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Whether you’re driving for Uber or Lyft, you need a reliable mapping system on your smartphone to guide you through the city. For many iPhone users, the final download comes down to an Apple Maps vs Google Maps race.
Navigation apps are crucial tools for every dedicated rideshare driver to have. With real-time data from millions of everyday users, they offer greater customization and accuracy than most built-in rideshare navigation systems. By doing so, they allow you to make more money by maximizing every second.
In this article, we’ll dive into the major differences between Apple Maps and Google Maps for rideshare drivers, so you can select your perfect match for your iOS device.
- Apple Maps vs Google Maps Comparison
- Apple Maps vs Google Maps: The Winner
- Frequently Asked Questions
Apple Maps vs Google Maps Comparison
Google Maps has long been a leader among navigation apps. Launched in 2005, early on in the information age, the platform has refined their user experience, routes, and traffic data for over a decade. Google even acquireed Waze, one of its leading competitors, to further improve the accuracy of its data.
However, Apple Maps‘ user base is on the rise. The platform has experienced a fair share of criticism across the board, but after seven years of updates, many iPhone users believe the app is finally redeeming itself. That said, it’s time to re-evaluate which mapping app is truly supreme.
Here, we’ll compare these navigation apps based on three major categories that rideshare drivers should consider: data accuracy, display, and special features.
When choosing a navigation app, one of the primary features you should seek is data accuracy. Signs of accurate mapping data include precise ETAs and real-time traffic information. This ensures that you receive fast and logical routes that your riders will appreciate — and that the app works in the first place.
The Google Maps app has long been trusted for its data accuracy. It frequently provides to-the-dot time estimates and has an enormous amount of data, passively collected from its many active users, to tell you where traffic is heaviest and where road closures are located.
Google Maps also surpasses Apple Maps in the accuracy of its nearby location data. Because an enormous amount of businesses use and update their Google listings already, Google isn’t dependent on third-party apps to feed information to their platform. On the other hand, Apple is still heavily reliant on mapping tech companies like TomTom. Because of this, Apple Maps sometimes misplaces businesses and keeps closed businesses on its map.
Both Google Maps and Apple Maps provide drivers with helpful lane guidance, keeping you especially safe when driving at airports and on one-way roads. In addition, their turn-by-turn directions are equally accurate and logical, and won’t lead you to take riders through strange routes with an unpleasant amount of turns.
However, while Apple has come a long way, the company has only recently begun collecting data directly from users, which means real-time driving information still has catching up to do.
While Apple Maps still lags behind when it comes to consistently providing the most efficient routes, it does inch ahead when it comes to its display capabilities.
Most evidently, Apple Maps provides a far more helpful map view during its turn-by-turn navigation. As you’re driving, the iOS application gives drivers a clean 3D map view that displays the shape of the buildings around them. This allows drivers to easily figure out their current location without zooming in with their fingers to see nearby location names.
Apple Maps has also long provided the option for you to display your speed, so drivers can simply glance between their mapping app and the road while driving — no car speedometer needed. This is extremely helpful when you’re driving a service where greatly exceeding the speed limit can put you out of a career. On the other hand, Google Maps is just rolling out the app-based speedometer on newer Android devices.
In Northern California, Apple Maps has actually surpassed Google Maps in terrain and small road details. Although this is great news for Northern California drivers, it’s a fairly insignificant area when you consider that Google Maps displays immense detail all around the world.
Apple has long led the race in indoor map details. However, indoor maps are admittedly of little use for most rideshare drivers’ day-to-day.
In terms of having highly visible driving directions and an uncluttered landscape, both mapping services are pretty much head-to-head.
Every navigation app offers special features that encourage users to choose their platform over another.
For Google Maps, one of these features is its gas station finder. It’s true that Apple Maps does offer the ability for drivers to find nearby gas stations, but Google takes it one step further. The Google Maps app will automatically pull accurate gas prices, plus additional driving times to get to cheaper gas stations. This helps rideshare drivers save time and money while working. All drivers need to do:
- While navigating: Tap on the magnifying glass on the upper right hand corner of their screen and select “Gas stations.”
- While stopped: Tap on the search bar and type “gas stations.” Select the option in the suggestions with a red magnifying glass on the left hand side.
Google Maps also has highly accurate business data compared to Apple Maps. This makes your bathroom breaks and lunch breaks far easier, as you can quickly search for grocery stores and restaurants near you, along with their opening hours.
Both navigation apps have fairly advanced offline features, with Google providing slightly more robust capabilities. That said, drivers on both apps can save on data and avoid killing their battery without having Wi-Fi built into their vehicles.
Both apps also support hands-free driving with voice commands. Google Assistant provides far more options than Siri, allowing Google Maps to take the lead with safe driving.
Where Apple Maps does beat Google Maps is its Flyover mode, which allows drivers to take aerial tours of their city straight from their Apple devices. Google Maps does have its street view, but being able to familiarize yourself an entire city is not only cool, but helpful so you can get the big picture and never miss a turn.
Apple Maps vs Google Maps: The Winner
At the end of the day, our winner is still the long-reigning champion, Google Maps.
Apple Maps has become an impressive app over time, offering new features and resolving the majority of its issues. However, when the Google Maps app is as close to perfection as any navigation app can be, it’s hard to forgive Apple Maps for small, yet noticeably more frequent errors.
At the moment, Apple seems to be a leader when it comes to the bells and whistles, while Google is never too far behind. All the while, Google is the most dependable at providing the accurate real-time data that drivers truly need to earn good tips, receive five-star ratings, and fit as many rides into an hour as possible.
We do believe that Apple has a strong chance to roll out competing features within the next year, but who knows? Google may keep up the pace. They do have access to search engine data, millions of drivers, and even more Google users, after all.
Frequently Asked Questions
Getting to know what Apple Maps vs Google Maps offer is a necessity when making your final decision. Here are some additional questions to help you choose the perfect mapping app for you:
1. Do Apple Maps and Google Maps work internationally?
Both apps are available in plenty of countries outside the United States and are always working on expanding their services. You can learn about where specific Apple Maps features are supported on this page, and where Google Maps features are supported here.
2. Can I use Apple Maps on Android devices?
No, Apple Maps is only supported on iOS devices. This means it can be used on iPhones, iPads, Macs, and even Apple Watches. If you’re looking for directions on your Android device or PC, you’ll want to stick to Google Maps.
3. Do I need an account to use Google Maps or Apple Maps?
Google Maps does not require you to have an account to use its service. However, creating an account allows you to quickly get directions to frequented locations, like your home or favorite restaurant, with just a few taps.
On Apple Maps, no new account is necessary. Your Apple ID will serve as your “account” and iCloud will automatically store your bookmarked locations across devices.
Get Where You Need to Be
Google Maps may be our winner for iPhone users, but Apple Maps isn’t exactly a loser in our books. At the end of the day, it all comes down to preference. Think about what features take priority for you as a rideshare driver, and what will help you make your riders happy and earn more. Both apps are leading navigation platforms for good reason, though Google’s years in the business are simply hard to beat.
If you’re interested in downloading more apps to help you earn more in the rideshare business, check out this list of our 21 essential apps for Uber drivers.
Brett Helling is the owner of Ridester.com. He has been a rideshare driver since early 2012, having completed hundreds of trips for companies including Uber, Lyft, and Postmates. In 2014 he acquired Ridester.com to share his experiences with other drivers. His insights are regularly quoted by publications such as Forbes, Vice, CNBC, and more. He is currently working on a book about working in the Gig Economy, expanding his skill set beyond the rideshare niche. Read more about Brett here.