A Detailed Comparison Between Apple Maps & Google Maps
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Google Maps vs Apple Maps: Which One Is Better To Use Enroute?

Chandrapal Singh By Chandrapal Singh | July 8, 2021
which one is better google maps or apple maps

The quest for the shortest & smartest route from point A to B frequently takes you on a tour to a navigation app on your smartphone. Apart from finding directions to the destination & tracking your location on maps, modern navigation apps for Android & iOS are now available with more unique features & updates. The surging demands for such navigation-based apps are shaping a competitive scenario among top existing players in the market.

Amongst 77% of smartphone users depend on navigation apps to reach the desired location & almost 67% of them prefer switching to a go-to navigation app from Google. On the other hand, Apple maps continue to make new records by entertaining around 24.3 million new users in a month. Hence, this never-ending battle on Google Maps vs Apple Maps signifies that both platforms stand as sole contenders in the progressive tech-driven industry.

user preferences for popular navigation apps

Both Google Maps & Apple Maps run as navigation tools with a cluster of cool features to locate, track, & reach any location with ultimate comfort. Now choosing one out of these two popular options for in-app navigation is a bit tricky as far as the distinctive benefits of geolocation based apps are concerned. If you can’t decide which is better Google maps or Apple maps, then just keep on reading this section. 

Apple Maps vs Google Maps: Factors To Compare Popular Navigation Apps

Both Google Maps & Apple Maps serve a similar purpose. With various matching features & functions, a couple of navigation apps resemble each other up to a great extent. Talking about top navigation platforms by Google & Apple, the differences b/w the two rivals will make you wonder how other similar businesses manage to compete & earn money by developing mobile apps

factors to compare apple maps and google maps

The concept of navigation or location tracking platforms is marked among the top trending app ideas for businesses nowadays. So, investing in comprehensive navigation app development would reward you with incredible outcomes & excellent ROI in a short period of time. However, you must consider some factors to compare the qualities of top players offering free navigation & location tracking services to worldwide customers. 

Also know the costs to develop indoor navigation app

It’s time to come to the point as now we’ve to stop beating the bush around the benefits of getting custom mobile apps for business. If you need more clarity on the concept of navigation apps then you must consider these factors to compare the benefits of Google maps & Apple maps:

#1 – Accessibility

The foremost point to compare the features of Google maps & Apple maps highlights the level of independence on the device or platform used to access them. 

The innovative space of Apple brings a series of devices like iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Mac, Apple TV, & a wide array of exclusive services backed by iOS app development. But it is a well-known fact that all platforms & technologies powered by Apple OS are meant for its software products only. Although these restrictions are major USPs for Apple, they came out as a big drawback when users have no way to access their services outside the range of Apple-made products. 

Whereas, a navigation app by Google brings no such restrictions on users who desire to navigate through its map on other devices. More power to the uses of cross platform app development. It can be said that users won’t feel bound to use a specific Android device to use Google maps as it is available across universal platforms. Even with a slight familiarity, anyone can use any device or smartphone to open a Google maps app to get instant access to any location anytime, anywhere!     

Who’s the winner?: Google maps beats Apple maps by providing boundless accessibility to the users on varied devices & gadgets. 

#2 – User Interface

The UI UX design of a navigation app is the next preliminary factor that can add value to this debate on Google maps vs Apple maps.  

While both navigation apps adhere to refined & user-friendly approaches for their respective user interfaces, there are some noticeable differences between the way they showcase their key selective components. 

differences in ui designs between apple maps and google maps

Apple maps portray all elements together at one place i.e on the search bar while Google maps flaunt the search bar separately over the top of the screen. Inspired by the latest UX techniques to follow, the search bar on Apple’s navigation app is designed in a way to enlist recent search history, locations, local places, & other information altogether whereas Google maps display dedicated buttons right below the search bar that appears on the top of the navigation app screen.

Thanks to UX tools used to customize the interface of Google maps as it seems to offer simplicity & speed only when a user taps to search a specific location. This turns out to be more complex when one has to check out location details, search history, nearby places, local amenities, & other details spontaneously at once without needing to click a particular button. Here a navigation tools by Apple takes a lead in the race between Google maps vs Apple maps by applying top mobile app UI design trends followed by a minimalist approach.   

Who’s the winner? It is crystal clear that Google’s mapping database lags behind Apple’s user interface to deliver simplicity & convenience to explore multifarious elements of location searches, commute history, landmarks, & other places. 

#3 – Map Design

As discussed in the previous section, Apple prioritizes a minimalist approach with its mobile app design & development strategy. The same pattern of user interface design is rendered on the overall map design of a navigation platform developed for iOS users. 

As far as the question relating to which is better, Google maps or Apple maps is concerned, the map design matters a lot in depicting the much deserving name from the two best-known navigation apps.  

