Google Maps Vs Apple Maps: A Side-By-Side Comparison

One of the bigger additions coming to iOS 6 will undoubtedly be Apple's new Maps app. And though its turn-by-turn directions, Flyover and improved Siri look promising, the real question is how Apple's maps will compare to Google's maps.

Here's a side-by-side comparison of the two so you can see for yourself. It may have you wishing Apple hadn't gone it alone quite yet.

It's admittedly a little unfair to judge Apple Maps since it hasn't even passed beta yet, but it doesn't change the fact that Apple's offering has to be great to not be a failure. And it's also worth noting that Siri proved Apple's not afraid to put an incomplete feature on an iPhone.

No iPhone user wanted to kill Google Maps. It makes me uneasy to even think about a phone without it. If you're replacing something as ubiquitous and functional as Google Maps, it had better be just as good. Or as a wise man from the streets once said, "If you come at the king, you best not miss."

Note: In the examples below, Google Maps is on the left and Apple Maps is on the right.

Map View of San Francisco

Apple's maps look wonderful. Crisp, clean, paper-like. But right now they're completely devoid of useful information. Compare the side-by-side images of lower Manhattan (at the top of this post) and San Francisco (directly above) and it's pretty clear that Google Maps gives you more information in terms of street names, street directions, subway stops, emphasis on major streets and so on.

Map View of New York

The solution is to add more map information even when zoomed out. Pretty is great to look at; informative is better to use.


Traffic on Apple Maps seems pretty majorly incomplete, but this is more of a beta issue than a real-life issue, since Cupertino's going to lean heavily on users to determine where the gridlock is.


Directions on both Apple and Google Maps are great; they'll get you to where you need to get to. The advantage of Apple Maps over Google Maps on iOS is that Apple will give you turn-by-turn directions, which Google never did on the iPhone (though it's been available on Android for some time). However, Apple desperately needs to add public transit directions before iOS 6 launches.

Satellite View

Satellite view, even if you rarely use it, tells the same story. Google Maps just currently has more information at every level.

Street View

There is, though, a good chance you use Street View. Apple Maps doesn't have an equivalent feature yet. And though Flyover seems really nice, it's nice in a "show off to your friends" sort of way rather than something you'd use on a regular basis.

We'll see how Apple Maps really works once iOS 6 officially launches. But as of right now, it's lacking a lot of the granularity and features that make Google Maps great. So far upgrading doesn't seem like an upgrade at all.



    Can anyone explain to me why Apple feel the need to compete with Google Maps of all things?

      Because licencing GMaps is monstrously expensive and is becoming ever more inferior to the Android version without any hope of remedy short of Apple doing it themselves.

      Because google were making more money licensing Google maps to Apple then they were off all of android.

      and steve jobs though android was a copy of iOS and wanted to destory it which you cant really do if your company is paying the other company.

        I assume youre using the asymco data?

      The key feature is the 100m+ business listings. Siri+Maps means searching without google being involved.

    Ironically at the point where W8 has made me move to try out Macs with my first Apple computer purchase (MBA), iOS6 with this - right now - poor second/third (behind Bing?) best mapping product might makes me not want to upgrade my iPhone to the latest OS.

    I won't be upgrading unless Google comes out with a maps+streetview App on iOS. Whether that is likely or not, or even possible with Apple's policies, I don't know.

    So I could be strangely moving from to Apple for my desktop/laptop computing while moving away from Apple for my phone/mobile computing.

      Must. Stop. Editing. Posts... in this poxy little window before posting. Leaves me ending up with classics like "moving from to" :\

      Yeah I have to agree with you here - it just doesn't seem as informative as it needs to be.

      I think Google would make a killing f they released a Maps specific app for iOS now, but some part of me thinks it wouldn't get htrough the approval process.

        i remember reading somewhere the other day google said something about releasing there own 3rd party maps app for ios devices if apple came up with their own.

        sorry i cant remember where i read it but im 99% sure i did read it lol unless i was dreaming it.....

    There also seems to be some involvement with TomTom, it will be interesting to see how this goes. I currently subscribe to TomTom HD traffic info and it is excellent. Data is collected much in the same way that Apple are suggesting with iPhones.

    I'm finding there's some usability issues with the 3D maps. Things like rotating with two fingers, then releasing one finger before the other makes the map snap to somewhere a bit further away.
    Also if you're in close you can find yourself inside a building which makes touch navigation change completely.

    Would be good to have some more cities 3D mapped as well.

    Apple Maps is pretty average, no street view and the performance on 'iPad 3' is really very weak for the flagship model (Because of use of vectors im guessing), lots of choppiness when zooming in and out.

    Those little arrows on the Google maps that show the traffic direction of roads is really invaluable for finding your way around, especially in Manhattan. Those Apple maps right now are just for show. Not really a useful product yet.

      I was thinking the exact same thing. It's amazing how something so small can help so much. Also the APple maps don't put enough road names on the picture, have a look at that New York picture... it's basically useless.

        The maps do show all the road names once you get close enough, and only major roads further away to reduce some of the hideous clutter that plagues google maps.

