few problems. so I didn’t want to recommend it until they were fixed.

    They updated the app today, and fixed everything.

    So now we have another free app that restores (and it some ways enhances) the Transit times and directions for iOS 6 users. This app has a nice reminder feature and it’s pretty.

    http://bit.ly/transitapp