Waze, a social GPS navigation app with a cult-like following, just got a lot more useful.
A new "Planned drives" feature in Waze for iOS lets you add destinations of future appointments and the times when you need to be there. Based on current traffic conditions and previous traffic patterns, the app lets you know when you need to leave to make your appointment on time. And it works well. (The company plans to add the feature to its Android app in the near future.)
The feature saves you from having to enter a destination into the app when you're ready to leave. And if you run late frequently, you'll appreciate the one less thing to do as you rush out the door. You can also connect Waze to your iPhone Calendar, and add Facebook Events, and the app adds them to your Planned drives queue, as long as they have associated addresses.
How to use Waze's 'Planned drives'
Planned drives are easy to set up. To start, you tap the bottom-left Waze icon on the map screen. From there, tap "Planned drives," and then the "+" button. Next you enter the destination and set the "from" location, which is your current location by default. "Today" is the default day, but you can pick any day of the upcoming week. Finally, you choose the "Arrive at" time, and Waze estimates the drive time in 15 minute increments. (You may need to turn on reminders for Planned drives to work; just go to Settings and then tap "Planned drives" to enable reminders.)
Not even Google Maps, one of the most popular mobile map apps, offers any sort of similar "Planned drives" feature. (Google owns Waze.) Waze version 4.3.0 for iOS also now displays reasons for traffic jams (when they're available), and the app automatically mutes its audio commands during phone calls.
Waze isn't my go-to GPS navigation app, for various reasons. In the past, for instance, I found that Waze takes too long to find points of interest, at least compared to Google Maps. However, the Planned drives feature just might make me reconsider.