Apple Maps vs. Google Maps – Which is Best?

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A Techradar article reviews the apple maps and google maps in terms of simplicity and usage.

Cost and availability 

Both Apple Maps and Google Maps are free to download, though that doesn’t mean they’re equally available on the platform of your choice.

Unsurprisingly, Apple’s own maps app is exclusive to its devices. You’ll need an iPhone, an iPad, or a Mac to use this service; if you want to use Apple Maps on a non-Apple device you’re out of luck.

However, using the search engine DuckDuckGo on a web browser, its maps are powered by Apple Maps, so you can at least get a good idea of how these look compared to Google’s offering.

Alternatively, you could download the Google Maps app onto your Android phone and get more functionality out of it – as you aren’t restricted to just using the in-browser version of Apple Maps.

Accuracy

Apple Maps had a rough launch in iOS 6 back in 2012, with inaccurate maps that would be incorrectly labeled or not at all. Thankfully after a number of massive updates over the years that’s no longer the case, with both apps from Apple and Google being about equal in terms of accuracy.

Except for a few minor glitches every so often when searching for a road in your hometown and the result of bringing up a similar road in another country for example, using cycle routes and 3D maps is a great experience on your iPad or other Apple device.

When a new road is built or a local business changes its information, Google Maps is generally quicker to update its information in the app. Because of its larger user base, Google Maps can crowdsource and verify this data more quickly, but this difference is pretty minor.

Car navigation

Generally, both services look pretty similar if you’re after regular old turn-by-turn navigation as you drive. Google Maps and Apple Maps will both feature a moving icon that follows your journey, with the screen giving you a look ahead at the next section of road you’ll be traveling on and what your next instruction will be.

Both services will also give you an estimate of your arrival time and the distance you’ll be traveling, with this time changing as you drive and if traffic changes. If you do encounter any road bumps, you’re also able to report them, so you can warn other drivers that they’ll soon be hitting queues or road closures.

Both apps also offer solid voice controls so you can give them instructions as you drive. Here the services are slightly better on their home platform simply because your phone’s inbuilt AI – Siri on iPhones or Google Assistant on Android – interfaces better with the native app.

Google has a slight edge in other areas though.

For one it has more options for adding pit stops before you set off. Apple can help you find a gas station should your car be low on fuel or find somewhere to grab a quick bite to eat, but Google offers much more possibilities. If you wanted to Google Maps would let you set up a single route that leaves your workplace swings past your local grocery store and then your kid’s school before taking you home.

Google also has new route options that let you maximize fuel efficiency instead of choosing between just the fastest or shortest route.

Design

Design is always an aspect that will come down to more personal, subjective reasoning.

Apple Maps’ layout is generally more simple and clean. Most of its features are bundled together, giving you an obstructed view of the map. Additionally, its default map is generally less busy. Similar, generally muted tones are used for the background and roads blend in a bit more – however, roads you’re planning to travel along are highlighted in a distinct blue to help them stand out.

Meanwhile, Google Maps is a lot busier. Its streets and backgrounds are more colorful – using greens and greys to distinguish natural and urban areas from each other; main roads are always colored in yellow to help them stand out.

On top of this Google Maps’ features are spread out. At the top of your phone screen, you’ll find a search bar and shortcuts for commonly searched needs – like nearby restaurants, gas stations, and grocery stores. At the bottom, you’ll find a menu for its other features, including the explore and contribute tabs so you can find new locations and then share your thoughts.

It’s a toss-up here between simpler or more feature-packed main screens; it all comes down to which you prefer, though for us Google Maps takes it because it’s just that bit quicker to get directions to where we want to be.

Privacy

Given its devotion to data privacy over the past few years, it’s no surprise that Apple would be the clear winner in this category.

Unlike Google Maps – where all the data passes lives on a remote server – all your Apple Maps personal data is stored on your device so you can delete it whenever you want. Plus, while it might seem impossible to give you accurate directions while also keeping your location private Apple has found a way.

Using a method called “fuzzing” rather than just looking for directions between the two points you’ve requested, Apple Maps fires off several requests masking which one is the route you’re actually taking. On top of this, when the data does reach a remote server it’s no longer attached to your Apple ID, giving you complete anonymity.

If you give it permission to, Google will instead use a lot of your data to serve ads and make recommendations based on where you are and where you’ve been. While this can help you find relevant content to your interests it can also be a bit unnerving.

There are options to turn on Incognito mode travel, but it’s still not as private as what Apple offers.

Which one?

A tie.

If you’re on anything other than an Apple device there’s only one winner – Google Maps.

Apple Maps simply won’t work for you if you aren’t using Apple’s products. But if you’re using an iPhone or an iPad, then your decision will be based on what you value most.

Generally Google Maps is the front runner, as it’s a significantly more fleshed-out app than its rival, mostly due to the fact that it’s been operating and collecting data for so much longer.

It offers a better depth and breadth of information making it generally more reliable if you’re looking for a one-stop-shop for your travel needs.

Apple Maps isn’t too far behind in most areas though, and it takes privacy a lot more seriously. If you care about your personal data more than anything else, Apple’s service is the better of the two for you.

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Source: Techradar

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