Apple has launched Maps Connect, a new self-service portal that allows owners to add or edit the listings of local businesses.
The portal is intended only to be accessed by owners of small businesses or their authorized representatives but not agencies.
Apple notified tech website Search Engine Land of the free service that allows business owners to easily and quickly input more content into Apple Maps. The listings, which are either new ones or corrected versions of previous listings, will appear in the Apple Maps app on both desktop computers and mobile devices.
To sign up for Maps Connect, business owners will first have to sign in with their Apple ID. Once signed in, the details of the business will have to be entered, including the address and primary business phone number.
Apple will then send an automated call to the listed phone number to verify it. The business owner will then receive a PIN code for the verification of the phone number and the business.
Once registration is complete, the business owner will have to confirm the address of the establishment by dragging a pin across an overhead map that will already approximately determine where the business is located.
The business owner will then complete the details of the business by adding the category of the business and its operating times throughout the week.
Additional details, such as the website and social media accounts of the business, can also be added to the listing to give users more information when looking up the establishment.
Both new and updated listings will appear within Apple Maps within a week, or faster depending on the situation and whether the listing has a problem or requires an additional verification process.
Apple also said that it will be implementing measures to prevent fraudulent entries on the service, though the exact methods were not extensively discussed.
Apple has also confirmed that the Maps Connect service is currently only available for business owners in the United States. However, additional countries will be added to Maps Connect in the future.
Through the Maps Connect website, Apple is also gauging interest in the installation of iBeacon in establishments. However, the businesses that Apple is prioritizing for iBeacon installation need to follow this criteria: they must be accessible to the general public; have a million visitors per year; have available reference maps; and be Wi-Fi connected throughout the establishment. The associated iBeacons app should also be authorized by the owner.