Google Maps is gaining proper lock screen directions with Live Activities support

Track your journey, get updated ETAs and see where to make your next trip with Google Maps—right on your iPhone’s lock screen, without opening the app.

Satellite view of Manhattan, New York City
Google Maps is gaining Live Activities support | Image: NASA/Unsplash
  • What’s happening? Google Maps will soon be rolling out Live Activities support for turn-by-turn directions on the iPhone via a future update to the app.
  • Why care? This will enable you to see your next turn, track your route and get updated ETAs on your iPhone’s lock screen without opening the app.
  • What to do? Read the Google Keyword blog for details.

Google Maps is gaining Live Activities support for lock screen directions

Google Maps with support for lock screen directions via Live Activities will work for all navigation modes—whether it be walking, biking or taking public transit.

“You’ll see updated ETAs and where to make your next turn—information that was previously only visible by unlocking your phone, opening the app and using comprehensive navigation mode,” the company notes.

So far, so good. But what will happen if I decide to take another path? No worries, boys and girls, Google Maps will update your trip automatically and provide updated directions on the lock screen via Live Activities. According to the search giant, the iOS app will bring Live Activities support in the coming months.

Turn-by-turn directions on the lock screen

iPhone screenshot showing a time-sensitive lockscreen notification from Google Maps
Lock screen navigation with Google Maps currently uses time-sensitive notifications for direction updates, which isn’t ideal | Image: Christian Zibreg/iDB

Currently, the app doesn’t take advantage of Live Activities. This results in a subpar experience because native directions are unavailable on the lock screen.

Google tries to circumvent this by pushing time-sensitive notifications so that you know where to make your next turn even if the device is locked.

But these notifications will only get you so far and they’re often delivered too late. Only Apple Maps, which benefits from being deeply integrated with iOS, supports live directions on the lock screen. With Live Activities, navigating with Google Maps on the lock screen will be so much better than what it is currently.

The Live Activities API makes this possible

iPhone screenshot showcasing getting real-time updates from Starbucks on the lock screen with the new Live Activities feature in iOS 16
Live Activities updates for the Starbucks app | Image: Christian Zibreg/iDB

Live Activities is a new feature in iOS 16.1 that lets apps provide quick real-time updates for things like sports scores, flight arrivals, package delivery and so on.

These information snippets appear on the lock screen and within the Dynamic Island, allowing users to see live information at a glance. This will enable you to see, say, when your food order or Lyft is arriving on the lock screen—updated in almost real time.

This feature is only available on the iPhone.

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