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iOS 11 will add VR to Maps, allowing you to explore faraway cities by walking in real life

iOS 11 won’t officially release until later this year, but in the meantime, the beta versions are available to developers and somebody has just discovered a cool feature that has yet to be mentioned by Apple: the stock Maps app looks to be getting a futuristic upgrade that will allow you to check out cities around the world by moving your device around.

Using the “ARKit” features shown off at WWDC – that is, an Augmented Reality platform for interacting with your surroundings using the camera – an iPhone or iPad running iOS 11 can track a user’s movements in the real world and translate them into movements in the 3D view of Maps. Your steps in the real world are tracked to steps in the app, thereby letting you “walk” around an unfamiliar city. Though in the previews we’ve seen so far, users are in control of a birdseye “Flyover” view rather than being down at street level.

It looks like a cool use for the new tech, and we’d expect to see a lot more stuff like this in the near future. For a more detailed look at this new virtual reality function in Maps, including videos of it in action, check out this explainer over at iDB.