How to Find Where You Parked Your Car with iOS 10

Nearly everyone’s been in this situation: you’re in a strange neighborhood, at a music fest, or at the mall, and realize you can’t for the life of you remember where you’ve parked your car. Thanks to a new feature in iOS 10, your iPhone can now solve this problem automatically. The techno-magic lies in a combination of the iPhone’s location services and the car’s Bluetooth wireless network.

You need an iPhone or iPad running iOS 10 or later for this feature to work. All the necessary software comes with iOS 10, so there’s no other apps or gadgets to buy. Also, your vehicle must have a Bluetooth-enabled navigation or entertainment system, or one that has Apple’s CarPlay; older cars aren’t supported.

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Pair your car’s Bluetooth with your iPhone, which you may already have done when you set up your car’s audio or navigation. On the phone open the “Settings” app. Go to “Settings -> Privacy -> Location Services -> System Services.” Find the “Frequent Locations” slide switch and turn it on if it isn’t already. Next, find “Settings -> Maps -> Show Parked Location” and turn it on. Your iPhone will now remember where you parked your car.

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As you drive, the iPhone is connected to your car via Bluetooth. When you arrive at your destination and walk away from the car, Bluetooth disconnects automatically, and the phone saves the car’s location in “Maps.” To find your car, open the Maps app. A “pin” of the car’s location will appear on the map. Underneath, “Parked Car” also appears at the top of the list of destination suggestions along with a brief description of the nearest roads, businesses and landmarks. If your vehicle is some distance away, tap the Parked Car location suggestion. The Maps app will give directions to your car as it would any destination.

After you configure the settings on the iPhone for Frequent Locations, iOS begins to record the places you park. It treats frequently used locations, such as at your home or workplace, differently from other parking spots. In Maps, the Parked Car locator will ignore the places you typically park and show only out-of-the-ordinary locations. If you’ve driven to work at least a few times with the iPhone, the Parked Car map pin will not show up if your car’s in its usual spot at home or at the office; it appears only when you park someplace new.

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You can remove a Parked Car location entry in Maps, say, if you’ve just driven a rental car and no longer want to keep track of it. Tap the “Parked Car” pin symbol from the map. Swipe up on the menu card and tap “Remove Car”.

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To keep your whereabouts and daily travels private, you can erase the data the iPhone keeps about your locations. Go to “Settings -> Privacy -> Location Services -> System Services” and tap “Clear History.” Note that doing this resets the everyday parking locations, so the phone then has to build up this information from scratch.

In iOS 10 and later iPhone software, it’s a cinch to find your parked car when you visit unfamiliar places. After you’ve enabled the Show Parked Location feature in Settings, the Parked Car location pin automatically appears in the Maps app. Tap on Parked Car, and Maps will tell you how to get there.

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