Apple Maps or Google Maps: Which is Better?

Tim Hardwick

Apple Maps has been providing navigation recommendations to Apple users for almost 13 and a half years, and a lot has changed in the app during that time. However, according to Canalys, the vast majority of iPhones in the US are still loaded with Google Maps as an alternative to ‌Apple Maps‌, which comes pre-installed on all iPhones. We want to hear from MacRumors readers. What do you prefer to get from point A to point B?

Launched September 2012, ‌Apple Maps‌ was quickly criticized for having incomplete and inaccurate map data, leading some iPhone users to dangerous routes. Apple CEO Tim Cook issued a rare public apology for the disappointment it caused customers, and iOS chief Scott Forstall was fired just a month later.

Since then, Apple has made significant improvements to ‌Apple Maps‌, building new features and fixing old bugs. Real-time traffic information and pedestrian navigation options were added to Maps in 2013, the same year Maps was expanded to OS X. In 2015, Maps was updated with a Nearby feature that suggests local points of interest. and public transit routes in several cities.

In early 2020, Apple completed an overhaul of its US maps, adding significantly more detail, including updated buildings, parks, sports fields, swimming pools and more. The Look Around feature is similar to Google Street View in some cities, and the updated maps have since rolled out to more countries. In iOS 15, Apple introduced immersive walking directions shown in augmented reality, curated guides for select cities, real-time public transit updates, and additional road information for improved navigation. iOS 16 introduced multi-stage routing. And in iOS 17, Apple introduced the ability to download maps for offline use—something Google Maps users have been able to do for quite some time.

Are Apple's incremental improvements enough to achieve this? be considered equal to Google Maps in the eyes of users? Of course, Google developers didn't sit idly by watching ‌Apple Maps‌' gradual evolution. Google has introduced several improvements aimed at improving the user experience with advanced artificial intelligence technologies and more immersive visualization tools, and even took a page or two from Apple's book.

One notable recent update in this regard is Immersive Route View, which provides a comprehensive preview of a user's journey, whether they are driving, walking or biking. Launched last year, the tool combines billions of street and aerial images to create a sophisticated digital representation of the world, allowing users to visually navigate bike lanes, sidewalks, intersections and parking spaces along their route. It also includes a dynamic time slider that shows how conditions like air quality and weather change throughout the day, helping users plan their trips more accurately.

Another big improvement is Lens integration in Maps are evolution. search functions with real-time viewing. Using artificial intelligence and augmented reality, Lens in Maps helps users find their way around a new location by providing information about nearby amenities such as ATMs, public transportation, and restaurants. The feature has since been expanded to more than 50 cities.

Google Maps has also released updates that make navigation maps more reflective of real-world conditions. These include more detailed and realistic images of buildings and improved lane control on highways. For electric vehicle owners, Google Maps also offers charging station information, including compatibility, charger speed, and last used time.

Despite these simultaneous improvements to Google Maps, their cumulative effect has not materialized. That didn't stop users from walking away impressed with how far Apple's navigation recommendations have come. Anecdotal reports suggest that users are increasingly recommending the app due to its cleaner look compared to the more cluttered design of Google Maps.

Likely due to the disastrous launch of ‌Apple Maps‌ still has a bad reputation among some users, but Apple's ongoing efforts to improve the app seem to have helped change some of those opinions. “Maps have come a long way, and people have noticed,” said Craig Federighi, Apple's chief software officer, at WWDC 2023. You'll be more or less likely to use ‌Apple Maps‌ during these days? Let us know in the comments.

Tags: Apple Maps, Google Maps[ 377 comments ]

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