When it comes to detailed navigation to the searched location or address, a user has to zoom into the map to view more relevant information across both Google maps & Apple maps. However, the response time for the zoom-in process on Google maps is comparatively faster than Apple maps. The best thing is that both navigation maps deliver sufficient information regardless of the user’s viewing style.

One more thing to note is the number of navigation details you can view on the display while navigating through the map. For instance, the road names, locations, businesses, popular places, etc. strikingly appear on the screen when a user zooms in to the navigation app. Besides these differences, these similarities between Google maps & Apple maps must not be neglected in the comparison just like dark mode for visual comfort during late-night driving and zoom-in & zoom-out features for detailed navigation experience.

While Apple maps avoid sharing excessive information of location details on the map, the bulks of navigation details appearing on Google maps not only distract users but also bring visual discomfort due to cluttered content. The concept is also addressed in a recent debate on Google map vs mapbox

Who’s the winner? Apple maps scores one more point against Google maps with its stunning map design for easy & easy-going navigational features.

#4 – Navigation

Both navigation apps guide users with relevant directions while being on the way to the destined location. Still, there is a minor difference in the way they follow up the route, ETA, redirections, route changes, approx distance b/w point A & B in meters & kms, and other instructions for hassle-free travel.

Likewise Google maps & Apple maps inform users when there is a turn or diversion coming up on the way. They both instruct commuters simultaneously with every single change in directions, expected traffic or congested roads, & any detail that can be helpful in easing your travelling experience. Since such functionalities vary drastically in other navigation tools people use for distinctive purposes, there is a big necessity to know all about geolocation app development for your knowledge. 

comparison between navigational view of apple maps and google maps

Here are a few tasks that both navigation platforms by Apple & Google can perform to provide out-of-box user experiences with impactful in-app navigation:

  • Informing users with current conditions of the route with updated details of traffic, route, road closures, & more. 
  • Suggesting alternative or shorter routes in case a user is facing traffic while being enroute to the destination. 
  • Generating navigations to users regardless of their mode of transportation. No matter if you’re commuting through your personal car, cycle, public transport, or on foot, you can discover the best route to complete your journey on both navigation apps.
  • Providing much-needed & precise estimated time arrival i.e ETA to the searched location with shortest route suggestions.

You won’t find any visible differences in the navigational aspects of both apps. In fact, Google maps & Apple maps showcase similar get navigation details with a pin-point difference of one or two minutes in ETA. Comparing the features of Google maps & Apple maps from a navigation point of view, we came across a major shortcoming for these two popular navigation tools used by the global population. For example, Apple maps neglect waiting time at tolls, fuel stations, & other hurdles that usually occur on the road.

Now coming back to the differences, the benefits of Google maps & Apple maps will definitely guide you to the desired destination but via different routes or directions. But the advantage of adding multiple stops on Google maps enables users to manage their commute time accordingly. 

Apple Maps lacks this functionality as it inhibits users to mention waiting spots while navigating on the app. It simply means that one has to restart a journey after a few minutes of waiting at every stop while using on-demand app guide for navigation on Apple devices. 

Google maps is reportedly upgrading its accuracy with routes & directions with a goal to serve fuel consumption benefits & improved safety. This will introduce a great way to minimize the usage of fuel as well as risks of accidents or unforeseen obstacles along with high-degree preciseness in ETA value.

Can you guess the winner? Anyone can witness how Google Maps has reached near to the victory over Apple Maps in the context of navigational performance.

#5 – On-route Traffic

Interestingly, the ‘commute’ feature on Google maps comes up to give you a brief on the details of your journey such as time, distance, routes, roads, & other things that you’re most likely to meet on your journey. 

The moment you add the destination address of your work, home, or any place on a navigation map by Google, you will start getting details of the average timeline for your next journey & suitable routes to complete it in minimum time. Users can also dislike the suggested routes if they find them unsuitable for their commute.

real time traffic view on apple maps and google maps

If we talk about Apple maps, the app allows you to save office & home locations but it doesn’t let users manage their exits or visits at any place. Although Apple’s featured calendar lets you adjust such time schedules, it expects you to configure its calendar setting on the travel time button. Here once again Google Maps takes one step ahead of Apple maps.

What’s your call to announce the winner in the Google Maps vs Apple Maps battle? No doubt, a navigation app by Google defeats Apple & the credit goes to its user-centric approach & mobile app development strategies for on-demand navigation apps. 

#6 – Public Transportation Updates

Not all commuters prefer to travel via car, right? Both Google maps & Apple maps cover travellers who choose to commute via public transport. Simply push a ‘public transport’ button & you are all set to navigate to the destination with applicable suggestions from these navigation apps. 

