Google Maps Update For iOS Brings Spoken Traffic Alerts Months After Android Debut

If you use Google Maps on your iPhone device, head to the App Store and download the latest update, version 4.12.0 (if you don't have it already). The latest release brings parity with the Android version by introducing spoken traffic alerts, a small but sometimes extremely helpful feature for motorists.

When you're in navigation mode, the spoken traffic alerts feature will give you a heads up to things like traffic congestion, incidents on your route that might prompt you to find a different path towards your destination, and various traffic descriptions. It will do all this before you start driving so you don't get stuck in gridlock.

Google Maps iOS

This subtle yet highly useful feature has been available to Android device owners for the past couple of months, and now that same courtesy extends to iOS. It's also one of the most popular features in Waze, a mapping application that Google bought in 2013 for a cool $1.1 billion. However, the two apps go about things a little differently -- Waze relies on a community of drivers to provide traffic updates, whereas Google Maps will tap both users of the app and traffic services for accuracy.

It will be interesting to see if Google ends up combining Waze and Google Maps at some point or if it continues to update them separately, as it's been doing. That includes a recent major update to Waze, now in version 4.0, that introduced a new design and improvements to battery life.

As for Google Maps, the latest version also introduces the ability to add new and missing businesses from the sidebar, and includes several "bug fixes," according to Google's description of what's new.