Apple Maps Vs. Google Maps: An Ultimate Comparison Guide in 2024
- Updated on: December 2, 2023
Deciding on whether to use Apple Maps Vs. Google Maps is likely one of the most frequent questions for people who are familiar with both these mapping and navigation services. Going by popularity and “number of users” is not the most accurate way to assess a service. It’s the quality of the service that is most sought out by potential users. Moreover, when there comes a time to go somewhere new, which of these platforms do you trust to get you from point A to point B easily and in the quickest possible time?
Apple Maps and Google Maps have become part of our daily routine to find and reach new places. However, there is still a comparison that many people still make, and that is of Apple Maps Vs. Google Maps. Therefore, in this article, we will compare Apple Maps Vs. Google Maps, and try to determine which one is better.
Before the Apple Maps Vs. Google Maps comparison was even established, maps have been used for centuries for navigating around the earth. However, with the introduction of Google Maps in 2005, it has now become second nature to refer to Google Maps before going somewhere new. In addition, as a response to Google Maps’ widespread popularity, Apple Inc. also decided to launch an online mapping and navigation service of its own in 2012 called Apple Maps. The presence of these two popular mapping and navigation services has since prompted the Apple Maps Vs. Google Maps comparison.
So before we dive into the main topic of Apple Maps Vs. Google Maps, let’s take a look at each of these services separately and see what they offer in terms of features, navigation, and exploration.
Launched in 2012 as Apple’s means to compete with Google Maps, the Apple Maps service has seen many ups and downs since its inception.
Apple Maps did not have the greatest start when it first launched as it was plagued by various technical problems such as glitches, bugs, inaccurate directions, and lack of support for public transportation. However, Apple Maps improved significantly over the years with updates to its operating system. As a result, Apple Maps has changed into a highly competent mapping and navigation service, which can rival the likes of Google Maps. Furthermore, the latest version of Apple Maps is a fully capable mapping and navigation service that is available to all users of Apple products, such as iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, etc.
Apple Maps has all the standard features you would expect from a standard mapping and navigation platform. Furthermore, the standard features include:
- Detailed Map Layout,
- Turn-by-turn Directions for Pedestrians, Vehicles, and Public Transportation
- Default Location Markers
- Street View
- Points of Interest
After the release of Apple Maps, people began to compare Apple Maps Vs. Google Maps to find out which platform was better.
Released in 2005, Google Maps is the tool that streamlined mapping and navigation services and made them accessible for nearly everyone. As of 2021 Google Maps was the most downloaded mapping app in the US, with Apple Maps appearing nowhere close to it. Moreover, using Google Maps before going out somewhere has become a staple habit for many people, including us.
Google Maps is a web-based map provider that enables users to view roads, routes, destinations, etc. of any place on earth on a simple and easy-to-understand map, and that’s just the base feature of Google Maps. In addition, Google Maps also offers:
- Navigation and Route Planning (Car, Walking, or Public Transport)
- Address or Location Marking
- Distance Measurement
- Satellite Imagery
- Real-Time Traffic Conditions
- Interactive Street View
- Terrain, Transit, and Biking Layers
For more information about how to make the most of Google Maps, please see the following article: “Ultimate Google Maps Guide for Beginners in 2022”.
As you can see, Apple Maps and Google Maps have some pretty similar features that have become the standard for mapping services. However, on closer inspection, there appear to be subtle differences between the two platforms, which could affect the overall user experience. Furthermore, in the upcoming sections, we will be looking at some of these differences and try to determine which mapping service is more suitable to use.
Apple Maps Vs. Google Maps: Accessibility
The first thing someone would want to know before using a mapping and navigation service is if they even have access to it. Therefore, accessibility will be the first thing we will discuss in the Apple Maps Vs. Google Maps comparison.
Apple Maps can be downloaded from Apple’s App Store onto only iOS or iPadOS devices. As a result, Apple Maps is only accessible on Apple products, such as iPhones, MacBooks, pads, etc. Therefore, anyone who does not own an Apple product will not be able to access Apple Maps. Moreover, being exclusive to only Apple hardware severely limits the accessibility of Apple Maps to a wider consumer base.
Google Maps, on the other hand, can be accessed on almost every device (mobile phones, laptops, tablets, etc.) and operating system (Android, iOS, Linux, Windows, etc.). This makes Google Maps one of the most accessible software in the world, as you do not need to have any special equipment to access it. Furthermore, anyone with even a smartphone and an internet connection can easily be able to access Google Maps. In addition, Google Maps is available in two forms:
- Google Maps App
- Google Maps website
The main advantage of having two forms of accessibility is that if for some reason, someone is unable to download the Google Maps app, then he/she can simply go to the Google Maps website and gain full access to Google Maps along with its myriad of features.
