Apple Maps vs Google Maps: A Detailed Comparison

Google Maps vs Apple Maps: This article discusses the key differences between both the navigation maps and helps you choose the best.

Apple Maps vs Google Maps

There’s no denying the fact that navigation tools like Google Maps and Apple Maps have changed the way we search for places, directions, and explore local businesses. These two maps are the best location tracking apps that we have today. While both the apps serve a similar purpose, there are some major differences in their interface and features. But which of the two is better for you? Is Google maps better than Apple Maps? Which map app is most accurate? To find out the answers, we are doing a detailed comparison of Google Maps vs Apple Maps in this blog. So, read on!

Google Maps vs Apple Maps - History

Launched in 2005, Google Maps has become synonymous with the word ‘map’, even more so than an actual map. Currently, this navigation app has a 70% market share and an unmatched acquisition power. Reason? Because it offers real-time traffic, predicts arrival times, and optimizes routes for many modes of transportation.

Apple Maps, on the other hand, didn’t arrive until 2012 and for years it struggled with technical issues. All the while, Google Maps continued to improve and reign supreme.

It was finally after the release of iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 in 2019 that Apple got a foothold. The updated Apple Maps ditched third-party navigation data in favor of fresh data gathered directly by Apple. The new and updated maps were far more accurate and detailed.

Later with the release of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, Apple added routes for cyclists, routing for electric vehicles, congestion zones, and guides for finding the best places to visit in cities around the world.

Both apps are similar visually and offer basic mapping features, including driving directions with turn-by-turn navigation, walking, and public transit directions. However, there are some key differences between Apple Maps and Google Maps that might influence which mapping service you choose.

So, without further ado, let’s discuss their amazing features and find out which navigation app is most accurate.

Google Maps vs Apple Maps - Key differences

There are some stark differences between the two applications. To further distinguish, below are their most usable features from a user’s perspective and how they tug with each other in the battle of Apple Maps vs Google Maps.

Google Maps vs Apple Maps: Availability

Apple Maps was exclusively launched for Apple devices - iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch. This means if you don’t have an Apple device, you’re barred from using this navigation app. So, does Apple use Google Maps? Luckily, Google Maps is built into all mobile devices, which means even Apple users can download it from the Apple store. In fact, Google Maps is quite popular on iOS devices, with Apple customers preferring it despite continuous improvements in Apple Maps.

Google maps vs iOS maps

Google Maps vs Apple Maps: Interface

The interface for iOS and Google Maps is quite similar. With Apple Maps, you can use the search bar at the bottom of the screen for finding specific locations. By hitting the information button in the upper right, you can switch between Map, Transit, and Satellite views. Just below the information button, you can find the Look Around button to get a street-level view. While the text and icons are smaller in Apple Maps, Google Maps has larger icons and more brightly colored, which seems more eye-catching.

Like Apple Maps, Google Maps also feature a search box and three different view modes - Terrain, Satellite, and Default. You can also hit the ‘Street View’ button to look around as you were walking down the street, or click the 3D button to get a 3D view. When it comes to actual navigation screens, both are simple but with distinctive artistic styles. If you zoom in to Google Maps, an immediate sidebar pops out with information about nearby locations, while zooming into Apple Maps you will see more locations pop up on the street.

iOS maps and Google maps

Talking about the satellite view, Apple’s satellite view has a more photographic appearance because it uses vector graphics, while Google’s satellite view looks more realistic. Both apps base their arrival estimations on current traffic conditions. Both Apple and Google use different colours to indicate the traffic level on the road. You can also see alerts, from road closures to accidents.

Google Maps vs Apple Maps: Map Design

When it comes to comparing the two navigation applications, there are stark differences. On one side Google Maps offer a much more detailed yet cluttered map design. It represents multiple pieces of information like street names, businesses, and landmarks for finding specific destinations. 

Apple Maps takes up a much more minimalist design language. The maps are less cluttered and much easier to read for less tech-savvy users. However, it doesn’t unfold that much detail in comparison to Google Maps.

Google Maps vs Apple Maps: Street View

Considering the fact that Google Maps is a much older platform since it was launched in the year 2007. It enables Google Maps to be much more versatile in terms of exploring locations virtually. Google Maps offer a street view with a first-person perspective.

