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Apple Maps Vs Google Maps: Which Is Better To Use [& Why?]

Key Takeaways

  • Apple Maps prioritizes a sleek, minimalist design and user data privacy.
  • Google Maps offers extensive global coverage and detailed street views.
  • Both provide accurate navigation, but Google Maps has more alternate routes.
  • Apple Maps uses Siri for voice navigation; Google integrates with Google Assistant.

An Overview of Apple Maps vs Google Maps [Side-By-Side]

FeatureApple MapsGoogle Maps
User InterfaceSleek, minimalist design with minimal buttons; smooth graphics.Detailed with multiple buttons and toolbars; more symbols and icons on the map.
Accuracy of NavigationImproved significantly since launch; accurate turn-by-turn directions and ETA predictions.Consistently reliable; offers multiple alternative routes quickly.
Map Coverage and DetailExpanding global coverage; Look Around technology offers interactive panoramas.Extensive global reach; Street View feature for detailed exploration.
Offline FunctionalityiOS 17 allows downloading parts of the map for offline use; no real-time traffic updates offline.Offline maps download capability with large coverage area.
Points of Interest“Find Nearby” feature; Guides for editorial content; relies on third-party reviews (Yelp, TripAdvisor).Detailed icons and symbols for amenities; comprehensive reviews and photos directly in the app.
Integration with ServicesIntegrates with public transit and ride-sharing apps; lacks the Commute feature.Strong integration with public transit; Commute feature predicts travel times and crowd levels.
CustomizationBookmarks and Guides linked to Apple ID; iCloud synchronization for device integration.Bookmarks visible on the map; linked to Google Account for seamless cross-device experience.
Voice NavigationConnected to Siri; more context-specific voice commands.Uses Google Assistant; straightforward voice commands; requires specification for use with Siri.
Data PrivacyStrong commitment to privacy; option to delete data; uses “fuzzing” for route requests.Data routed through Google servers; used for ad personalization.
ProsMinimalist interface; accurate voice commands; strong privacy; 3D Look Around feature.Accurate and up-to-date maps; real-time traffic updates; extensive reviews; multi-platform support.
ConsLimited global coverage; outsourced reviews; less extensive than Google in some features.Privacy concerns; potentially cluttered interface; less context in voice commands.

Overview of Apple Maps and Google Maps

Apple Maps and Google Maps are two giants in the world of navigation services, and they’re the most widely used navigation apps.

Each app has its unique features and approaches to navigation, but they both do a great job of guiding their users to their destination.

Apple Maps is the default web mapping service for iOS devices, such as iPhones, iPads, and iPod touch. It was introduced back in 2012 with iOS 6, replacing Google Maps on Apple devices.

At that time, Apple Maps was highly criticized by numerous users to the point that Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly apologized to customers and advised them to download other alternatives.

But now, Apple Maps provides accurate turn-by-turn navigation with traffic information, estimated travel times, and rerouting to avoid delays. It also comes with several features, such as 3D Look Around, effective lane guidance, checking air and temperature, and more.

Google Maps, launched in 2005 by Google, has been the leading navigation app for years. Its initial purpose was to provide basic maps and directions, but it has evolved far beyond that.

With Google Maps, you can see satellite imagery, check out street views, and get real-time traffic updates. The app also plans routes for walking, driving, biking, and even public transportation to ensure customers have smooth, hassle-free journeys.

User Interface and Ease of Use

When it comes to navigation apps, a clean, simple, and easy-to-read user interface is a priority for users. After all, everyone needs clear instructions and directions to reach their destination.

Fortunately, both apps provide detailed and user-friendly interfaces. The main difference is the way the apps display information.

Apple Maps

Apple Maps‘ user interface is designed to look simple yet elegant, which matches the ideology of Apple. That means the app displays a sleek, clutter-free interface with smooth graphics and animations. 

But that doesn’t mean it lacks features. The interface keeps everything in one place as there’s only one clickable button, “Search Maps,” at the bottom of the page.

When you expand that search button, you’ll see a bunch of features such as recent search history, information about businesses, and nearby and saved locations.

Google Maps

Google Maps features a detailed user interface with multiple buttons and toolbars on the screen. At the top of the page, there’s a toolbar where you can determine your destination or search for nearby places.

There are also some buttons such as Restaurants, Hotels, Coffee, and Shopping if you want to explore local amenities. At the bottom of the page, you’ll find Contribute, Go, Explore, and Saved tabs to discover new locations.

So, which app has the better user interface? Both apps feature sleek and modern user interfaces, but Apple seems to prioritize a clean design with minimal buttons to achieve a minimalist interface that’s easy on the eyes.

