Recently, I was wondering why Where To? on iPhone X didn’t show the activity indicator in the status bar while it was fetching places from the network. I discovered that iPhone X actually doesn’t display the system network activity indicator. Apple writes in the Human Interface Guidelines:
On devices without edge-to-edge displays, a network activity indicator spins in the status bar at the top of the screen as networking occurs.
So the iPhone X, iPhone XS and XR simply don’t show the network activity indicator at all. While I consider this a bug and submitted a Radar (🐞 UIActivityIndicatorView should be shown on iPhone X) for it, I needed a solution.
I remembered that in an early beta of the iPhone X Simulator, I saw a K.I.T.T. scanner-style indicator with a linear gradient that was placed above or below the status bar items:
So I decided to implement this kind of indicator. It’s placed in the right “ear”, above the status bar icons. It’s convenient to use by simply “fixing” the existing network activity indicator on iPhone X/XS/XR. So apps using the network activity indicator continue to work as usual but also display the indicator on iPhone models with a notch. In addition, it can also be used as a standalone indicator view and tinted with a custom color.
The indicator is available as open source on GitHub and as a CocoaPod. Feel free to use it in your own apps!
The next Where To? update will of course use this as well to fix the missing activity indicator on iPhone X.
In the latest 10.8 update, Where To? learnt to support the iPhone X in full size. No more letterboxing on the shiny new iPhone!
The update also comes with a few other improvements: the compass-based map rotation is now much smoother and Facebook and Twitter can be used again to authenticate to the Where To? community for posting location reviews.
We also added support for a bunch of public transport apps:
*) Was supported in previous releases except when running iOS 11.1 or newer. Now works under all iOS versions.
Where To? 10.8 now requires iOS 11. We had to cut off older iOS releases because iOS 11 changed a lot of things under the hood, mainly to support the iPhone X. Maintaining support for older iOS releases would have been a huge amount of work – work that we rather put into adding new features! Luckily, already 86% of Where To? users are on iOS 11 already – and that’s the number from two weeks ago. So I hope this isn’t a big deal for most of you.
So without further ado, grab the update from the App Store! (And if you like the update, I’d love if you send us a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review as a Xmas present!)
The new Where To? 10.7 update has something for everyone: Now you can book a table for many restaurants (starting in 🇩🇪) right within the app. The in-app dinner menus, already hugely popular in the US, now come to Germany, too. So you can check if the restaurant offers something for your taste (and wallet) ahead of time.
We also added hotel reservation right from within the app (starting in 🇩🇪).
The new Location Alarm feature allows you to be notified when you come by (or leave) a certain location. So you won’t forget to pick up your laundry from dry-cleaning anymore or to stop at the grocery store.
Finally, if you’re using Navigon Cruiser to get motorcycle driving directions, this app is now supported in Where To? as well.
To celebrate the release, Where To? is available for just 99 cents for a limited time. Grab your copy now while the app is on sale!
A big update for Streets is available. Up until now, some of the panoramas marked with a blue dot in the coverage layer couldn’t be opened. Streets 3.5 now shows those user-generated panoramas. These cover areas off the roads photographed by Google’s camera cars, such as mountains, beaches, parks and more. Go explore the nature!
The drawer at the top shows more information about the panorama, including the photographer for such user-generated panoramas. For some panoramas, you can even switch to the Where To? app for more details (if installed).
New in Streets 3.5, we improved the URL scheme support: You can now create powerful workflows to grab Street View panoramas for specified locations. For instance, you can create a workflow that automatically fetches panorama images for contacts, event locations or other places and puts them into a note, a social media post or whatever. Since Workflow was acquired by Apple, it lacks the command to obtain Street View imagery for a given location. Streets now fills this void. More info including a sample workflow on our Streets API page.
In the latest 10.6.1 update, Where To? learns the user’s language preferences by tracking which languages the user requests translations for using the button beside a place review. Then, local listing reviews in these languages are automatically translated (if possible). Many users speak multiple languages. They can now see original-language reviews in all languages they speak and auto-translate other languages.
The new version also adds support for several more public transport apps:
Following the recent demise of the Where To? upgrade bundle due to Apple removing the old version of Where To? from the App Store, the same thing will happen soon with the Streets upgrade bundle. Apple informed us that Streets 2, the old version of Streets, “has not been updated in a significant amount of time” and will be removed within 30 days.
The only reason we still keep the old version in the App Store is to offer an upgrade bundle which requires the participating apps to be available individually.
What does this mean for users of Streets 2.x?
Until May 3, 2017, you can still benefit from a discounted upgrade to the new version of Streets. Streets 3 features an all-new, more fluid user interface with realistic panorama perspective, a full-screen mode, easier navigation using the interactive mini-map, panorama favorites, an Apple Watch app and much more. The upgrade pricing is applied automatically by the App Store (“Complete My Bundle” is shown) if you’ve purchased Streets 2 at regular price in the past.
After May 3, 2017, you can still buy the regular version of Streets 3 and your recent searches from Streets 2 will automatically be imported in Streets 3. After that, you can safely delete Streets 2 from your device.
If you decide not to upgrade, Streets 2 remains on your device and can still be re-downloaded while restoring from an iCloud or iTunes backup. However, Streets 2 is no longer maintained and won’t receive any updates.
What does this mean if I’m on Streets 3.x already?
Nothing will change for you! Streets 3.x is the current version that will receive regular updates as usual.
Update, May 4, 2017: Apple has removed the old version of Streets from the App Store. This caused the upgrade bundle to automatically disappear as well. To upgrade to the newest version of Streets please buy it.
Favorite places in Where To? are great to save great restaurants, shops etc. so you can find and navigate to them later easily. The new Where To? 10.6 also lets you add addresses and contacts to your favorite places.
