has now added COVID-19 testing sites to its Apple Maps app across the U.S., covering all 50 states and Puerto Rico. The update provides testing locations including hospitals, clinics, urgent care facilities, general practitioners, pharmacies and more, as well as dedicated COVID-19 testing sites, where tests are available. In addition, COVID-19 is now a prioritized point-of-interest option when you go to search for locations. Apple also updated its new Mobility Trends website, which provides free access to anonymized, aggregated data bout how people are getting around their cities and regions during the COVID-19 crisis.
The Maps update was reported last week, first spotted by 9to5Mac through a portal that Apple created in order to allow test site providers to provide their site location so that it could be added to the database. Now, it's live and lives alongside other prioritized search options in Maps, which have been customized for the pandemic, and which include grocery stores, food delivery, pharmacies, hospitals and urgent care facilities.As for the Mobility Trends site, it now includes improved regionalization, like state or province-level search, depending on what terms a country uses, and it's also been better localized, including use of an area's local name added to search results to ensure that everyone can find what they're looking for globally. Also, in the U.S., there are now more cities available to review.
Apple's made this data available in order to help governments, transportation authorities and cities make better sense of the impact that the ongoing pandemic is having, and potentially provide information about the effectiveness of, and compliance rate with, efforts like broad social distancing measures and shelter-in-place orders. The data comes from info about which methods of directions users are selecting within the Maps app, but it's worth noting that Apple's Maps app has privacy built-in by default, so it doesn't collect any personal information along with guidance search info.