Google Maps has abundant buttons and toolbars to make it easier for users to access the app’s features. The abundance of features and buttons is overwhelming for some. However, some users find Apple Maps less feature-rich compared to Google Maps.

Accuracy of Navigation and Routing

In the past, the main point of navigation apps was to provide basic maps and directions. But now, users are after detailed directions, route planning, rerouting options, and ETA predictions.

So, which app is more accurate in terms of navigation and routing?

When Apple Maps launched in 2012, it was a disaster for Apple. The app was highly unreliable and received a ton of complaints and negative reviews.

The app was unreliable to the point that it might alert you that you reached your destination while you were not even halfway through. Apple has made significant improvements to its app throughout the years though – and now it can match Google Maps.

Both apps now do a great job of guiding users to their destinations while showing accurate time estimates and turn-by-turn navigation along the routes. It also doesn’t matter if you’re driving, cycling, walking, or even taking public transportation, as each app has accurate directions for all travel methods.

Apple Maps and Google Maps both suggest alternate routes if your current route is congested. However, many users think that Google Maps excels in this aspect as it immediately provides multiple alternative routes, while Apple Maps doesn’t provide many alternatives.

Map Coverage and Detail

Google Maps has been around since 2005, and it boasts an extensive global reach as it covers a wide range of countries, cities, and remote locations. Google has a comprehensive mapping database, making it the ideal option for travelers exploring different parts of the world.

Regarding detail, Google introduced Street View in 2007 to create a 360-degree map of the world. Since then, Google has captured more than 220 billion images and covered over ten million miles across 100 countries.

Apple’s map coverage and detail have been questionable because of the problems associated with the release of Apple Maps back in 2012. That said, Apple has significantly expanded its global coverage throughout the years and is now available in numerous countries.

While Apple might not have the extensive Google database, it still managed to compete with Google, especially when it rolled out the Look Around technology. This feature offers interactive panoramas captured from numerous streets in many countries.

When comparing Google Maps’s Street View with Apple Maps’s Look Around, Google Maps has the upper hand. Why? Because it has more extensive coverage because it has been around since 2005. 

So, customers have had more time to share pictures from the streets worldwide, unlike Apple’s Look Around, which dropped in 2019.

Offline Functionality

For years, Apple Maps has been lacking offline use. But in iOS 17, Apple Maps now lets users download a part of the map to store on their devices in case they lose internet connection during their journey.

Offline use is beneficial, not only when you’re traveling abroad but also when exploring areas with cellular dead spots, such as suburban regions and highways.

After the iOS 17 update, you can download a region of the map on your phone and get turn-by-turn directions as long as you stay inside the borders of the downloaded map. You can also explore the map and zoom in and out without waiting for loading.

The most annoying limitation of offline maps is that you won’t be able to know when exactly you’ll reach your destination. While you’ll see an estimated arrival time, it won’t be accurate because Apple Maps can’t track real-time traffic patterns without an internet connection.

Google Maps also allows you to download offline maps and save them on your device. Fortunately, the downloadable area is large, as you can cache multiple cities at once.

Points of Interest and Additional Information

Apple Maps and Google Maps both offer handy features to help users explore nearby local amenities such as restaurants, cafes, parking lots, gas stations, and more. The main difference is how each app displays this type of information.

Apple Maps has a “Find Nearby” button that allows you to search for nearby amenities. It provides relevant categories depending on the specific area you’re visiting.

There’s also the “Guides” feature that includes editorial content to make you more familiar with the area you’re in.

Since Apple prioritizes a simple and sleek map design, you won’t see many icons and symbols on the map. You’ll need to expand the search toolbar to get an idea about nearby places.

Google Maps lets you explore nearby restaurants, hotels, hospitals, and gas stations easily by clicking on any of the icons underneath the search bar.

The map itself includes a bunch of symbols and icons that resemble nearby amenities to make it easier for users to navigate their surroundings.

The two apps provide accurate information about points of interest, such as opening hours, phone numbers, reviews, and more. However, Google has the upper hand when it comes to reviews since Apple outsources reviews to third-party websites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor.

On Google Maps, you’ll find more photos and reviews, and you won’t need to be redirected to another website to learn more about nearby restaurants or hotels.

Integration with Other Services

Google Maps and Apple Maps both offer integration with other services, such as public transit systems worldwide. You can get detailed information about train, bus, and subway routes and schedules.

Still, Google has the upper hand in this aspect as it relies on data from Google Maps users as well as crowdsources, providing more accurate information about public transportation systems.

Google Maps also offers the Commute feature, which allows you to know how crowded a particular area or route will be at a specific time.

So, for example, you can set up a commute from home to work, and Google Maps will predict travel times and alert you when it’s the best time to leave.