        Hopefully by release they find the sweet spot between the amount of info needed, and still having a beautiful and clean mapping system

          I don't think Apple will have much to do with the map app. It's been out-sourced to TomTom and that have not been the best at their mapping service. Agreed that Google Maps may come off more cluttered looking, but when it comes to getting my way around an area, I've never been in before (such as New York City), Android Google maps cannot be beat hands down. I can find out which subways to take at which time, and where I need to walk to get to my target. TomTom has nothing even close in their armory that matches the level of mapping that Google has done over the multiple years it has taken them to build such a wealth of information. Fact is that the biggest killer will be time itself. Google has been on the ground mapping with cars, bikes, and even people with backpacks; working with mass transit companies to have transit schedules, cab companies, local governments to find bike trails, local airports to schedule helicopter time, and so on. I can only imagine how huge an investment Google has made on their mapping and in the end it will take TomTom years to acquire parity with Google maps.

          I think Apple made a bold move getting away from Google maps and only time will tell if the bet was worth it, but in that time, Google will only continue to sophisticate their mapping service. Which in the end will leave TomTom and by proxy Apple struggling to match them. That's why the whole map announcement by Google was so important. There is a big "if" to if people will be okay with not the latest mapping service on Earth. Fly-by is over hyped for mapping, so TomTom can save some resources by ignoring it completely. Saving those resources could be pivotal to pushing the TomTom maps to the level of "good enough." Which would be a big thorn in Google's side, since that puts the ball back in Apple's court. Google would then have to go on an expensive campaign to convince people that the "extras" to Google's mapping service are really worth it. That it indeed adds value over TomTom.

          Whatever the future may bring is up to anyone's guess, but right now, the TomTom maps on Apple are as close to useless as they are useful. Hopefully, as you say, that will be fixed before iOS 6 hits the street (pun). I would hate anyone to have poor mapping service. Ideology aside, poor mapping service is frustrating and can be very dangerous. Something that I hope no one here would want.

    The easy fix is to simply not upgrade. The cost/benefit doesn't seem to stack up at this point. Maybe more details will change that, but if the release is as per the information we’ve seen, I’ll be staying put.

    The value proposition is further diminished if you’re running an IP4 which wouldn’t get all the new goodies in iOS6 and thus you would likely have a greater disincentive to upgrade.

      Google don't do the cartography themselves btw, they outsource to other companies, funnily enough, the same companies TomTom use, world wide. Apple chose the graphics.

    To compare Google maps on iPhone to the new Apple maps only tells half the Google maps story. Google maps directions on iPhone is very basic, but Google maps on Android has fantastic directions and turn by turn. ( This post title should have clarification... something like 'crappy Google maps on iPhone compared to new half baked beta Apple maps on iPhone'.

    Been looking at the Apple and Google maps and I prefer both to be honest. The clean view of Apple's is good but it would be good to know what are major roads, highways, freeways etc. Looking at the Google map, sometimes it looks far to busy. The sat view is something I've never liked to begin with.

    I want to know is the lack of information because it is zoom out or does it not exist. Example if you zoom in do the street names appear?

    The Apple maps do look a bit sparse at first glance. But obviously there is more data as you zoom in. I think it's very difficult to judge this from a couple of screen grabs. You really need some real world testing. But I would agree with some comments, showing one way streets is essential. I would also miss walking directions. But we never got public transport direction in Australia anyway. Street view I have hardly ever used on my phone. Google seems a bit easier to read, the font is a bit larger/clearer. Adopting a wait and see approach at this point.

      The public transport direction has been in Adelaide for ages. Would be hard to live without for people who don't drive!

        Yup had it here in Perth for well over a year.

        Yup, this is the biggest thing I've been missing since buying a Lumia

      I use public transport directions on Android Google maps more or less every day. Why does Apple not want me as a customer?

      Using Google maps In Perth for over 2 yrs, for public transport.

    And I'd add that we have all become extremely familiar with the look of Google maps, it's going to be a real challange for Apple to sell something that looks so different. At Least initially.

    After using ios 6 for just over a day, i must admit i miss google maps. The thing that got me is the level of detail in the satellite view on apple maps is crap. You can't get any decent level of detail on it, but this is something that'll hopefully be sorted. Speedwise, apple is definitely faster at i'm hopeful.
    The only thing missing for me is the public transport info, but you still download google maps as a web app for free, so it's not the end of the world.

    I believe the Apple Maps are vector based therefore faster to zoom once loaded. Are Google Maps vector based?

    No no no I been using it and because of the level of detail I can't even figure what road I am. Google maps - look at what roads to take your good to go. Apple - follow the gps directions no idea if your going the right way cause no street names

    I'm sure Apple will use its money to buy a army of Drones and offer us "Really Low Flyover" view, which they can then retro fit in the future when they decide to take over the world

    I am not usually a fan of Apple, but I think this is great. Anything that forces two company's to compete with similar products is better than one company's monopoly. Hopefully this will bring on some great innovations and features.

    Both maps in Australia use SENSIS data so the actual street mapping should be the same.

      Actually I believe Gmaps uses Navteq mapping data for a good proportion of Australia, which is in most cases superior to Sensis data.

    I'll stick with what works :)

    Does anyone else think that the Apple mapping is so simplistic it looks like a map out of a GTA game?

    NO! this is ridiculous, i need to find my way around. Not just look at a map lacking descriptions and informations and stuffs. Sheesha Sheesh.>>./?';

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