The navigation updates for public transportation are gathered from various transport authorities, on-demand taxi booking app or ride-sharing platforms, & many on-road travelling entities. But Google maps still grabs a plus point here. People using Google maps get real-time navigation updates from data gathered from thousands of users moving through the same route. This commute feature on Google maps retrieves crowd-shared data to provide full-proof data to share exact information about the current public transport system. 

Apple maps is also gearing up to bring a similar feature with its latest version update for iOS 14.5 that will bring live status on the public transportation scenario. 

Till then, Google maps remains a winner here!!

#7 – Local Searches

Besides free navigation services, Google maps & Apple apps have got a lot of things to offer. Users can discover nearby locations or places by simply switching to the search bar. Google maps will let you discover the nearest restaurants, hotels, fuel stations, hospitals, shopping centers, etc. to explore your recent locations. The ‘Explore More’ option brings brief insights into the place you can visit later on.

Apple maps do the same thing but in a different style. It uses a ‘Find Nearby’ terminology to let you explore more locations from a selective category. But again, with only a handful of categories to choose from, users are left with no other options than conducting manual searches to discover more. 

Moreover, the privacy & data collection of Google maps continues to raise its position on the top, leaving Apple maps behind in the race.

Who wins? The obvious name is Google maps..

#8 – Live Street View

Google’s street view needs no introduction to those who are ahead to know how to make a navigation app. It has existed as a prominent feature for the past 14 years as it made its first appearance in 2007. Excluding Germany, South Korea, & some nations, Live street view feature is available to the global Google maps users. It is a much-needed tool for on-demand app development for navigation & location tracking services.

new feature update with split screen street view

The latest split-screen feature for the street view is in the talks of town these days. The blend of functionalities to provide live view directions & navigation choices bring a realistic view of the area or road you may encounter while travelling. It is interesting to see how more & more businesses are interpreting the role of artificial intelligence in the retail industry in influencing the growth of diverse corporate sectors.  

Apple’s ‘Look Around’ is based on the same concept. But unfortunately, its availability is yet again limited to a handful of countries including the US, UK, Ireland, Canada, Japan, & so on.

Google maps is again a clear winner here!! 

#9 – Security

Last but not least, privacy is a major concern that affects the usability of any tool or program. Just like the most secure messaging app, top navigation apps like Google maps & Apple maps are concentrating on security as well as data sources & reporting issues. 

Since Apple takes privacy more seriously than Google, users confidently choose Apple maps over Google maps security reasons. All data or information gathered by Apple maps stay on constant reset mode & hence, it can be retrieved after 24 hours. This process is termed as ‘fuzzing’. As similar to the security challenges of IoT, some privacy issues arise with navigation apps as well. 

Read more on cyber security challenges to tackle them easily

Google maps also address privacy issues with more options to secure user data. Features like incognito mode & privacy control enable users to manage & secure their location searches.

Winner: Apple maps

Google Maps Vs Apple Maps: Historical Analysis On The Rise Of Navigation apps

Both Apple Maps & Google Maps conquered a wide user base to dominate the domain of the mapping industry. Google Maps has been ruling the market since 2005 while Apple Maps took 7 years more to finally arrive in 2012.

While Apple maps struggled to make its mark in initial days with lots of technical issues recurring to make it less precise with directions & public transport updates with too many bug reports, Google maps continued to upgrade itself to emerge as one of the best on-demand apps that received funding for navigation & mapping services in the international marketplace. 

The below graph reflects how the number of navigation app users increased gradually in the presence of Apple maps & Google maps between 2017-21. 

the rise of us navigation app users in numbers

Google Maps Vs Apple Maps, A Final Verdict By Appventurez

Once reaching the bottom line, you need no further explanation on Google maps & Apple maps features. From the past several years of market presence, Apple maps is far away from reaching the level of popularity & prominence that Google maps have attained amongst its target audience. Keeping all advantages of Google maps aside, Apple maps still stand apart from its competitors with appealing interfaces & eye-striking features to enjoy.
The domination of Google Maps over Apple Maps clearly signifies that Apple needs to make more upgrades to strengthen its foothold in the industry of mapping & navigation services. Leveraging innovative technologies like AI as a service for navigation app development would be a rewarding strategy for businesses these days. Overall, there are still more areas to explore to give a final decision on our discussion on Google maps vs Apple maps. If you’re a new entrant in the travel or mapping industry, you must get expert mobility solutions at Appventurez to witness exponential growth in your market value & customer reach.

Chandrapal Singh
Chandrapal Singh

A technocrat and an entrepreneur who is the Co-Founder and Chief Delivery Head at Appventurez. Skilled in object-oriented programming (OOP), iOS Development, Design Principles, Data Structures, and Swift, he has served different organizations as Tech Lead.

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