A report by The Wall Street Journal (paywalled) gathered anecdotal evidence from users showing a growing preference for Apple Maps. Despite Google Maps being downloaded as an alternative on a large majority of U.S. iPhones, according to Canalys, Apple Maps has been impressing users with its enhanced transit route information and cleaner interface.
Jane Natoli, a 42-year-old Google Maps “power user”, shared with the WSJ that she found herself using Apple Maps more frequently after it provided her with terminal-specific recommendations for shops and restaurants at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. She appreciated its clear information and ease of interaction over Google Maps. She also highlighted how Apple Maps offers easier-to-read directions and street names, which sometimes are hard to discern on Google Maps.
Another user, a recent graduate from Georgia Tech, lauded the visually appealing design of Apple Maps, stating that it is less cluttered and easier to look at, especially while driving at night.
Apple Maps, launched in 2012, initially faced criticism for incomplete and inaccurate mapping data, even leading to a public apology from Apple CEO Tim Cook. However, since then, Apple has significantly improved the service by correcting errors, and adding new features like real-time traffic information, pedestrian navigation options, and a “Nearby” feature for local points of interest.
In 2020, Apple completed a comprehensive overhaul of its U.S. maps, offering greater detail and new features like Look Around, similar to Google’s Street View. The updated maps have also expanded to more countries over time. The upcoming iOS 17, slated for a fall release, will allow users to download maps for offline use in Apple Maps, a feature Google Maps users have been enjoying for quite a while.
Despite the growing appreciation, some users still have concerns about Apple Maps. One user reported frequently being misdirected in Boston, while another experienced longer commutes when using Apple Maps via CarPlay.
Nevertheless, the continuous improvements made by Apple seem to be swaying opinions. “Maps has come a long way, and people have noticed,” commented Craig Federighi, Apple’s head of software, during the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June.