by Jim Lynch

Is Apple Maps finally better than Google Maps?

Mar 02, 2016
Consumer ElectronicsiOSiPhone

Apple Maps has come a very long way from where it started, and it may finally be better than Google Maps. Apple Maps is definitely worth a second look if you haven't seen it in a while.

When Apple Maps first launched, it was widely regarded as a nasty stinker of an app. This is unfortunate and entirely Apple’s own fault. All they had to do to avoid it was to label Apple Maps as a beta. That would have given them time to develop and improve it, but Apple was asleep at the wheel. And, unfortunately, this gave Apple Maps a very bad reputation.

But Apple Maps has changed a great deal since it was first released. It’s gotten much better than it was, and more and more people are coming to realize that.

Joe Mcgauley is a writer at the Thrillist site, and he recently shared his thoughts about the latest version of Apple Maps. He was quite generous with his praise and found that it was more than a match for Google Maps:

By all accounts, Apple Maps was a damned disaster when it debuted in 2012. It was like a botched clone of Google Maps, complete with a laundry list of chromosomal abnormalities — incorrect directions, no public transit component, and rampant bugs and errors. It sucked so much, key employees were fired and Tim Cook even publicly apologized.

I count myself among the majority of iPhone owners who not only didn’t use it, but vehemently avoided it. The interface was so ugly, it made me love Google Maps even more than I had before it existed. But I reluctantly gave it a second shot when Apple unveiled the revamped version of Maps for iOS 9.

To my amazement, not only did it not completely suck, but it was good. Like, better-than-Google Maps good. I got cozy with the fresh look and the handful of features that bested Google at its own game, and slowly but surely, it became my go-to navigation app.

Here are a few reasons you might find yourself a convert, too.

The public transportation directions are infinitely better than Google Maps

You can actually trust Siri to guide you now

The search feature is faster and more specific than Google

Get turn-by-turn navigation on your iPhone’s lock screen

Get a Superman-esque tour of your city

Send directions straight from your computer to your phone

Get up-to-the-minute train arrival times

Apple improved its data so you can avoid traffic jams and find faster routes

More at The Thrillist

I never bothered much with Google Maps or Apple Maps initially

I didn’t spend much time worrying about Apple Maps when it was first released, nor did I bother much with Google Maps. Instead I was using a program called Navigon, which is a dedicated GPS program for iOS devices. Navigon always worked well for me, and it let me download maps of entire states and regions so I never needed to be connected to get map data.

apple maps large

Eventually, however, I switched to Apple Maps since it works so well with my Mac and Apple Watch via Handoff, and because of the improvements Apple has made. These days Apple Maps is my go-to navigation app and it works very well indeed.

For the record, I did try Google Maps a few times. But the interface always turned me off, and I never saw anything about it that was better than Navigon. Nor have I seen anything in it recently that would sway me away from using Apple Maps. Your mileage may vary, of course. And more power to you if Google Maps works for you.

Apple Maps and the Apple Watch

One of the things I like best about Apple Maps is that it works really well on my Apple Watch. I get taps on my wrist to tell when a turn is coming up, and I can use Apple Maps right from my wrist while I walk around in a city. It’s very easy to find restaurants and other points of interest with Apple Maps on the Apple Watch.

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I have to admit that Apple Maps was not the reason I bought an Apple Watch. In fact, I never really even stopped to consider it at all. I bought my Apple Watch for fitness tracking, text messages and other wrist-based functions.

But the combination of the Apple Watch and Apple Maps has proven to be incredibly useful. And it has also liberated me from having to take out my phone to find my way around, or even to glance at it much while I’m driving around somewhere.

So I have to give Apple credit for integrating Apple Maps so well into the Apple Watch. It really is one of the Apple Watch’s best apps despite not getting as much media attention as other features. If you own an Apple Watch, you probably know what I’m talking about here.

Apple Maps is definitely worth a second look

It doesn’t shock me that a lot of iOS users seem to be giving Apple Maps a second chance. It’s gotten so much better than it was when it was first released that I think we may finally be at a point where it moves beyond its initially bad reputation.

If you haven’t taken a look at Apple Maps recently, you really should. I think you might be surprised at how much better it is now, and how useful Apple Maps can be when you combine it with the Mac and the Apple Watch.

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