Apple Maps vs. Google Maps: Which One Is Best?

Apple Maps vs Google Maps featured image

Apple Maps vs. Google Maps: Which One Is Best?

Millions of people use GPS navigation apps daily. Whether you are finding the quickest route to your destination or discovering a new restaurant, GPS comes in handy. Apple Maps and Google Maps are two popular and useful navigation apps. Both apps offer a range of similar features, including real-time traffic updates and turn-by-turn directions for your traveling convenience, but they differ in various aspects.

In this Apple Maps vs Google Maps showdown, we will take a closer look at the features of both apps, navigation accuracy, user interface, map design, and more. We hope you’ll be able to decide which one best fits your needs. Without further ado, let’s dive in.

Apple Maps vs. Google Maps: Side-By-Side Comparison

Apple MapsGoogle Maps
Release date20122005
Dark modeYesYes
Location SharingYesYes
DesignSimple, clean interfaceDetailed and cluttered interface
Voice assistantYesYes
Better availabilityNoYes
PrivacyDoes not track users’ locations by defaultProvides more granular privacy controls

Apple Maps vs. Google Maps: What’s The Difference?

Google Maps app icon on Apple iPhone screen
Live View in Google Maps shows you where to go with arrows and directions.


Almost everyone has a personal preference, whether they prioritize privacy or are all-in on the Google ecosystem. If you are an Android user, you will find that Google Maps come pre-installed on most devices. However, iOS users can easily download Apple Maps from the Apple App Store.

Apple Maps is an in-built app on iOS devices, and not officially available on the Google Play store for Android devices. However, there are ways to use Apple Maps on Android devices. Web-based alternatives are one option, but they may not be as smooth or have as many features as downloadable mobile version.

At the moment, Google Maps leads in terms of usage and availability. Here is how exactly Apple Maps and Google Maps compare.

Features and Abilities

Google Maps offers several features, including voice-guided navigation, real-time traffic updates, offline maps, and Street View, which offers a street-level view, and live location updates. Additionally, it integrates with other Google services, such as Google Assistant for hands-free operation and Google Earth for satellite imagery.

On the other hand, Apple Maps offer comparable features like offline maps, voice-guided navigation, real-time traffic, and Look Around. It also provides Apple-specific features such as indoor maps for public spaces like airports, Flyover (aerial view of major cities and landmarks), and integration with Siri for hands-free operation. Additionally, both apps have a dark mode feature to ease the strain on your eyes when driving at night.

User Interface

Apple Maps and Google Maps feature a user-friendly interface, but Google Maps is more cluttered and displays a lot of information on the screen at once. The search bar is just along the top of the screen, and your account profile is accessible from the left. Below it, you will find dedicated buttons for things like gas stations or restaurants, which can be useful.

At the bottom of the screen, you’ll see a menu to access features like Explore and Commute, local news, Saved locations, and the option to provide reviews and feedback for local amenities. If this is overwhelming, you can tap the center of the screen, and it will all disappear.

On the other hand, Apple Maps has a cleaner and more minimalistic interface, and most users find it user-friendly. Recent search history, Saved destinations, and information about local businesses only appear when you expand the search bar. It’s good to have everything in one place, even if it’s truncated.

The more you zoom in on a location, the more information both apps reveal, but Apple Maps shows you data a little earlier when zooming. You will find all the essentials, such as landmarks, road closures, and your current location scanning the terrain.

Map Design

Generally, Apple Maps has chosen a simple design similar to its user interface. While you still have access to a lot of information, Apple Maps doesn’t display much information until you zoom in all the way. In contrast, Google will similarly show more details as you zoom further in, and reveals a lot of that information much earlier than Apple Maps does.

That said, both maps always show the necessary information regardless of how you view it. For example, roads, locations, and landmarks are all there. The only key difference is how much additional information is displayed, such as businesses, minor road names, etc. Also, both apps incorporate the dark mode feature that is easier on your eyes during night driving.

Google Maps had started including more superfluous yet helpful details, like crosswalks and stop signs. Also, on iOS 15, Apple has begun to add this information, including turn lanes, taxi and bus lanes, and crosswalks. Additionally, it provides information for complex highway interchanges, a feature that Google Maps has included for some time.

