Google Maps Vs. Apple Maps (for Road Trips)

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By Kyle & Olivia Brady | Founders of Drivin' & Vibin' | We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases.

Google Maps Vs. Apple Maps (for Road Trips)

Whether you’re trying to find a new restaurant or driving cross-country, you need the most accurate and up-to-date navigation app. But, which one is the best to use? Google Maps or Apple Maps?

Navigating an unfamiliar area can be an incredibly stressful situation. Turn down a one-way street, and you can multiply that stress 10 times. Today, we’ll compare Google Maps vs Apple Maps in a battle of navigation apps.

Let’s dig in!

First Impressions

Whether you’re a fan of Google or Apple, it’s fair to say that both are incredible navigation apps. The phone you choose can impact which navigation app you’re able to use.

While Google Maps is available in Apple’s App Store, Apple Maps is not available in the Google Play Store. Choosing an iPhone allows you access to both of these tremendous navigation apps.

Both apps utilize robust databases and offer basic mapping features like driving directions with turn-by-turn navigation, public transit, and walking directions. Both Google and Apple, in recent years, have been adapting their mapping ecosystem by using planes, cars, and users to provide the highest quality images and data available.

The Google Maps vs Apple Maps battle provides incredible motivation for each company.

When two massive tech companies slug it out, consumers benefit. The harder they fight to separate themselves, the more features and accurate data available to consumers.

Comparison

Let’s look at a handful of different categories to help us select a winner in our Google Maps vs Apple Maps battle.

Platform

Apple Maps is available exclusively for iPhones, iPads, and Apple watches. If you already own one of these mobile products, or an iMac or Macbook, you’ve already got access to Apple Maps.

This is the most used navigation app on iOS, which is slightly misleading as it’s the default map. Anytime users ask Siri for directions or to help find a local restaurant, Apple Maps is used. However, if you’re a Google loyalist, you’ll have access to Google Maps. 

Searching in the App Store for Google Maps allows Apple users to add Google Maps to their device. The same cannot be said for those using the Android platform, as Apple Maps is not available.

Google’s platform harnesses its massive search engine’s colossal power to provide its users with the most up-to-date information. When looking at availability and ecosystems, it’s easy to chalk this up as a win for Google Maps.

Ease Of Use

Availability is important, but it’s worthless if the app is difficult or frustrating to use. Luckily, as the competition between these two tech giants heats up, it’s only become easier to use their apps.

Both of the navigation apps are bright and easy to read, especially when used for turn-by-turn directions. While both provide arrival estimates, Google has a slight edge by changing the travel time color based on traffic conditions. Users can see potential traffic slowdowns at a glance without having to touch the screen.

Google Maps does a better job of displaying potential options when launched. Choosing between “explore, commute, saved, contribute, and updates” easily provides users with quick access to great features.

You can also quickly contribute your photos for a location or help update operating hours or restroom availability for map locations. In our Google Maps vs Apple Maps battle, ease of use goes to Google.

Privacy

The old saying, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch,” couldn’t be more true. In this day and age, companies “give away” their apps or create content in exchange for personal information.

You’ll want to pick which company you’re more comfortable with having access to your personal information, which could include where you work, where you live, or lists of potential places you’d like to visit.

Apple doesn’t connect map content or usage with an Apple ID. Apple instead uses random identifiers that mask search results for users. This information is not stored by Apple but is stored at the local level for use with Siri. Apple also provides a way for users to erase their history in their settings.

Google optimizes its maps app to collect data. This incredible database is used by their search engine, maps, voice assistants, and even self-driving cars. Google won’t sell your data but will use it to construct data sets. These data sets are used when Google sells ad space. This information is highly protected by Google, as it is their best source of revenue.

Google Maps allows users to download their maps for offline use, helping users keep their information private. We’re giving Apple the win regarding privacy as their entire revenue stream isn’t based on user data.

Data Usage

Before installing an app on your phone, you’ll want to be mindful of how much data it will take to use it. This is even more so if you find yourself up against a data cap or overages each month. Both navigation apps allow users to save data by downloading maps in advance, but features are limited in off-line use.

According to Whistleout.com, Google Maps uses the least amount of data, with .73 megabytes for 20 minutes of use. Apple Maps for the same amount of time used approximately 1.3 megabytes.

Neither app uses a tremendous amount of data as both still use less than streaming music on Spotify, which is eight megabytes for a 3-minute song. Based on the numbers and data, Google Maps wins again.

Google Maps Vs. Apple Maps: The Winner

Now that we’ve looked at a few key components, who do we think is the winner? They both put up a strong fight, but there can only be one winner in this battle.

Best Overall: Google Maps

It should come as no surprise that Google Maps is superior to Apple Maps overall. Google Maps excelled in almost all of the categories we looked at, except privacy. Many are okay with giving up a little bit of their privacy in exchange for an easy-to-use and fully functional navigation app.

Best For Tourists: Apple Maps (Flyover/City Tours Features)

While we believe Google Maps is superior overall, we feel Apple Maps is a great option for tourists. The flyover and city tour features are incredible ways to familiarize yourself with an area in advance or while you’re on the go. This offers a very different perspective than Google’s Street View, which is created using an army of cars driving on the roads.

Google Maps For the Overall Win

So there you have it, Google Maps reigns supreme over Apple Maps in our competition. Keep an eye on Apple Maps to continually be throwing their best punch with every update to its app.

Do you think they’ll overtake Google Maps? Which do you prefer to use in your travels?

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2 comments

  1. I use Google. I also have a stand alone Garmin GPS unit as being satellite based instead of cellular I can get mapping where there isn’t any cell signal.

  2. Google Maps is ok – I use an iPhone – but sometimes the voice does not work and I cannot figure out why. I drive Big Rig so I need spoken directions.

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