Just use the + button to search for any address or contact and pick it as a favorite. Of course, you can also search for any place name or search places using a category such as “Pizza” or “Supermarkets”.
The update also adds information about ♿︎wheelchair accessibility for a number of places, particularly in Germany.
Among others, we also fixed a comically weird bug where textual driving directions where displayed in Catalan for users in Canada. Lesson learned: One must not mix up country and language codes (both are ca in this case)!
Where To? 10.5 is now available, and it’s a substantial update, particularly targeting two major areas of the app: search and reviews. We put a lot of thought into the design process so I’d like to walk you through the changes.
Search hasn’t been changed significantly for quite some time and it had one major weakness: the differentiation between category and location search. We used to solve this by prepending the results with two special options, “Search Address” and “Search Business”. While this did the job, it wasn’t particularly intuitive and required to think about the two options.
For Where To? 10.5, our goal was to provide an all-in-one search that blends categories, places, addresses and contacts in one search results list. We already used this approach in the iMessage app introduced last fall and now took it over to the main app. The major advantage is that you immediately see the results as you type, including the place’s rating. Search results marked as a favorite places are now shown with a green distance pill, not in a separate section.
There were some gotchas though. When searching in one of the category lists such as “Food & Drink”, the now-removed “Free Search” special option also had a Plus button to add this search as a new custom category. This was kind of a hidden feature, so we decided to make it more obvious by adding an “Add New Category” option at the end of each category list. We hope that category customization is now more approachable and easy-to-use (deleting categories still works using left swipe). Customization now also works on the Brands level so you can easily add your local pizza chain or bank.
We also reworked the Ratings & Reviews section for business listings. Where To? 10.5 displays user images making the reviews more personal. To create or change your own user image, just open the “Sharing” settings and choose or take a photo.
Quality and facts about businesses change over time so we wanted a way to update reviews you had written before. Now you can simply tap on your own review and update it.
And by the way, I’d love to see more reviews so other users can benefit from your experience! To cheer you up, we now let you know, after posting a review, how your review activity compares to fellow users.
Reviews with avatar images and badge for own review
Improved collaboration with Streets
Browsing a Street View panorama or a 360° indoor photo sphere is now even easier. Tapping one of these thumbnail panoramas opens the Streets app directly with the interactive panorama.
Interactive panoramas are linked to Streets
Indoor 360° panorama displayed in Streets
Calls via Skype
If the Skype app is installed, tapping a phone number allows you to choose between making a traditional phone call or initiating a Skype call.2 We actually added this feature almost 5 years ago but had to disable it later on because the Skype app stopped supporting the URL scheme required to initiate calls from third party apps. Gladly they fixed this in one of the recent updates.
As usual there are countless minor improvements finding their way into a Where To? update:
Improved distance display for non-metric locales: We no longer display yards for US and feet for UK users. Also, informed by extensive feedback from UK users about the status quo of the country’s metrification efforts, we now switch to metric units for walking or biking directions as well as for displaying mountain elevations – at least if Where To? is configured with the default “Distance Unit: Automatic” in the “Advanced” settings.
For a number of new cities, Citymapper is now offered as a public transport directions app.
There’s now a fair and growing share of US dinner menus with photos of individual menu items.
When Apple announced the big App Store cleanup last fall, we knew the days of the Where To? upgrade bundle were numbered. To recap, we offer the Where To? upgrade bundle as a way to let Where To? 6.x users upgrade to the current version at a discount. Upgrade bundles are regular app bundles comprising of an old and a new version of the app. They leverage the fact that users who have purchased one part of a bundle can complete a bundle by getting the old purchase credited and buying the bundle instead. App bundles require all participating apps to be available independently as well. This is the only reason, the old Where To? 6.x is still available on the App Store – despite not being updated and being superseded by its successor for almost 3 years.
Today, I received the inevitable email from Apple I’ve been expecting for a while now:
That means, on March 13, Apple will remove the old version of Where To? 6 from the App Store. As described in Apple’s email, this will not effect any users. The app will remain functional for current users and users will still be able to re-download the app while restoring from an iCloud or iTunes backup.
However, it means the Where To? upgrade bundle will automatically be removed from sale as well. So if you’re still on Where To? 6 (with the faux leather background), you should consider upgrading to the new version 10 of Where To? with tons of new features including an Apple Watch and iMessage app. Upgrade before March 13 to benefit from the upgrade discount!
Note: For our other app, Streets, we’re offering an upgrade bundle as well. While we haven’t received a similar notice from Apple for the old version of Streets yet, we expect it at any time soon. We’ll keep you updated here and on Twitter of course.
Update, March 13, 2017: Apple has removed the old Where To? from the App Store. This caused the upgrade bundle to automatically disappear as well. To upgrade to the newest version of Where To? please buy it.
Recently, a user complained about the storage being used by Streets and I investigated the situation. It turned out the cache for network requests grew without a limit and could consume a few hundred MB. We use the standard NSURLSession API provided by iOS, so this seemed odd. Shouldn’t iOS take care of purging old cache data? At least, that’s what the NSURLCache documentation suggests. Unfortunately, iOS doesn’t enforce the maximum disk capacity of the cache so it grows and grows infinitely.
We reported this as a bug to Apple and hope it will be fixed in a future iOS version. In the meantime, we added a workaround in Streets 3.2.2 that manually purges the cache when over capacity. (If you’re a fellow app developer and are doing any network requests in your app, you should probably investigate if you’re affected, too!)
Apart from this embarrassing issue, the Streets 3.2.2 update improves Spotlight indexing and addresses a few issues in the Watch app.