​Apple Maps Connect for businesses arrives in the UK

Small businesses in the UK can now build a profile of their operations on Apple Maps following a quiet product launch.

Apple has expanded its self-service business directory listing for Maps Connect to the UK and Ireland.

UK small business owners can now put their business location and contact details on Apple Maps through the Maps Connect service that Apple launched in the US last October. The service has quietly been launched in the UK and Ireland, as well as in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.

The portal allows business owners or managers to add and update business information that is displayed on Apple Maps. To log in to the portal, business owners need to have set up an Apple ID.

Businesses that are already listed on Yelp will find it easier than before the launch to register with Maps Connect, which draws on Yelp's directory for information and images. For those businesses, they'll be able to simply 'claim' their business after running a name and city search.

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Apple's verification process for Maps Connect requires that a person who claims to be the owner of a business can answer a call to the business's telephone number. An automated service calls the number and reads out a PIN code that is required to access the profile.

Businesses then need to choose a category for the firm they're operating and confirm the company's opening hours. They can also list links to their social media profiles on Yelp, Facebook, and Twitter as well as to their own website.

Businesses with more than 100 locations who want to ensure their data is accurate will need to email Apple at mapsconnect-business@apple.com.

While the verification process is instant, all updates and edits will take about one week to show up on Maps.

Maps Connect still is not available in many countries. However, businesses that are interested in using the service can ask Apple to notify them when it does become available in their area.

The offering from Apple rivals Google's My Business and Nokia Here Prime Places, though the latter is only for parking facilities sand petrol stations.

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