ParkTime Help

Introduction

ParkTime remembers where you parked and for how long. It features a big arrow that points right to your car, a distance readout, a map, and a compass. It shows how long you've been parked or how much time is left on the parking meter. It will notify you before the meter expires. It can give you detailed walking directions to the car. It also works with, and can be fully controlled from, your Apple Watch.

Features include:

  • A big arrow points straight to your car
  • A map tracks the location of you and your car
  • See a continuous readout of distance and direction to your car
  • Tracks how long you've been parked
  • Tracks how much time is on a parking meter
  • Notifies you before the parking meter expires
  • ParkTime app for your Apple Watch is included
  • Control and view ParkTime with the Apple Watch

The Main Screen

PARK TIME Main Screen

The Main Screen has three sections - the map shows the location of you and your car, the compass and pointer shows the direction to go to get to your car, and the distance line shows how far you are from your car.

There are also two buttons, “Park Car” to indicate you parked the car, and “Set Meter” to set time and notification for a parking meter.

Finally, at the top of the screen, an “Options” menu has several commands, and a “Help” button will summon online help information for the app. 

The Map

The map shows your location and that of the car, if it is parked. 

Your location is represented by a blue dot. Around the dot is a pulsing circle that indicates the accuracy of the location. 

The car’s location is represented by a small car icon. It only appears if the car is parked, and you are not in the same location as the car.

You can pinch, scroll, or rotate the map to temporarily see specific features. If you move, or the phone gets a new location, the map view will reposition itself to show both you and the car. You can also force this repositioning via an item in the Options menu.

An item in the Options menu toggle the map between the default satellite view and a similar, standard view.

You can swap the positions of the map and the compass/pointer by swiping up or down on the compass/pointer, or via an item in the Options menu.

If you are indoors, accuracy of your location and that of the car may be affected significantly. See the discussion in the Troubleshooting FAQ section of this document.

The Compass and Pointer

The compass indicates which way is North. If the phone is indicating that the compass may not be fully accurate, a small message appears showing what the accuracy is. For example, it might say “±10°”.

The pointer is the big arrow displayed on top of the compass. It points to the location of the car.

If you hold the phone parallel to the ground, both the compass and pointer will indicate the correct directions regardless of which way you are facing.

For the pointer to be accurate, your location, the car’s location, and the compass reading must all be accurate. Under some conditions, especially if you are indoors, accuracy can be significantly affected. See the discussion in the Troubleshooting FAQ section.

The Distance Line

The distance line indicates how far you are from the car, and in what general direction it is. For example, it might show “100 feet West”.

If the car is not parked, the line shows “Not Parked”. If you are within a few feet of the car, it says “At the Car”.

If the location of you and/or the car are not fully accurate, the line may include this information. For example it might show “100 feet West ±30 feet”.

The Time Line

The time line shows, when the car is parked, either the amount of time it has been parked, or the amount of time left on the parking meter.

The Note

You can use the note field to add a bit of extra information, such as “space 1234” or “red level 2” or anything else. The note will stay until it is replaced by another.

Tap in the note area to make the keyboard appear. When you are finished entering the note, tap the keyboard’s Done button to retract the keyboard.

The Park Car button

When you park the car, tap this button to tell ParkTime that the car is at your current location. It also starts the timer that tracks how long you’ve been parked, or how much time is left on the parking meter.

When you tap, the phone determines your location with as much accuracy as it can, and sets that as your car’s location. If you are outdoors, this only takes a second or two to get a location with accuracy of a few feet.. In an indoor garage, it can take longer, and accuracy can be less, sometimes much less. ParkTime keeps trying to get an accurate location for twenty seconds or so. If accuracy is still not very good, it remembers the location it has, but also shows you an alert that it might not be very accurate.

If the parking location isn’t very accurate, keep in mind that the phone uses satellite signals to get your location, so you might want to move to a nearby location that has a view of the car and a clearer view of the sky, and tap the Park Car button again.

Parking the car resets the time parked, or the time on the parking meter to its original time.

If you are at a parking meter, you might want to tap the Set Meter button next, to set how much time is on the meter, and if you want to be notified before it expires. See the description of the Set Meter Screen below.

The Set Meter button

This button makes the Set Meter Screen appear, where you can set up a parking meter, as described below.

If your phone supports Force Touch, you can press lightly on the button to peek at the current settings on the Meter Screen. Pressing harder will pop you into the Meter Screen.

The Options Menu

Tap the Options button to see a menu with the following items.

Change Map Style

This will toggle the map between its default satellite view and a simpler plain map view.

Reposition the Map

This repositions and zooms the map so that both your location and that of the car are in view. This happens automatically whenever you change location, but you might want to select this after you’ve manually pinched, swiped, or rotated the map.

Swap Compass and Map

This swaps the Map with the Compass and Pointer, so you can make either one be the larger, top view.

Set Car to “Not Parked”

This sets the car to the Not Parked condition. It’s not that important to “un-park” the car after you find it, but you can.

Reset Parking Meter -or- Reset Time Parked

This will reset the time left on the parking meter to the original time as set in the Set Meter Screen, or reset the time parked to zero, depending if the parking meter is in use.

Get Directions

This will switch to the Maps app, with it set up to give you turn by turn walking directions to the car.