Apple Maps and Google Maps both integrate with ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft. You can compare prices, estimated arrival times, and wait times to determine the suitable app to use for your trip.

Customization and Personalization Features

Customization and personalization features allow users to save their favorite places, such as work and home locations. Fortunately, both apps offer many customizable features to improve the user’s experience.

Google Maps automatically displays your bookmarks and favorite places on the map itself. These bookmarks can eventually crowd your map and make it look messy, but you can still hide them by clicking on the “Saved” button.

On Apple Maps, the situation is pretty similar, but Apple calls them guides instead of bookmarks or favorite places.

Apple Maps is associated with the user’s Apple ID, and all the customization features, such as Guides, are tied to this account. The iCloud synchronization ensures that users can access their favorite places and lists from all their Apple devices.

Customization options in Google Maps are also linked to one’s Google Account, ensuring a seamless experience across multiple devices.

Voice Navigation and Assistance

Voice commands are crucial when it comes to navigation apps. After all, it’s not safe to drive while constantly checking your phone for directions.

Google Maps and Apple Maps both have voice navigation and assistance, but the voice assistance in Apple Maps is a bit more helpful. For example, Google Maps will give you directions like “Turn right in 100 feet.”

Meanwhile, Apple Maps will tell you, “Turn right in 100 feet after the next spotlight.” That means Apple Maps often gives you context clues that make navigation way easier.

Apple Maps is connected to Siri, so if you’re using an iPhone, you won’t need to install anything extra to use voice commands. Siri also works with Google Maps, but you have to specify the app to avoid defaulting to Apple Maps.

You can also download Google Assistant, disable Siri in Google Maps, and use “OK Google” commands while using Google Maps.

On Android, things are a bit more limited, as you can’t download Apple Maps. Google Maps and Google Assistant are pre-installed on Android devices, so you can set up hands-free commands right away.

Data Privacy and Security

When it comes to privacy and security, Apple will always come on top. Apple Maps takes multiple approaches to ensure users’ anonymity and safety.

Apple offers users the ability to delete their data at any time. When you request a route from point A to point B, Apple sends multiple queries with different IDs in a process called “fuzzing.”

After 24 hours, Apple changes your precious locations to less precise ones to mask where you’re trying to go.

Apple also doesn’t share any information about where you have been or what you’re searching for with external servers. This information is only saved on your device, and you can delete it at any time.

The case is completely different with Google. Everything you do on Google Maps gets routed through Google servers. Information about where you go and what you’re searching for is also shared to better personalize Google’s ads.

Pros and Cons Summary

After comparing Apple Maps and Google Maps, it’s safe to say that the two apps will easily get you to your destination.

So, which app is the best? It comes down to your personal preference and what you prioritize. 

To help you make an informed decision, let’s see the pros and cons of each app.

Pros of Apple Maps:

  • Sleek and modern look with minimal visible buttons and shortcuts.
  • More accurate and helpful voice commands.
  • Strong commitment to user’s privacy as data is stored on your device, not on external servers.
  • 3D Look Around feature

Cons of Apple Maps:

  • Outsourcing reviews to third parties like Yelp and TripAdvisor.
  • Global coverage may not be as extensive as Google’s.

Pros of Google Maps:

  • Accurate and up-to-date map data.
  • Real-time traffic updates.
  • Available on more devices and platforms.
  • Abundance of reviews and ratings of nearby places.

Cons of Google Maps:

  • Doesn’t ensure the user’s privacy and anonymity.
  • The user interface might seem cluttered for some users.
  • Voice commands don’t provide context clues.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Uses More Battery – Apple Maps or Google Maps?

Navigation apps often drain batteries fast as they utilize location and cellular services, which impact battery life. Many users reported that Google Maps drains more battery than Apple Maps.

However, many factors affect battery consumption, such as settings, usage patterns, and device type. If you have an iPhone, you might need to try both apps yourself to see how they impact your battery.

Why Did Apple Stop Using Google Maps?

The relationship between Apple and Google became strained when Google refused to let Apple access its voice-directed turn-by-turn navigation and vector graphics. Apple also argued that Google collects too much user data.

Conclusion: Making the Right Choice

Google Maps and Apple Maps are arguably the two best navigation apps out there. The choice between them hinges on individual preferences and needs. Apple prioritizes a sleek minimalist interface with a focus on protecting user’s data and security.

Meanwhile, Google Maps has better global coverage and detailed information. Google Maps has been around since 2005, so it has more years in the business compared to Apple.

Before you make a decision, consider your priorities, whether it’s Apple’s security commitment or Google’s comprehensive mapping data. After all, both apps will get you to your destination no matter where you are.

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