Both apps offer you the information you need, but Apple Maps’ minimalist approach makes it easier on your eyes. Contrary, Google Maps’ extra information can be distracting at times, and this is the last thing you need if you are lost trying to familiarise yourself with the app.

Cost and Availability

Both Apple and Google Maps are downloadable for free, but their availability differs on various platforms. While Google Maps is available on most devices, including Android and iOS, Apple Maps is only available on Apple devices (iPads, iPhones, and Macs). You can still use Apple Maps on non-Apple devices, but the experience won’t be seamless.

Navigation Accuracy

Both apps are quite similar in how they direct you toward your destination. They provide turn-by-turn navigation and show estimated arrival times. Additionally, each app has directions for walkers, drivers, cyclists, and those using public transport. However, Google Maps has better navigation accuracy due to its vast database and extensive mapping technology experience.

Although, over the last few years, Apple Maps have seen tremendous improvements, it may fall short in areas with insufficient mapping data. Both apps can suggest alternative routes if your current one becomes congested, but Google Maps will offer more options. It’s worth noting that neither Google Maps nor Apple Maps can outdo Waze — a community-based navigation application — for finding the fastest way through traffic.

In terms of route planning, Google Maps has an advantage over Apple Maps. It allows you to add multiple custom stops before starting your journey. Apple Maps only allows for adding pit stops like restaurants and gas stations, but not custom pins.

Real-Time Traffic Data

navigation map on a smartphone screen
Google Maps app, provide real-time GPS location, direction and transit information.


Apple and Google Maps provide access to real-time traffic data and can notify users of road closures and high traffic conditions. Both apps allow you to report roadside issues, such as speed cameras, accidents, and other potential hazards that may impair travel times. However, Google has an advantage with its “Commute” feature.

In addition, Google Maps allows you to adjust your arrival or departure time, something Apple Maps doesn’t. Although Apple Calender can provide a “travel time” function that can perform similar actions, you need to activate the feature and create a calendar event. This can make it cumbersome for iOS users. Google Maps also boasts an extensive collection of historical and real-time data.


Apple Maps is known for its strong emphasis on user privacy. It uses features like on-device data processing and randomized identifiers to protect its users from being tracked. Apple Maps doesn’t store user information such as whereabouts or search history, meaning no data links to their Apple ID.

In contrast, Google Maps relies more on user data to personalize the experience and often shares more information with third-party advertisers to improve Google’s targeted ads. Google Maps links everything you do with your Google Account. So, your data gets stored on Google’s servers and not on your device, as is the case with Apple Maps.

Hands-Free Control

Having hands-free control is crucial, especially when driving. Both apps offer this feature, though they work differently. Apple Maps is integrated with Siri and comes pre-installed and ready to use in every iPhone, meaning users don’t require additional setup. In contrast, Siri works with Google Maps, but you have to specify that you want to use it. Otherwise, Siri will default to Apple Maps, and at the moment, there is no way to change this. You will need to say, ‘Hey Siri, give me directions to work with Google Maps’ else, just asking for directions, it will launch Apple Maps instead.

Alternatively, you can install and set up Google Assistant, or you can turn off Siri in Google Maps’ navigation settings. By doing this, it allows you to use “Ok Google” commands while Google Map is open, and you can switch voice commands on/off by tapping the microphone button on the screen.

Street View vs. Look Around

Google Maps Street View offers panoramic street-level imagery, letting users explore locations virtually from a first-person perspective. On the other hand, Apple Maps’ Look Around provide a similar feature with high-res 3D imagery. They are both valuable alternatives to how we view maps and give you a realistic sense of the terrain, especially when exploring new areas.

Although Apple Maps Look Around and Google Maps Street View serves the same purpose, Google Maps has a larger coverage area as it’s around longer. With millions of users contributing images over the years, Google Maps has documented plenty of images worldwide. On the other hand, Apple’s Look Around has only been around since 2019 and has a limited number of locations. However, Apple Maps has the potential to become as extensive as Google Maps with time.

Car Integration

Google Maps can work with Android Auto, while Apple Maps is compatible with CarPlay. Both Android Auto and CarPlay offer voice-guided navigation and easy access to music and communication apps through the vehicle’s infotainment system. These systems seamlessly integrate with various car models and their controls. Your choice ultimately depends on your smartphone and personal preferences.

