Mossberg: Google Maps better on Apple iPhone than on Android phones

“Google’s rich, reliable Maps app is back on the iPhone, and that means iPhone users can stop relying on the flawed, fledgling Apple maps app that replaced it as a built-in feature in September,” Walt Mossberg opines for AllThingsD. “Apple’s version is still bolted into the phone, and the new, free Google app must be downloaded from Apple’s app store.”

“The biggest news here is that the new iPhone version of Google Maps isn’t just better than Apple Maps. For now, at least, Google Maps is better in most respects on the iPhone than it is on Android phones,” Mossberg writes. “It has been redesigned with a cleaner, simpler user interface that makes it easier to use.”

Mossberg writes, “The new iPhone version of Google Maps emphasizes two things: uncluttering the map itself, and swiping vertically and horizontally to move quickly among places, map views and information. In my tests, I found this design refreshingly easy to use. It even enhances the voice-prompted, automatic turn-by-turn navigation whose absence on the original iPhone version of Google Maps was the key thing that prompted Apple to get into the maps business… Apple is already improving its competing app, but for now, iPhone users, my recommendation is to go with Google Maps.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Sarah” for the heads up.]


  1. I’m sticking with Apple Maps as my primary, but I have Google Maps installed, as well, as a backup. Kinda like having multiple browsers and choosing the right one for the job. I use Chrome whenever Flash is needed, otherwise Safari is my fav.

    1. Google Maps on iOS6 sucks big time.
      Street Maps are grainy and jittery, unlike the pre-iOS6 maps app, where they were brilliant.
      Caching in off-line conditions is minimal, unlike Apple’s app.
      Public transportation routing is useless. Better not to have it, than to ignore a direct 50 min train connection and offering instead a 5 hour bus trip with 6 connections.

  2. Daniel Eran Dilger is in Berlin at the moment and he tested Google and Apple maps how they behave in offline mode. Here are the results:



    You can see here that there is huge difference between these two. Apple wins 10-0.

  3. Isn’t is hysterical though that after denying Apple updated maps technology, starting this whole rolling maps snowball, they not only come back with a vengeance but with BETTER features than the Android version after holding back to make the Android version better than the iOS one which is why Apple created their own Maps program to begin with! What the hell is wrong with those guys? Two-faced lying SOS’s.

    1. IOS 6 adoption up 29% since Google Maps app hit the Apple App Store. Google Maps App downloaded by 10 million people in the first 48 hours. Someone must think that Google Maps are great! It’s funny how you don’t see these facts on MDN. Personally, I have had no problems with Google Maps and some errors with the newer Apple maps. But I’m not a frequent user so I don’t really care that much. I use Motion X Drive and it works flawlessly. I’d just like to see a little more objective coverage/reprinting of Apple here. The good and the not so good. Honesty. There is no substitute. Otherwise you simply become a fanboy.

  4. Wow, even though Apple’s map data is still being ironed out, I much prefer Apple’s map program over Googles. (yes, I downloaded it)
    To hear that Android users are even worse off that that?

    BTW – Swiping bitmap graphics doesn’t “move quickly.”

  5. Thanks Walt for the singular cause to have Google track and sell your life. At least declose what Apple did, in greater detail, to force Google to be better. Like they lost millions of users that have the highest search presence and dollar of sales. Oh, Walt, search for Google maps errors…

    1. In the google world, errors are just fun, because everything google is beta. It’s too bad in the apple world errors in something so fickle as mapping data causes a cataclysmic melt down.

      I have both. I prefer apple’s maps. But the again, I live In the US where the app is more accurate if for no thee reason than because its local.

  6. In my neck of the woods both Apple Maps and Google Maps are inaccurate when it comes to exact locations of restaurants and other businesses. It’s a tie at best (or worst) for me.