The Help button

Tap the help button to see the Online Help for ParkTime. You need an active Internet connection to fetch the help info.

The Set Meter Screen

PARKTIME Set Meter Screen 

The Set Meter Screen appears when you tap the Set Meter button on the Main Screen. It lets you say that the car is at a parking meter, how much time is on the meter, and if you want to be notified before the meter expires.

Peeking at, or just looking at the Meter Screen does not reset the meter time. This allows you to take a look at the settings without resetting the timer. To reset the time, you have to make some change on the screen - flip one of the two switches, or spin one of the two time wheels. You can also use the Options menu on the Main Screen, or an Application Shortcut to reset the time.

Application Shortcuts

PARKTime Application Shortcuts

If your phone has the Force Touch feature, you can press firmly on the ParkTime icon and a shortcut menu will pop. Choosing any of the shortcuts will cause the ParkTime app to open, and the shortcut action to be performed. The shortcuts are as follows:

Park Here

The app will set the car as parked at your current location.

Reset Timer

If the parking meter is set, the time left on the meter will reset to the initial time as set in the Set Meter screen. Otherwise, the time parked will reset to zero.

Get Directions

This will immediately switch to the Maps app to show walking directions to the car.

Not Parked

This will set the app to the "car is not parked" condition.

Notifications

When you’ve set up a parking meter on the Set Meter Screen, and set it to be notified in advance of the meter’s expiration, you will receive a notification. It’s a standard notification that works the same as notifications on the phone (or Apple Watch).

If ParkTime is on-screen at the time of the notification, an alert will be shown.

If ParkTime is not active, the notification will be shown according to the options set in the Settings app for the phone. You can turn notifications off, have them show momentarily, or have them show an alert, You can also have them play a sound or not.

If you have paired an Apple Watch with your phone, and the phone is locked, the notification will go to the Watch and be handled with the options you can set in the Watch app of the phone. You can turn notifications on or off, or adjust tactics and sounds.

If you tap the Watch notification, it will open the ParkTime app, where you can see details, reset the timer, or get directions to the car.

The Apple Watch

ParkTime works with the Apple Watch. You can even use most of its features directly from the watch without taking the phone out of your pocket.

ParkTime Watch App

With ParkTime on your phone, you can use the Watch app to install ParkTime on the Watch. You can also turn on a ParkTime Glance, and view the time parked or on the parking meter directly on the watch face as a complication.

ParkTime gets location information from the phone, therefore the phone must be within range of the watch for the watch app to work.

ParkTime on the watch can set the car to parked or not parked, reset the park or meter time, or kick off turn by turn walking directions to the car. The watch will show a map to the car, and the distance, but it updates only every few seconds, unlike the phone, which updates its map continuously.

One thing the watch can not show is an arrow that points directly to the car. That is because unlike the phone, the watch does not have compass hardware inside and so can not determine the exact position of your arm.

ParkTime Watch Application

The watch application screen shows the time parked, the distance and general compass direction to the car, and a map showing your position and that of the car.

A tap on the map will switch the Watch to the Maps application, set up to begin giving you walking directions to the car.

If the car is not parked, the screen simply says “Not Parked” and shows a “Park” button you can use to easily set the car to the parked status.

 PARKTIME Watch Menu

PARKTIME Watch Menu

A firm press on the watch screen will bring up a menu with four options: Park: Sets the car as parked, at your current location. Not Parked: Sets the app to the not parked state. Reset Timer: Sets the time parked to zero, or the time left on the meter to its initial time (as set in the phone ParkTime app Set Meter Screen). Directions: Switch to the Map app, set up to being giving walking directions to the car.

ParkTime Glance

The glance shows information similar to that in the app: Time, distance, and a map. Tapping on the upper part of the glance will open the main ParkTime watch app.  Tapping on the map will open the Maps application.

Note that the map shown on the glance will not update as you view it. For that, see the map on the Watch app.

ParkTime Complications

Watch Face (middle and bottom center)

You can set complications on your watch face to show ParkTime information. The smaller complications will show a small car icon and the time parked, or a small parking meter icon and the time left on the meter.

Tapping a ParkTime complication will open the main ParkTime watch app.

If you have set up a parking meter, the time next to the tiny meter icon will count down until the meter expires, at which point it will start counting up to show how long it has been expired.

Troubleshooting FAQ

Sometimes accuracy is poor. Why?

ParkTime takes readings on three things: Your location, your car’s location, and the compass heading. If all three are accurate, then the app as a whole will be too.

To get a fix on your own location, the phone uses the GPS to get the most accurate readings. This system relies upon signals from satellites, which are strongest when the phone has a clear view of the sky. If you are indoors, the signals are very weak and it may not be able to get a very accurate location. ParkTime keeps tracking and refining your location while the app is running, 

When you tell ParkTime to remember where you parked, it quickly gets a location.

I see the “hold parallel to the ground” message even though it is parallel. Why?

If you have the phone’s Rotation Lock feature turned on, apps can’t sense the orientation of the phone, so the message stays on. The Rotation Lock can be turned off in the phone’s Control Center, available by swiping up from the bottom edge of the screen. Even with the rotation lock on, if you hold the screen parallel to the ground, you will still get the same accuracy as if the message was not there.