With live view in Find My and ETA in Maps, iOS 15 is on a whole new level with keeping track of traveling significant others
In an update that is “just there” there has been an upgrade to the performance of the oft overlooked Find My app for iOS 15. In case you don’t use it, it’s the app that will help you find your iPhone or other iCloud connected device, as well as AirTags (or third-party geolocation products) and the devices they are attached to.
When you are following a person, generally with an iPhone or iPad (though, again the above additions and exceptions apply) you can click on that person’s name or icon (once they’ve allowed you to see their location (by turning on share my location in the FindMy app on their iPhone), in Find My and the their current location will show on the screen.
This is especially helpful, of course, if they are driving home from work, or on a road trip and you would like to follow along to see when they arrive, as examples. This level of intimate knowledge may not be necessary or appropriate for every contact in your address book (!) but between significant others (one obvious example) it can be incredibly useful.
One caveat, however, is that since this is a “stealth” update that “just works” your actual results may not be the same. Our video example was accomplished with two connected iPhone 13 Pro Max phones, both having 5G connectivity. Your results may vary.
With live view and in conjunction with the Maps app location tracking is now in a whole new universe
The update, which has been in a gradual roll-out since the public release of iOS 15 and upgraded in iOS 15.1 is a live feature where you can literally see the person (the icon or photo they have set) as they are driving, or even walking, and follow along with a moving map that updates in real time.
If used, for example while driving and using maps for the route, the map will update incrementally, showing the progress with a highlighted route all the way to the destination, while in FindMy there will be a second by millisecond live map showing the actual location as it changes. See the video above for the full effect!
The Maps app will also send notices and updates with an Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) and will re-notify if the arrival time is significantly sooner or later (the exact amount that is deemed enough of a change to trigger a notification is unclear.
Just plain fun to watch, but also useful if the movements of a loved on are critical
There is also a secret, exclusive tip that we can divulge, which we stumbled on through trial and error. If you are watching someone driving, say on a freeway with little traffic, and they are moving smoothly along, but you want to see them at full speed, you can do the following:
- Use a two-finger pinch-and-zoom gesture 3-4 times – the 3 or 4th gesture will zoom in to-the-max
- Repeat #1 to maintain zoomed in status
- Allow Find My live view to re-set to the standard zoom (medium)
- Repeat as desired
Using this technique the person / car will be seen in an extreme close-up of the road (highway, freeway, etc.) and will appear to be traveling at the actual speed they currently are in relation to the zoom.
Think of it like a virtual drone that is following the car / person and then dives in close and has to keep pace to keep the subject in frame. Crazy.
In zoomed in mode it is also possible to do a one-finger-swipe in the direction of movement in order to keep the car / person in view (rather than letting them drive starlight off the edge of the iPhone screen).
The future is out there, and already here on your phone (with enough bandwidth and other possible requirements).
Increasing this feature to this degree of intensely detailed functionality may not be much more than a basic useful feature on overdrive, but applications for the future, for example the same feature but with satellite imagery, or maybe a simulated live view, could be a metaverse standard communication activity. We might all need to get used to having the ability to stay literally connected (in a virtual way) even as we hurtle through space. In a self-driving Apple Car, perhaps?
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