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  1. coolbreeze78's Avatar
    Hey everyone,

    I wanted to share my thoughts on Apple Maps vs. Google Maps. My device is an iPhone 7+ and I’m a long-time Android convert (caught in the Note 7 fiasco, pit stop on the Pixel XL and now the iPhone). I travel domestically very frequently, and use navigation apps extensively across multiple states. I am the type of guy to use GPS to navigate home from a familiar location, simply out of habit and wanting traffic/routing updates. Here are my thoughts so far:

    Apple Maps – what I like:

    • iOS integration. Since it’s a native app, the tie-in at the OS level can’t be beat. I like how you can start navigating and turn the screen off (to save battery) and the phone will illuminate on the lock screen to show the next step in navigation, then fade back off during long stretches of driving.

    • I have an Apple Watch (series 2) and the integration/display on the watch is fantastic. The watch haptic feedback and audio cues are very useful if you are using another app on the phone itself or have it in the background.

    • Graphics and visual layout with Apple Maps is very clean and easy to quickly view.

    • I also have an iPad Pro 12.9”, but have only sparingly used Apple Maps on it – it’s just too big for a moving vehicle, but nice to know the option is there if I ever need it. The OS integration all but guarantees an identical experience on the iPad as you would have on the phone.

    • The “parked car” feature is great as it drops a pin where you parked your car (when it disconnects from your car’s Bluetooth). It’s really accurate but you will still need to look in a sea of cars if in a large lot.

    • Voices and overall voice volume/ducking over playing audio works well (doesn’t lower playing audio volume too drastically).

    • Changing in-app controls by swiping up from the bottom is quick and efficient, allowing you to stay focused on the road. It’s easy to change/disable navigation volume with minimal fuss.

    • Swipe-up also allows for quickly finding gas stations, breakfast or coffee stops along the route. The overview is also useful and fluid.

    Apple Maps – what I dislike:

    • Accuracy is still a problem. Just this week, I was visiting family in Mississippi. Apple Maps was wrong 3/10 times regarding location. The hotel I was staying at the first night was incorrectly routed – “you have arrived” but I was in a residential area. Had to open up Google Maps to actually find the location (this is normal – more on that below).

    • Traffic/re-routing doesn’t seem robust. I have a low-level of trust that Apple Maps will reliably navigate me around traffic incidents. Honestly, I trust Waze more than any in this aspect.

    • Unless I’m missing something, I don’t see an “avoid tolls” feature (could be user error).

    • Siri search is wholly unreliable and often pulls up silly irrelevant results (could be Siri in general – it’s not good).

    • Missing the “tap, then tap/hold, drag up/down” top change view scale. No street view.

    Google Maps – what I like:

    • Accuracy! It’s always the go-to if you just want to arrive without fuss or confusion. I can always rely on it to get it right the first time. If I'm in an unfamiliar city, I turn to Google Maps first and foremost because I know it "will just get me there, period."

    • Traffic and re-routing is reliable and consistent.

    • Google services tie-in. As a former longtime Android user, I like how it ties into all things Google which makes navigating more efficient (recent places, etc). Stars/pins from saved things appear on the map just like iOS

    • Recent update brings the user experience more in-line with Apple Maps (i.e. feels native down to the “end route” button). App is silky smooth on the iPhone 7+.

    • Street view

    • The ability to “tap, then tap/hold, drag up/down” to change the navigation view scale. Very useful to “peek ahead” or view a different scale of your route.

    • Amount of detail when zooming in is incredibly useful (i.e. shopping center stores, down to individual shops in the store). Again, the prowess of Google’s data shines here.

    • Voices are familiar (as an Android user).

    • Voice search works well, but isn’t integrated into iOS

    Google Maps – what I dislike:

    • It’s apparent that it’s a 3rd party app – I miss the OS integration that exists on Android

    • Related to the above point, you can’t just say “navigate to wherever” unless you are already in the app or have the Google search app linked to open Google Maps – again, not a native iOS thing here.

    • “History” isn’t available like it is on Android (i.e. where it shows a breakdown of where you were day by day). This was useful if I wanted to see where all I went in a city on any given day – miss that from Android from sure.

    • Feels like an Android port, rather than a native iOS app

    • Voice "ducking" lowers media volume too much. It's too aggressive and interrupts what you are streaming to an annoying level.



    In the end, I honestly use Waze 80% of the time, Apple Maps in a pinch (“hey Siri” from my watch or when I want watch navigation) and Google Maps when I need to reliably arrive without fuss.

    Accuracy and trustworthiness remain my biggest issue with Apple Maps, If their “drone” enhancements actually materialize, it may move up in use frequency, but will probably always be behind Waze.

    I can be verbose, so thanks if you’ve made it this far. I will say that having iOS is pretty great since you have open access to all popular navigation platforms to include Apple Maps.

    Thanks!
    Last edited by coolbreeze78; 12-13-2016 at 11:52 AM.
    pkcable, zocster and worldspy99 like this.
    12-13-2016 11:37 AM
  2. pkcable's Avatar
    Excellent, honest write up!
    coolbreeze78 likes this.
    12-13-2016 12:00 PM
  3. Ian581's Avatar
    You have pretty much summed up my experience of using Apple, Google, and Waze.

    I currently use Google maps for the reasons you gave, but have found that with the Google search app, it is possible to use voice commands. Say 'Hey Siri, open Google app," then "OK Google, navigate to..."

    It's a bit clunky, but does work.
    03-01-2017 09:04 AM
  4. p1xel's Avatar
    Nice comparison and I actually learned some things I didn't know before. I also travel a bit but mainly to Taiwan. What disappoints me about Apple Maps is that it doesn't clearly highlight the subway system there. It shows the stations (well just barely), but there aren't any lines indicating the route. That seems like a must have feature. Also because there are several different subway lines, there's no way to know which station belongs to which line.

    Right now I use Google maps exclusively. I wish Apple would provide developers a way to hook into other map providers when using their MapKit framework. This way users could pick whatever map software they wanted and it would still be nicely integrated in the app.
    05-11-2017 08:38 PM
  5. varuuth's Avatar
    Hey everyone,

    I wanted to share my thoughts on Apple Maps vs. Google Maps. My device is an iPhone 7+ and I’m a long-time Android convert (caught in the Note 7 fiasco, pit stop on the Pixel XL and now the iPhone). I travel domestically very frequently, and use navigation apps extensively across multiple states. I am the type of guy to use GPS to navigate home from a familiar location, simply out of habit and wanting traffic/routing updates. Here are my thoughts so far:
    I hope you are still around and/or notice this reply. I'm curious why you moved from the pixel to the iphone. I am looking at getting a new phone in the next few months and one of the phones I am looking at is the pixel or pixel 2. I'm curious what your thoughts were on the pixel.
    Thanks.
    08-15-2017 08:55 PM

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