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Now let's take a look at working with the Maps application. From figuring out where you are in a strange city to locating nearby restaurants and services, to seeing what the local traffic conditions are like, all of these capabilities and lots more are built into the Maps app. Let's tap Maps to open it up. If you see a message saying that Maps would like to use your current location, tap OK. That's just to confirm that you know your iPhone is going to try to figure out where you are and you'll see this message for any app that tries to access your location information. Most of the time when you're using Maps, you'll want to start off by figuring out where you currently are.
Unless you were previously using another function like getting directions or searching for a business, Maps should automatically hone in on and display your approximate location. If it doesn't, tap the Locate button in the bottom left hand corner. After a moment, a blue dot will appear giving you your location. Depending where you are, which iPhone you're using or whether you're using an iPod Touch or iPad, the accuracy of your location will vary. If you're on an iPhone, all of which contain an internal compass, tapping the Locate button again rotates the map to orient it with the direction you're facing, a big help especially in cities like New York, where emerging from the subway can be disorienting.
If you face a different direction, you'll see the map rotate along with you. Tap the Locate button a third time to leave compass mode. After leaving compass mode, you might find that your map is no longer oriented with north at the top of the screen. You can manually rotate the orientation with two fingers or you can tap the Compass icon in the upper right corner to reorient the map. Another advantage of having the Locate button is that you can also bring the map back to your current location. So if you're off browsing some other section of the map, just tap Locate to jump back to your current location. Now, when you tap the Locate button at first, you'll probably see a large circle encompassing a pretty wide area on the map around your general location.
This is Maps' first guess at where you are. After a couple of moments, the map should zoom in and a pulsing blue dot inside a white circle will appear. This should be a more accurate representation of your location. If you’re using an older iPod Touch or a non-cellular capable iPad, this is probably the extent of how well Maps is going to find you. If you're on a recent model iPhone, after another moment, a pulsing circle around the blue dot should appear. This is ideally what you want to see because it indicates that the iPhone is actively tracking your location and the dot will move along the map as you drive or walk around. So how does Maps accomplish this? Well, it depends on the device you're using.
Every iPhone since the iPhone 3G contains actual GPS chips similar to the one found in portable GPS devices you can get for your car. So if you're outdoors with a clear view of the sky, your phone should be able to get a pretty accurate read on your location. If you're indoors or in a city with lots of tall buildings, the GPS chip won't work as well or not at all. Fortunately, all iPhone models, as well as the iPod Touch and iPad, can still find your location using two other methods. The first is by referencing a database containing information about WiFi networks found all over the world. WiFi networks are so prevalent these days that Apple has collected data mostly in large urban areas, figuring out that by determining which WiFi networks are overlapping with each other, you can determine your approximate location.
Now, this doesn't mean that you have to connect to any strange WiFi networks. Your iOS device has the ability to detect nearby WiFi networks and using that information, it can figure out where you are. Of course, this means that you have to have WiFi turned on and it won't work in locations where there isn't a heavy volume of WiFi networks. The third method that's available to all iPhones but not to the iPod Touch is to use signals from nearby cellular towers to triangulate your location. This method works similarly to the WiFi system but, instead, uses signals from cell towers to figure out your general location. If this is the only available information to your iPhone, your location display won't be as accurate but it should pinpoint your general area within a couple of blocks, which is still close enough for you to find a local restaurant or business.
So, those are the methods the iOS devices use to find your location. And once you have your location, you can search for all kinds of things. We'll explore more in the upcoming movies.
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