Apple Maps, once a laughingstock, now dominates iPhones

“Apple Maps quickly became the butt of jokes when it debuted in 2012. It overlooked many towns and businesses and misplaced famous landmarks. It marked New York’s Madison Square Garden arena as park space because of the word “Garden.” The service was a rare blunder for a company known for simple, easy-to-use products,” Anick Jesdanun reports for The Associated Press. “It’s a different story three years later.”

“Apple fixed errors as users submitted them. It quietly bought several mapping companies, mostly for their engineers and other talent,” Jesdanun reports. “This fall, it added transit directions for several major cities, narrowing a major gap with Google. Apple Maps is now used more widely than Google Maps on iPhones. ‘They really did a great job in a short amount of time,’ said Alex Mackenzie-Torres, a former Google Maps manager who’s now with competing transit app Moovit. ‘Apple has something that few companies have — simplicity in design mixed with high doses of pragmatism and practicality.'”

“Apple says its mapping service is now used more than three times as often as its next leading competitor on iPhones and iPads, with more than 5 billion map-related requests each week. Research firm comScore says Apple has a modest lead over Google on iPhones in the U.S., though comScore measures how many people use a service in a given month rather than how often,” Jesdanun reports. “Google still dominates among all U.S. smartphones, though, in part because Apple Maps isn’t available on Google’s Android system, which is more prevalent than iPhones. In October, Google Maps had more than twice as many smartphone users as Apple Maps.”

“Kristi Denton, an iPhone user in Austin, Texas, said that after getting bad directions with Apple Maps long ago, she has gone as far as to copy addresses and paste them into Google to avoid the default Apple service,” Jesdanun reports. “Lots of users, though, have returned. And many new iPhone users never experienced Maps at its worst.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: That’s a lot of stigma poor Apple Maps carried, and still carries around, that never would have occurred with the addition of a single little word: “beta.”


  1. Never had any trouble with Apple maps from the beginning. It was all journalistic shenanigans. Journalists trying to show us how they control everything. “We are the kingmakers”, they said. “Pay us lots of money and we can make you king”. Apple said NO! That’s all antennagate or bendgate or mapgate or any future “gates” will ever be about. Journalists trying to extort companies for lot of money by showing their power. Hope Apple keeps on saying NO.

  2. I find Maps isn’t that accurate for me and less intuitive. I still prefer google maps but it also has it’s associated problems. Paper map backup is my gold standard.

  3. Better than it was, but routing is still not as good as Google.

    I test them from time to time over well known routes to see what they recommend and Apple still routes poorly many times. I do not know if it is because they have an inferior data base or because of software, but the routing is still kind of crazy.

  4. It’s better than it was in my part of the UK but it still has significant weaknesses and Google Maps is still very much better. Apple Maps seems to assume that every area with a Glasgow post code is in fact in Glasgow. That isn’t the case and it leads to problems – you end up with very many results all said to be 10 Main Street, Glasgow and several inappropriate suggestions for “nearby apps”.
    Google on the other hand gets that spot on.
    Apple has been told several times, but so far to no avail.
    Obviously the world’s a big place and you can’t fix all errors immediately but, given the company’s size and wealth, I’m often surprised by Apple’s poor record of implementation (Apple Music remains very disappointing and while I don’t have a 4th generation Apple TV the apparently very frustrating user input methods and the lack of an iPhone app seem to suggest it is similarly disappointing). I’m surprised by the company’s poor consumer engagement too, which looks as if its effectively limited to a no-reply feedback address.

  5. I want to love Apple Maps, but it does not like me. First, and most irritating, the voice prompts don’t work. The first two do – getting me out of my driveway, then it goes silent for the rest of the trip.

    Second, the UI is awful. I put the iPhone on my dash right between my tach and speedo – fits perfectly. Can’t read the tiny text in the sunlight. Haven’t they ever looked at a Garmin?

    I have reluctantly gone back to the 5 yr old Garmin, which is hands down better for trips. Big fonts, brightly contrasted display, dark mode, better graphical display (shows all the lanes), etc., etc.

    Apple could do a lot better.

  6. When is MDN going to shut the fck up about the apple map debacle and just use the new and improved version like the rest of us? With maps it’s ALWAYS beta. It still annoys me that it continually tells me to make dangerous u-turns rather than turn left into a parking lot, but hey, as long as I have my eyes open even that is liveable.

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