Thanks to a new iOS 10 feature, you can now install extensions for Apple Maps that let do things like reserve a table or get a ride without ever leaving the map. Here’s how it works.
iOS 10 brought a lot of interesting new features, but arguably none as powerful as opening up some aspects of the platform to third-party developers. All the new iMessage apps are the standout example, but Apple has also opened up their Maps app to developers, giving you clever new options for interacting with locations and services all from within Maps.
How to Enable Apple Maps Extensions
Map extensions don’t get their own store the way iMessage apps do. Instead, you’ll need to install the extension’s actual app from the iOS App Store. Right now, there are only a handful, but they do include the big services you’d expect to see: Yelp, OpenTable, Lyft, Uber, and a few others. To use an app that supports Maps extensions, you’ll need to install the app first.
After installing one of those apps, you’ll have to turn the extension(s) you want to use on. Head to your Settings app, scroll down a bit, and tap the “Maps” option.
On the Maps settings, scroll down until you see the “Extensions” section and then turn on each extension you want to use in your Maps app.
If you don’t see an “Extensions” section, it means you don’t have any apps that support them. If you do have apps installed that you think should support extensions, try updating those apps to the latest versions and then see if they appear in Settings.
How to Use Apple Maps Extensions
After enabling Maps extensions, using them is pretty straightforward. We’re going to look at a basic restaurant search here, but the process is the same if you’re trying to score a ride or anything else.
In the Maps app, tap the search box.
Type what you want to search for and then tap the result you’re after.
The location is shown on the map as always, and card at the bottom of the map give you access to whatever functionality your extensions provide. Since we searched for a restaurant, we have the option of making reservations through OpenTable. Tap the button for whatever you want to do.
And a card opens that lets you fully interact with the service without ever leaving the Maps app.
Right now, there’s not a whole lot you can do other than these use these common services. But we expect that over time, other developers will come up with clever ways to integrate with the Maps app, as well.