Apple Maps is reportedly gaining popularity over Google Maps

Jul 19, 2023

iPhone users seem to be preferring Apple Maps over Google Maps. A report in The Wall Street Journal has a collection of opinions from users, and the trend seems to be increasing.

While these are anecdotal reports, they are good signs that show Apple has been improving the quality of the app. According to analyst firm, Canalys, the majority of iPhone users in the U.S. downloaded Google Maps on their devices to use it instead of Apple Maps.

Both Apple and Google's apps are available for cars. But the main difference between the two is that the Mountain View company's navigation app has billions of users worldwide, its popularity is one of the reasons for its accurate data as well. Apple debuted its Maps app in 2012, and it was met with a lot of criticism from users which, as Macrumors notes, actually led to Apple CEO Tim Cook issuing a public apology regarding the abysmal experience.

It is difficult to change people's opinions once they have been set. Then there is also the fact that Apple Maps are exclusive to the company's products, iPhones, iPads and Macs. That might explain why Apple's app is not as popular as the numbers that Google's app might boast. You could of course access Apple Maps via a web browser on your Android phone, but let's be honest, who would do that if you have the Google Maps app with turn-by-turn voice guided navigation, not to mention offline maps and other features? Is it really surprising that iPhone users prefer using it over Apple Maps?

Apple Maps is growing in popularity over Google Maps

As it turns out, Apple Maps does have some distinct features that are important to users. One such improvement that has been well received by users, is how the app handles transit routes. They are now reportedly better than Google's design, which has a somewhat cluttered UI.

One former Google Maps power user mentions that her iPhone prompted her to use Apple Maps at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. It had all the information she needed, including recommendations for shops and restaurants at the terminal. This convinced her to jump ship from Google Maps to Apple Maps. The report by the WSJ (paywalled) notes that users found streets are easier to look at in Apple Maps while zoomed in, unlike Google Maps which had too many pins on the map (points of interest) that made it difficult to use.

The Apple Maps app has a pleasant design, a good widget, and is integrated into iOS, which allows other apps to use it for displaying directions. If you have an Apple Watch, you might appreciate the Apple Maps integration, it is great for walking, running, etc.

Apple improved its Maps app with its Look Around feature (similar to Google Street View), and added more landmarks, popular spots, etc., to keep up with Google Maps. The California-based company has been creative and added content discovery features in its Maps, to help users find concerts near you. It also integrates with the Apple Music app to aid in the discovery experience. The Apple Maps app in iOS 17 will allow users to download offline maps.

Of course, some improvements that have been added to Apple Maps has been US-centric. For those of us in other Countries who may be missing out on a few of those, it is still quite good. However, its route planning leaves much to be desired.

From my personal experience, I found Apple Maps to be a bit erratic when compared to Google Maps. I have used both apps while walking and driving. Apple Maps normally chooses to display routes that are on main streets that have a lot of traffic, or are longer in distance. Google, on the other hand showed me alternate routes, that were more tailored to my preferences. They were more or less the ones that I would have preferred if I had to select them manually. Apple Maps may probably offer a better experience if you're in the U.S.

While it is good to see Apple Maps gain some traction, Google Maps is still streets ahead of the competition. It has set a high bar for accuracy in location services, but that is no excuse for Apple Maps to lag behind. A trillion-dollar company such as Apple surely has the resources it needs to improve its services, add more features, and improve the accuracy

Which one do you like?

Apple Maps is reportedly gaining popularity over Google Maps
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Apple Maps is reportedly gaining popularity over Google Maps
iPhone users finally seem to prefer Apple Maps over Google Maps.
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  1. Tachy said on July 19, 2023 at 5:06 pm

    The title is incorrect, incomplete.

    You need to specify this only refers to iphone users and I wonder if the data backing this claim up is restricted to just iphone users?

    There are other factors reducing google maps use that has nothing to do with apple.

    For instnce, when they killed Android Auto for mobile devices, I switched to Waze simply because I don’t like the voice google maps forces me to use.

    1. ShmoJoe said on July 20, 2023 at 5:58 pm

      But is the title really incorrect when it succeeds in doing what it was originally designed to do, Generate more clicks?! Regardless of whether it actually applies to a reader or not?

  2. Herman Cost said on July 19, 2023 at 3:22 pm

    Google Maps is still much better at the most important thing: finding the best route. I have actually had Apple Maps send me in the exact opposite direction of where it should have sent me. When that happened, I thought the road I should have been on might have been closed or something, but I tried Google Maps and it directed me in the right way. Google Maps also does a much better job of trip time estimation.

    Reliable and optimal route finding are far more important than frills like airport shop recommendations, which is why Apple Maps is still not ready for prime time..

  3. Davin Peterson said on July 19, 2023 at 2:21 pm

    Like other apps, Apple doesn’t make maps for Android and they didn’t have a web version like Google has had. Not that Android users would want to use Apple maps

  4. John G. said on July 19, 2023 at 8:17 am

    Thanks @Ashwin for the article! :]

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