In iOS 13: Apple’s working hard to shed Maps’ bad reputation

Apple is rolling out new Maps with richer details and better road coverage.
Apple is rolling out new Maps with richer details and better road coverage.

Jason Cross for Macworld:

Apple has a bad reputation with maps. Seven years ago, Apple replaced Google Maps with its own Apple Maps service in iOS 6, and the rollout was nothing short of disastrous. Apple Maps was inferior to Google Maps in every way: features, stability, accuracy, performance—you name it. It took two years to really clear out the bugs, and Apple has spent the last several years languishing behind Google with a dated, less-detailed data set and a dearth of features. About the only thing Apple Maps has going for it is that it respects your privacy.

With iOS 13, Apple Maps may finally turn the corner. Whether it will be a superior mapping solution to Google Maps remains to be seen, but the beleaguered service may finally close the gap enough that you won’t need to bother with installing the Google Maps app anymore. Here’s what you can expect from Apple Maps with the rollout of iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 this fall.

MacDailyNews Take: Massively-improved, homegrown mapping data is the key here. Apple realized that if they wanted it done right, they had to do it themselves. (It’s always better to roll your own, as Cheech and Chong said more than once.) Hence, Apple has been driving and flying around the world gathering mapping data for years now. iOS 13 begins to widelydeliver to users the fruits of Apple’s labor.

It’s too bad about Maps reputation, but that’s the power of the first impression:

No matter what Apple does, no matter how much better they make Apple Maps, it will now always “suck” in the minds of a large segment of the population… Apple seems to have learned nothing from the Newton: First impressions mean everything. Apple’s Maps have been Newtonized. All that’s missing is the Doonesbury strip… Here’s a little hint for the future: Everything that requires widespread customer use to develop a rich database before the product becomes fully usable should be clearly labeled “beta” upon release. Apple did it with Siri, but they forgot to do it with Maps. Had Apple been smart enough to simply place a “beta” tag on Maps, all of this rigamarole would never have occurred. — MacDailyNews Take, September 28, 2012


One thing Apple will have a difficult time buying: Respect for their Maps app, no matter how superior it gets over all others (and many parts of it already are – and even were at launch). It’s unfortunate, but first impressions were so badly botched by Apple (a simple “beta” tag would have sufficed) that it will take a sustained herculean effort to reverse the public misperception of Maps as inferior to Google Maps.MacDailyNews, September 16, 2015

15 Comments

  1. There are nightmare stories surrounding Apple Maps, to be sure. I have used it nearly everyday since iOS 6, and if you ditched it….it’s worth taking another look at. For me, it’s tight integration within the Apple ecosystem, as well as improved navigation has restored given me confidence for the first time to recommend it to others. Now, I look forward to the added data and insights rolling out in iOS 13.

  2. Hey Facebook comes out with a Crypto Currency, Tim Cook a credit card with no hard release date. No details on the streaming product as well. Think Different. Apple was late with Maps as it was with iCloud, music etc… Steaming.., Speakers… Apple will eventually get a new leader and the turn around will begin. Unbelievable how Apple is allowing others to move into new markets. It the world stops using phones as much as they are and moves to wearables, Tim Cook’s apple will be in trouble.

  3. “the beleaguered service may finally close the gap enough that you won’t need to bother with installing the Google Maps app anymore”

    As long as Google Maps offers a offline map mode and Apple Maps still doesn’t, I cannot use Apple Maps when travelling abroad.

  4. I wish it would at least download all the maps for a navigational trip so in case you run out of cell service you don’t see a triangle on an essentially blank screen (even though voice GPS commands still work). This would be really helpful for long trips where you may end up in rural areas with no cell service.

    I use Apple Maps almost exclusively. Once in a while I use Waze but until I can figure out how to turn off the social alerts while keeping the navigational cues, it languishes unused.

  5. I noted a couple of incredibly negative comments about Apple Maps along the lines of “it was terrible when it was first released, so I will never use it again.” With that attitude, you are just depriving yourself of a potential opportunity. Seriously, you need to rethink your outlook on life.

    Apple Maps was never as bad as the tales made it out to be, at least in the U.S. I understand that it lagged in other countries, and I sympathize. But everyone focused on he negatives to the exclusion of everything else. Critics of Apple Maps conveniently forgot that Google had plenty f growing pains, too. Google Maps has steered me wrong many times over the years to the point that I used to check my route using at least a couple of sources.

    Apple Maps has been very good (for my purposes in the U.S.) for quite some time. And I place a great deal of value on Apple’s data privacy and security policies and corporate culture. I don’t trust Google at all.

  6. I used Apple Maps a few times .. tried to give it a chance. but the satellite imagery is from five years ago, the traffic data is non-existent and each time I had it give me directions it literally sent me to the wrong place!!

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