After having gone live in the US last year, Apple’s Maps Connect for Small Business has today gone live in Australia and New Zealand.
I’ve been a user of Apple Maps (as well as Google Maps and other GPS mapping applications), and have noticed that there are already plenty of business listings in Apple Maps.
Many of these already come via a range of different sources, but Apple has decided it is time to let business owners of all kinds add their businesses into Apple’s Maps database - or edit the details already there.
As I’m visiting the NSW Central Coast town of ‘The Entrance’ today, I decided to help my friends update the entry for their restaurant, which was already listed in Apple Maps. To list or update entries, you need to either be the business owner, the manager or someone approved by the business to do this, and naturally, I sought permission to do this and was given it.
The name of the restaurant is The Entrance Lake House, and I was happy to edit the listing because Apple Maps had the ‘red pin’ for the restaurant on the wrong side of the street.
The restaurant is also closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, which wasn’t reflected in the listing, so it was a good opportunity to tidy up the opening hours, too.
Clearly, allowing owners to add or edit the business information that is displayed in Apple Maps is another way Apple is continuing to make Maps ever better and more accurate.
I took a series of screenshots showing the log-in and update process at work, which you’ll see below.
The process was very simple - you go to the Apple Maps Connect for Small Business site, and log in with your Apple ID and password. My friends entered in their details at this point. Scroll down to see the screenshots of the process I went through.
If you don't have an Apple ID, you can create one free of charge, but if you're an iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or iTunes user, or you have a Mac, you already have an Apple ID which you can use. If you have forgotten your Apple ID password, you can go to Apple ID password reset page to reset it.
Once done, you’re given the ability to start searching for your business to see if it’s already there.
If it’s not found, Apple Maps Connect guides you through the process to add it.
If it is already listed, you can edit the business details that are already in the system.
After you have finished going through a handful of steps, you can submit the updated information to Apple for verification.
The information will be reviewed for errors and you will be notified if the update is approved or not.
The person who logs in needs to be either the business owner or someone authorised by the business owner, with Apple using an automated verification process to ensure accuracy and confirm the business owner, which is what happened when I did the update process before writing this article.
The automated verification process in this instance was Apple’s systems calling The Entrance Lake House main phone number with a computerised voice reading out a 4 digit code that I needed to enter into the system.
Updates can take one week to process, and if there’s any data flagged by the system in the back-end for additional verification, the process could be delayed a little longer in the name, which is natural.
An email will be sent to the Apple ID email address once the edits are published, with feedback to be generally addressed within a week unless there’s a need for additional verificaion.
While Maps Connect can handle business with a few locations, allowing you to enter and/or edit the data that’s already there, if you need to enter data for a large chain or have more than 100 locations, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for help on making this process easy.
Ok, so what did my Apple Maps Connect for Business update process look like?
I've taken some screenshots to show you how simple and easy it was. I cropped the images so you get a clear and close look at the important parts.
1. First, I went to the Apple Maps Connect for Business Site, which takes us to an interface that looks similar to the iCloud log-in page, but is customised for Maps:
2. After my friends entered in their Apple ID and password, I had to click 'Accept' for a terms and conditions box with the usual kind of thing you see in those boxes.
3. Next we get a screen asking us to 'Add My Business':
4. The next screen ask us to 'Get Started':
5. Once we click that, you can do a search to see if your business is already listed. If not, you'll get the chance to add in your business details, but in this case, I knew the business was already there. I typed in the business name and put in the postcode (although I could have put in the street name and suburb as well).
6. Beacuse the business was already in Apple Maps, the next screen showed the expected result.
7. Click that entry brings up the screen below, where I then clicked the 'Claim This Business' button:
8. Now I can start editing the business details in question:
9. Once the details were correct and I pressed continue, it was time to verify the business owner. It was possible to select 'Not Now', but I chose the option to get a phone call to the business number listed:
10. So, I clicked 'Call Me Now'. Within seconds, the phone started ringing and a computerised voice gave me four digits to enter into the box below:
11. Once I entered the numbers and clicked 'Done', it was time to confirm the business location. You can see here that the 'red pin' is in a vacant lot, when it really should be on the top of the building to the left. So I simply dragged the pin to the right location:
12. Once the pin was in the right spot, I clicked continue:
13. It was then time to confirm the categories. The restaurant does Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch and Dinner, but the details below were the best fit:
14. Once I clicked continue, I saw the screen below, which was the chance to review some more details. I didn't take the screenshot but I was also able to confirm which days the business was open. I marked 'Monday' and 'Tuesday' as closed, but the rest of the details were correct.
I was also able to make sure the correct details were listed for the website, for Yelp, for Facebook and Twitter (although the restaurant doesn't use Twitter, but instead its own site and Facebook).
15. So, I could see in the screen below that the details I'd modified or entered were correct.
16. I scrolled down to make sure all the details were right. Once they were, I clicked the blue 'Submit to Apple' button.
17. Once that button was clicked, the image below appeared - and that was the end of the process!