  7. Last evening I tried both Google and Apple maps to go from home to Sunol. We were going to ride the “Train of Lights” there. I put in the street address, 6 Kildare, sunol, ca.
    I have been having trouble with Apple Maps for a number of addresses. Followed one on my phone, one on wifes phone. This time Apple was better. Both got us there the same route but the Google Map is just ugly. Side by side wether looking at map or direction list Google just looks bad. I really hope Apple can get more complete information because it is really more pleasant to use. I hate Googles huge text boxes. I still think Apple should just run some program to compare with Google data. Then fix the error if they find one. How hard could that be?

  8. The Google maps app still not as good as the native iOS 5 app because it can’t access your contacts. I’m amazed at the many clueless reviewers of the new Google maps app who haven’t mentioned this.

    1. I wonder if this was a compromise that Apple forced out of Google in order to secure app store approval. Contacts integration certainly isn’t hard to do, other apps like Waze can do it no problem.

    2. Just copy and paste your contact. It ain’t great but it’s pretty simple. After once that contact will be on the list in Google maps. I only like Google maps for the Street view. That is the most important feature for me.

    3. @JB Tipton,

      Sync your contacts with your Google account.

      Or if you don’t want to do that for some reason:
      1) Click on the address of any of your contacts.
      2) Get Transit directions.
      3) Select Google Maps as your Transit application.

      Step one can be substituted with any method of getting an address into Apple Maps to begin with.

      In other words, Apple has the ability to choose a Map app, it’s just that you have to go through Apple Maps each time first. It’s not ideal, but doesn’t require copy and pasting each address.

      Oh, and this works for other apps as well. An app can provide all kinds of information as a “Transit” app. For example, if you want to know whether you’ll have cell phone coverage where you’re going, select “Coverage” as your Transit app. Want to know about all kinds of things along the away, use WhereTo as your Transit app. There are a bunch of others already and more coming.

  9. The media is all about maximizing negative publicity. Sad examples are tragedies where they find every point of view to exploit a bad situation. Happens with Apple whenever something is even slightly off. So, the Brooklyn bridge wasn’t yet rendered and Maps is a failure?

    Apple Maps looks great, works fast, is super clean, and is accurate by all the examples of my personal use. It is the best map app I’ve ever used and I may not be amongst the most intelligent but I know when something works and when something doesn’t without needing someone to tell me.

    BTW, I am a cartographer and I admire the level of detail Apple put in their app. Maps is fantastic!

    1. That is all nice and great, but for me, Apple Maps is useless.

      As I have mentioned this over the past few months, the entire country of Serbia is one massive black hole. Google has every city, town, village, hamlet, highway, boulevard, street, road, lane in pretty accurate detail, while Apple barely has main highways (those that run through the entire country). Even the biggest European river, the Danube, mysteriously disappears as it enters into Serbia from along the Croatian border, and then magically re-appears as it enters Romania!.

      It took Apple four OS revisions to get the language keyboard layout represented by the correct flag. When Tiger came out, Serbian language was represented by the flag of Yugoslavia; except, the country no longer existed under that name. It wasn’t until Lion that the flag was changed. Perhaps Apple will one day decide to do something for a population that has quite a few solid fans (and users).

  10. for the turn by turn, I did a test on both. For me, the one thing that google maps has the ability, but Apple maps doesn’t is the voice comes through the bluetooth feature on my radio, where as the apple maps voice just comes through the phone. Other than that, both work well for turn by turn. The voice through bluetooth is a plus.

  11. In Paris and London, I found Google Maps maddeningly inaccurate, with major errors and omissions. Searches for nearby streets often failed, and other local apps often worked much better. Apple Maps street maps were vastly more accurate, but its database of businesses. Is terrible. Google’s is much better, but very far from reliable or complete – and it knows nothing about some pretty major landmarks. Its scattergun approach excels at nothing, at least Apple does one thing well.

  12. I haven’t tried goog maps on the iPhone yet but they pushed out 2 very recent maps updates to my android phone so that must be why.

    Maps on android is great, if they have made a better version for ios then that is awesome for iPhone users. Two great free map apps

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