Apple Maps vs. Google Maps: Pros and Cons

Apple Maps

Privacy focusedDoesn’t provide much information on locations
A cleaner interface that is free from distractionsYou cannot download maps offline
3D look-around featureNo internal location directions
Offer accurate lane guidance and speed limit display
Can check the temperature and the air quality

Google Maps

Advanced voice searchLack of data privacy
Real-time traffic updatesOffline maps consume a bigger memory space
Accurate directionsStreet views are not updated regularly
Users can download offline maps and directions
Explore local places of interest
Good for online usage

Apple Maps vs. Google Maps: Which One is Better? Which One Should You Use?

Both Apple Maps and Google Maps provide various functionalities to make navigation and travel more convenient. Google Maps has the upper hand in aspects such as traffic details, business data, and public transport. On the other hand, Apple Maps excels in privacy, user interface, and smooth integration with Apple devices. Ultimately, the choice between Apple Maps and Google Maps solely depends on personal preference, the device you own, and the features you value the most.

Apple Maps vs Google Maps infographic

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do Google Maps and Apple Maps have wildly different ETAs?

Google Maps relies on real-time traffic data from its users and historical traffic data, as well as other sources, to calculate ETAs between two locations. This allows Google Maps to adjust its estimated travel times based on current traffic conditions, which can be helpful in providing more accurate directions.

On the other hand, Apple Maps uses data from its proprietary mapping service, as well as other sources, to estimate ETAs. While Apple Maps does not rely on real-time traffic data in the same way as Google Maps, it may be able to provide faster route recommendations in some cases based on its algorithms and mapping technology.

Is Google Maps compatible with Apple CarPlay?

Yes, Google Maps is compatible with Apple CarPlay. In fact, Google Maps was one of the first third-party navigation apps to be supported by CarPlay, which allows users to access and use their iPhone apps on their car’s infotainment system.

To use Google Maps with CarPlay, you need to have a compatible iPhone and car and ensure that your iPhone is updated to the latest version of iOS and that the Google Maps app is installed and up-to-date. Once you connect your iPhone to your car’s CarPlay system, you should be able to access Google Maps on the car’s touchscreen display and use it for navigation.

Can you get Google Maps on Apple Watch?

Yes, it is possible to use Google Maps on your Apple Watch, but some requirements need to be met. Firstly, your Apple Watch needs to be running WatchOS 5 or higher, and your iPhone needs to be running iOS 10 or higher. This is because the Google Maps app is only compatible with these versions of the operating systems. Additionally, you will need to ensure that location services are turned on for your Apple Watch. This is because Google Maps requires location data to provide navigation and direction information to users.

Once you have met these requirements, you should be able to download and use the Google Maps app on your Apple Watch. However, it’s worth noting that the functionality of Google Maps on the Apple Watch is somewhat limited compared to the full-featured app on your phone.

Can you get Apple Maps on Android?

Although Apple Maps is not officially available for Android devices on the Google Play Store, you can use the app through third-party applications or web-based alternatives. However, the experience is not as smooth or feature-rich as on an iOS ecosystem.

Which one offers more data privacy, Apple Maps or Google Maps?

Apple Maps is known for its strong emphasis on user privacy. It uses features like on-device data processing and randomized identifiers to protect its users from being tracked. Apple Maps doesn’t store any information about users’ whereabouts or search history, meaning no data links to their Apple ID.

On the other hand, Google Maps relies more on user data to personalize the experience and often shares more information with third party advertisers to improve Google’s targeted ads. Google Maps links everything you do with your Google Account, thus implying your data gets stored on Google’s servers and not on your device, as is the case with Apple Maps.

Is Google Maps better than Apple Maps?

If privacy is a top concern for you, then Apple Maps may be the better choice, as it is designed with privacy in mind and doesn’t collect as much data as Google Maps. On the other hand, if you value having access to more information and data, and are willing to share your data with the app, then Google Maps may be the better choice.

Ultimately, it’s up to each individual user to decide which mapping app is better for their specific needs and preferences. Some users may prefer the simplicity and privacy of Apple Maps, while others may value the advanced features and data of Google Maps more.

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