Another advantage of using Google Maps is that even if you purchase a new device that has Google Maps installed on it, you won’t have to start from scratch as you can easily log in using your Google account, and gain access to your previous routes and favorite places. Therefore, using a Google account in combination with Google Maps will ensure your data and history are synced with all your new devices.
For the accessibility round in our Apple Maps Vs. Google Maps comparison, It’s clear to see that Google Maps has a huge advantage over Apple Maps when it comes to accessibility. Moreover, in our opinion, we feel that Apple has done a disservice to itself by only making Apple Maps accessible on Apple devices. However, Apple Maps’ loss is a gain for Google Maps, which is accessible to more consumers on all devices and operating systems.
Apple Maps Vs. Google Maps: Navigation
Next on our Apple Maps Vs. Google Maps comparison, let’s talk about one of the main reasons why people use mapping services such as Apple Maps and Google Maps. One of the main uses of these mapping services is its navigation feature, which guides you from one place to another by giving you accurate turn-by-turn directions.
In terms of navigation, both Apple Maps and Google Maps are pretty much equal. For example, both platforms offer the same standard navigation features such as:
- Location Search
- Turn-by-Turn Directions (walking, vehicles, cycling, public transport)
- Travel Progress – Travel time, Distance remaining, and estimated arrival time (ETA)
In addition, both services can provide you with real-time conditions that appear on your route, such as traffic jams, road closures, detours, etc. Moreover, the option for alternative routes is also available on both Apple Maps and Google Maps in case your current route is very congested with traffic.
Both Google Maps and Apple Maps also provide navigation for many means of transport. Therefore, whether you are looking to drive, walk or cycle to your destination, each of these platforms will provide you with directions that are suitable for each mode of transportation. Moreover, both these platforms even provide information for public transport such as trains, buses, etc.
The advantage that Google Maps seems to have over Apple Maps, is that with Google Maps you can plan a journey with multiple stops. Therefore, if you ever need to visit multiple locations on a single trip you can easily enter them on Google Maps, and you will be shown directions on how to get to each subsequent stop. Conversely, Apple Maps does not offer directions for a journey with multiple stops, you can only get directions from one place to another. However, if you need to visit multiple places using Apple Maps, you can always set a new location upon reaching the first destination. This may be a slow process, but it’s the best you can manage with Apple Maps.
In terms of navigation, it appears at first glance that Apple Maps and Google Maps have similar navigation features. And this is most certainly the case. However, the one advantage that gives Google Maps a slight edge over Apple Maps is the inclusion of adding multiple stops for your journey. Moreover, Apple Maps seems to be lacking this feature, which makes having multiple stops a less user-friendly task.
Apple Maps Vs. Google Maps: Interface
In this section of our Apple Maps Vs. Google Maps comparison, we will be looking at the interface of each platform and determining which one is more user-friendly and intuitive.
Apple Maps and Google Maps both present a neat and focused interface that is easy to use. However, the way users can interact with each of these platforms and the information they display are quite different.
In the case of Apple Maps, as is the case with all Apple products, the interface is a simple one with most of the features in one place for ease of use. Furthermore, expanding the search bar will give access to your search history, favorite locations, information on places of interest, etc. In addition, the search bar retains its position until a location has been selected. While pressing the “x” button will close all the search options.
In contrast, the interface of Google Maps can seem a bit cluttered because it has features and options all over the screen. Firstly, in the top-left corner, you have the search bar for location searching, as well as the menu and directions button. Secondly, in the top-left corner, there is the Google apps button. Thirdly, you have the map layers in the bottom-right corner. Lastly, the zoom and street view buttons are located in the bottom-right corner.
In this section of our Apple Maps Vs. Google Maps comparison, Apple Maps is the clear winner in the interface department due to its simplistic and organized interface. Furthermore, although Google Maps’ interface may look cluttered it is still, however, a solid interface that offers a lot of room for exploration.
Apple Maps Vs. Google Maps: Map Layout
The next aspect we will be looking at in this Apple Maps vs. Google Maps comparison is the map layout. Specifically, we will be seeing how the map on each of these platforms looks like, and which one is more visually appealing.
The general appearance of both Apple Maps Vs. Google Maps, is pretty much the same. Both maps show roads, landmarks, businesses, etc. Moreover, both maps come with 3 different view modes:
The area in which Apple Maps Vs. Google Maps differ is in how much information and detail is displayed at a certain instance.
