Apple has followed in the footsteps of key rival Google in developing an app that can locate your car after you’ve parked, eliminating the possibility of wandering around for hours trying to remember where you left your vehicle.

While reports of the new app, which has been recently registered with the US Patent Office, suggest it operates in a similar way to Google’s Now product – it differs in one important respect. Google Now relies on your mobile having a network connection, or access to GPS data, but the Apple app can operate instead by Bluetooth, or by harnessing sporadic GPS data along with the iPhone’s accelerometer.

While losing phone signal is rare for most of us, when it comes to parking in underground car parks, it is a real issue – so the Apple product appears to offer a distinct advantage.

In other respects, the app is comparable to Google’s. It will guess when you’ve parked your car by detecting when you’ve stopped moving (using GPS or the accelerometer). It will then place a ‘pin’ on a map on the app, identifying where it thinks you’ve left your vehicle.

There are some drawbacks, however. If a user is travelling by public transport for part of their journey, the app may place a parking pin down again, in the wrong place. To combat this issue, the app will offer a number of possible parking locations, so you should still be able to find your car.

It is still unclear when Apple will make this app available, but the California-based firm will be keen to keep up with its rival Google, which is working hard to dominate interactive services for cars. Apple’s own system is called Car Play.

Soon, finding your car will be as easy as finding affordable breakdown cover!