Although deeper changes to Maps are in the works, Apple did announce a new City Tours feature for iOS 8 discreetly on one of the keynote slides. This feature is not normally available in the current iOS 8 betas, but developer Pierre Blazquez has managed to unlock the feature through a hidden debug screen and shines some light on exactly what ‘City Tours’ entails.

City Tours is best described as a guided-camera Flyover view. After activating the tour, the Maps app changes to satellite mode and begins zooming and panning to different landmarks in the city. For example, in the video, the tour rotates and pans between a couple of different cathedrals. More screenshots after the break …

Currently, the betas only show a handful of supported cities: Rome, Stockholm, Barcelona, New York, Paris, Glasgow, Cape Town, Perth, Bordeaux and San Francisco. As with other Flyover features, Apple will add more City Tours over time and it is likely that the list may change by the time iOS 8 ships.

Obviously, the user interface for activating these tours is currently work-in-progress and will look very different from the debug menus seen in the video. The iPhone screenshots are closer to what users will see, but are still far from finished. It will be interesting to see how Apple will surface this feature in the Maps UI to users as iOS 8 approaches release.

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22 Responses to “Maps ‘City Tours’ feature hidden in iOS 8 betas, works like a guided Flyover video”

  1. The Pantheon is not a cathedral.


  2. Yay now we can see even more melted buildings and trees! Please just do something useful like street view and stop trying to be flashy for flashy sake.


    • PMZanetti says:

      How is Street View “useful”?


      • It’s brilliant. You can find a restaurant before ever leaving the house. Check if they’ve got outside sitting area. You can check out what business was here in the past, or how was it changed. You can stand in the middle of Time Square without ever leaving europe. Photos talk, 3d models not so much.


      • Rohan Patel says:

        “You can find a restaurant before ever leaving the house.” <- So you saying using current Apple/Google maps you can not find restaurant?
        "You can check out what business was here in the past". <- Thats merely an interest of majority people.
        "You can stand in the middle of Time Square without ever leaving europe". <- You can do better with 3D flyover.


      • You don’t get it. You can find the address, or location on the map, but you can’t “find it” as in literally see that it’s next to a book store, or what does it look like. You can’t see if the restaurant is actually on the first floor etc. Street view is brilliant for that. Or take Eiffel Tower. We all know what it looks like. 3d model doesn’t really add anything to it. But when you do street view, it’s as close as it gets to being there. Completly different experience. I find Street view very useful. Even to give an feel of the area or street. Flyover is just a gimmick I don’t know how can possibly be used in practice…


      • borntofeel says:

        Seriously? Streetview is great as it allows you to search a place before going there. How many times have I looked to a place then when I was in the street I directly went to it as if I knew the sector even if I never went there.
        It’s great looking for a place you don’t know the name and precise name of.
        It also allows you to read street information sometimes.


      • Mate seriously??. You dont see the usefulness of streetview?. With a map you can find directions. But when I am going to new place, i normally see it in the streetview, so that once i reach there, its easy for me to relate that with the image and go to the parking directly. Its easy to identify a building which you have seen in a street view than in a map.


    • Flyover is actually pretty cool. You can pan through cities for hours on your iPad or your Mac, twisting the views the way you want, and most importantly it’s fluid.
      I like Street View, but discovering anything with this tool is a pain. You know: click, load… click, load… oh it went too far! click, load…


    • herb02135go says:

      3-d flyover is a fun toy but no one has it perfected for enough locations.

      You’re not sure about visiting Paris but a high-altitude cartoon seals the deal? Interesting.

      I agree about the value of Street View. I check out the locations of possible hotels – is there a lot of graffiti or decay in the area? Not to mention finding parking locations. And knowing what my destination looks like since we use visual clues faster than addresses to cue our actions.


  3. PMZanetti says:

    Pretty cool. Could be great for discovery. Say you’re going to be visiting a city you’ve been to…Taking the City Tour would be a cool way for Maps to show you points of interest and make you say “ooo I want to visit that”.


  4. Seems like a great use of resources and definitely something I would use all the time. I’m glad they’re working on this instead of something pointless like adding the Up Next feature to the music player.


  5. crichton007 says:

    That’s pretty cool how Apple ripped that whole 3D perspective thing off from Amazon already. /s


  6. I’d find the tours more useful if I could pick points of interest on a map and then have Maps create a flyover moving from one point of interest to the next. I’m not that interested in a programmers idea of what’s interesting.


  7. borntofeel says:

    Pff what a ridiculous comment.