Following its policy on minimalistic design for the interface, Apple has chosen to go ahead with the same policy for its map layout. The map layout on Apple Maps is simple and less cluttered when the map is launched. However, as you zoom in, more information and details will appear. As a result, this gives users a certain degree of control over how much information and detail they want to appear on the map.
Google Maps displays more information when it is launched, and upon zooming in more detail and information are added. As a result, this can make Google Maps overwhelming for some people due to the overload of information. Moreover, this issue is solved by Apple Maps by simply zooming out to reduce information density.
In the map layout section of our Apple Maps Vs. Google Maps comparison, both maps are very much identical. However, Apple Maps appears to present information, such as road names, places of interest, etc. in a much more simplistic way, which is less distracting than the information-heavy Google Maps.
Apple Maps Vs. Google Maps: Discovering New Places
Navigation is not the only thing maps are good for. They can also be used to discover new locations and places. Therefore, in this part of the Apple Maps Vs. Google Maps comparison, we will be seeing which platform allows you to better discover new places.
With both Apple Maps and Google Maps, you can find new places such as stores, restaurants, local attractions, etc. by either scrolling around on the map, or you can use the search bar to find new places.
Google Maps has buttons on the top for “Groceries”, “Gas”, “Restaurants”, “Takeout”, and “Pharmacies” which you can use to see a huge list of each of these places in your current location. In addition, Google collects data from its users and is, therefore, able to provide you with valuable information such as about a place. For example, with Google Maps, you can get an indication of how crowded a restaurant is going to be at a particular time.
Apple Maps, however, does not have the same extensive list as Google Maps has of nearby places. Moreover, you are only able to see a few options depending on the location where you are searching.
When it comes to finding and discovering new places, Google Maps is a much better option than Apple Maps in our Apple Maps Vs. Google Maps comparison. Apple Maps just lacks the wealth of data that is available to Google Maps.
Apple Maps Vs. Google Maps: Special Features
Next up on our Apple Maps Vs. Google Maps comparison are some special features that offer an extra level of convenience for users of both platforms.
1- Hands-Free Control
Apple Maps comes integrated with “Siri”, which can be used to control Apple Maps without touching a button.
Google Maps has Google Assistant, which comes with voice commands when the microphone button is pressed. However, Google Assistant is a far inferior product to Siri because you will constantly have to touch the screen before giving a command.
2- Third-Party Integration
Google Maps can be integrated, with Google’s permission, with third-party software to provide a variety of services. For example, product/store locator providers, such as WP Maps and Agile Store Locator, use Google Maps as one of the store maps on their store locator page.
Apple Maps, however, can only be used on Apple Devices. Moreover, we have still yet to find a third-party software that uses Apple Maps as its proprietary map.
3- Offline Maps
One more handy feature of Google Maps, which is lacking in Apple Maps, is that Google Maps can be loaded and used offline. Furthermore, once you have loaded the map and set a location, you can continue receiving directions to your location even without an internet connection.
Overall, in this Apple Maps Vs. Google Maps comparison, Google Maps offers more special features to its users.
Apple Maps Vs. Google Maps: Privacy
How Apple Maps and Google Maps handle data privacy is next up on our Apple Maps Vs. Google Maps comparison.
Apple Maps follows Apple’s policy on data privacy, which ensures that you and your activity on Apple Maps remain anonymous. Moreover, the only things that are saved such as location searches and route history are stored on your device rather than on a server. Therefore, any recorded history can be removed from an Apple device by going into “Settings”.
Google, on the other hand, collects every aspect of your data. Therefore, anything you do, whether it’s searching for a location, selecting a route, or even going somewhere is going to be recorded and stored in Google’s servers. Moreover, for privacy-conscious people, this can be a concern. However, most people don’t care about their activity being recorded. Furthermore, the reason why Google stores all your activity data is to improve its consumers’ future experiences.
In this round of our Apple Maps Vs. Google Maps comparison, there is no clear answer as to which platform is better. It all comes down to what you prefer. Do you want to remain incognito? Or do you not mind sharing your activity history?
That concludes our Apple Maps Vs. Google Maps comparison. As you can see, both Google Maps and Apple Maps are very reliable and competent mapping and navigation software. Moreover, both these platforms are pretty much similar in navigation, interface, discovering new places, etc. Furthermore, the only difference lies in the area of accessibility, privacy, and a few unique features here and there.
At the end of the day, all we can do is provide you with the information on what is what. Furthermore, it is up to you to weigh the features of each platform and determine which one is best for you.