Apple Maps as of now is available in fewer places and doesn’t offer as many features as Google Maps such as a street view or 360-degree view. On the other hand, Google Maps also provide features such as the ability to pan and zoom and also view historical imagery.

Google Maps vs Apple Maps: Traffic

Google Maps gives users a better idea when it comes to how traffic will impact a commute. It shows live traffic and helps commuters plan their ride better. It also provides more options on the main screen, while additional options on Apple Maps will have to be pulled up from the bottom part of the screen.

Google Maps vs Apple Maps: Public Transportation

Both Google Maps and Apple Maps include public transportation information when you search for directions. All you need to do is pick a destination and hit the ‘public transportation’ button at the top of the screen. Using Google Maps has more advantages as it has data on where users are, plus a mix of historical and crowdsourced data. Google can also give an estimate on how busy the public transport system is at any given time. Apple Maps doesn’t have that feature yet, but it may catch up soon. So, if you are planning to choose between Google Maps or Apple Maps, Google Maps wins in this particular feature.

Google Maps vs Apple Maps: Discovery

Both Google Maps and Apple Maps let you see what’s around, help you find restaurants, gas stations, parking lots, and any other businesses. Google also provides information about parking spaces available, opening time of businesses, wait time at restaurants, photos, descriptions and user-generated star grades. Apple also provides such information but in less amounts. It also has partnerships with third party services like Yelp, Foursquare, and TripAdvisor.

google maps or iOS maps

Google Maps vs Apple Maps: Privacy

Both Google Maps and Apple Maps have their own privacy policies. As compared to Google Maps, Apple has more privacy policies in place to protect and limit data collection. Talking further about Apple, they have developed a process called “fuzzing” that ensures anonymity. This process converts your precise location to a less-exact one after 24 hours. The app does not save the history of what you searched for or where you went. Google Maps, on the other hand, offers numerous customization and control options, such as Incognito mode, that keep your location and searches private.

Google Maps vs. Apple Maps: Hands-free control

Having hands-free control is essential to a navigation app. It is because primarily navigation apps are utilized while driving and therefore it is essential to have hands-free as a feature. Gladly both of these applications offer hands-free control. It means user can easily operate them without having to touch their smartphones.

The hands-free feature for Google Maps is controlled via Google Assistant. The user simply has to say “Ok Google” or “Hey Google” to give the command. For instance, the user can say “Ok Google, show me the directions to the nearest cafe”.

Other prominent features:

Siri’s integration with Apple Maps is one of the most prominent features to be noted here. Ask Siri where you want to go and it will initiate the directions. Additionally, Apple Maps uses vector graphics, which allows less data usage when compared to Google Maps. Another notable feature of Apple Maps is Flyover Mode, which allows you to explore densely populated areas in 3D landscape consisting of models of buildings and structures. This mode also has a City Tours feature that guides you through various city landmarks.

Google and iOS maps

Google Maps has Street View, which gives panoramic views of streets around the world. It also provides offline access to those with limited data or Wi-Fi. Apple Maps may use slightly less data than Google Maps but Google tops by allowing users to download entire localities of maps for offline use.

iOS Maps vs Google Maps - The Bottom Line

Apple Maps has come a long way since its inception in 2012. It has overcome most of its initial struggles with the release of iOS 13 and iOS 14. However, it still needs to catch up to Google Maps. In terms of use and interface, Google Maps’ experience gives it an edge over the iOS interface. In our opinion, “privacy” is the only area where Apple has an advantage over Google Maps. So, this is why Google maps is better than Apple.

General FAQ

  • Why did Apple stop using Google Maps?
  • Does Apple Maps pick up traffic?
  • Which one consumes more battery- Apple Maps or Google Maps?
  • Which is more accurate- Google Maps or Apple Maps?
Tanya <span>Editor In Chief</span>
Written By
Tanya Editor In Chief

She is a content marketer and has more than five years of experience in IoT, blockchain, Web, and mobile development. In all these years, she closely followed the app development, and now she writes about the existing and the upcoming mobile app technologies. Her essence is more like a ballet dancer.

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