Tokyo has joined the tiny list of major cities for which Maps can use augmented reality when routing. Arrived with iOS 15, this function called “Pedestrian routes in augmented reality” displays arrows on the images of the streets that your iPhone films live to show you in real time the directions to take. In some cases, a larger arrow, bearing the name of the next stage, is displayed at key moments of the journey (example in video).
This presentation can only be used on site, because Maps first asks you to do a quick recognition of places and buildings by holding your phone vertically. Then the guidance starts.
Very few cities, however, offer this service. Apple’s page on the matter isn’t updated often — Tokyo isn’t there yet — and it’s mostly US locations: London, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco Bay Area, Singapore , Washington, Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal.
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Google Maps offers with Live View an equivalent function, compatible with iPhone. It’s more popular because it relies on Street View imagery to do the initial scouting. Apple has Look Around on its side, but there’s a long way to go before we can use it in as many cities as Street View allows.