Mossberg’s Mailbox

A Maps of the World

Published on January 1, 2013
by Walt Mossberg

Q:

One thing drivers should know about the new Google Maps for iPhone is that the traffic-information display has to be selected each time you start the app up or traffic won’t show. Is there a way to keep it on between sessions with the app?

A:

Google says the app “preserves its state” (in this case, having traffic mode turned on) as long as you don’t restart the phone or manually close its Maps app. I have confirmed this in my own testing. If you turn on traffic, and then leave the app without manually closing it, then use one or more other apps, traffic information will still be enabled in Google Maps when you return to it.

Q:

I agree with you that the new Google Maps for iPhone is very good, but, unlike Apple Maps, it doesn’t tie into the phone’s Contacts app so you can directly map the location of contacts’ addresses. Will this ever change?

A:

The iPhone allows third-party apps to have access to Contacts if the owner agrees in the privacy settings screen. One such app you can enable to use Contacts is Google’s own Gmail. But there’s no similar option for Google Maps. Google acknowledges there’s a demand for such a linkage, but isn’t saying if or when it might be offered.

Q:

Is there a manual or instruction book, such as a “Dummies” guide, for my new iPad Mini? How do I get an instruction manual for the Samsung Galaxy S III phone?

A:

The iPad Mini is simply a smaller iPad, which functions identically and uses all the same apps and settings. So any guide to the iPad will suffice. However, there’s a new entry in the “Dummies” book series just for the iPad Mini. It can be found on Amazon at http://amzn.to/TA7fv4. As for the Galaxy S III, you can download the manual at http://bit.ly/TA8BWA.

Email Walt at mossberg@wsj.com.

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