Apple offline Maps vs. Google Maps: Apple Introduces Offline Maps

Apple offline Maps vs. Google Maps: Apple Introduces Offline Maps

Since its first debut in 2012, Apple Maps has impressively recovered despite receiving harsh criticism. However, Apple Maps still lacks a number of useful features when compared to Google Maps.

Apple plans to fill one of those gaps with the release of iOS 17 this autumn by adding downloaded maps, a vital function that Google has provided for years.

With the release of the iOS 17 public beta, people who aren’t enrolled in Apple’s developer program can now use this functionality for the first time. It’s crucial to remember, though, that installing beta operating systems on your main devices is typically not advised.

I debated moving to Apple Maps for a few years before finally making the switch in 2019 after observing small enhancements made by Apple. But I still need to maintain Google Maps installed for sporadic use because of several capabilities, including offline maps. It’s a good opportunity to examine how the offline maps functionality works on an iPhone running either Apple Maps or Google Maps after using the developer version of iOS 17 for a few weeks.

How it works:

Apple Maps’ method for downloading and using offline maps is simple and remarkably similar to Google Maps’.

Simply perform a search for a city or location to get started, and a “download” option will be displayed alongside buttons for getting instructions and switching to flyover mode. As an alternative, you can tap on your profile image to open the app’s menu, then pick “offline maps” and “download new map.” Additionally, this section offers choices for whether downloaded maps should be used even when an internet connection is available, whether updates should be automatic, and if maps can be downloaded over mobile networks in addition to Wi-Fi. There is a “optimize storage” button, although consumers are not fully sure what it does.

Once you’ve made the decision to download a map, you can select the desired area to capture by moving or resizing a box on top of the map. All you have to do to use the map is wait for it to start downloading. Without a cellular data connection, Apple Maps will automatically transition to the offline map when you are navigating that region. You may still access location pages, search for businesses, and get directions.

Although the location pages offer crucial information, they are deficient in editorial content like “best X in the city” type listicles, photographs, and in-depth user reviews that can be found in Apple Maps’ online mode.

Overall, Google Maps users will find this function to be simple to use and intuitive. There are a few noteworthy distinctions worth highlighting, though.

Apple Maps offline vs. Google Maps offline:

Using offline maps might help you avoid paying data roaming fees when traveling abroad or solve connectivity problems in remote places. Although there were some restricted map downloads accessible as early as 2012, Google just started allowing users to download maps in 2015 for offline navigation. With the introduction of iOS 17 later this year, Apple will have finally caught up to Google’s offline capabilities with Apple Maps after an eight-year gap.

Eight years is a long time for such a large feature gap to exist between the two mobile map applications—Apple Maps has been around for longer and has almost as long of a lifespan as the iPhone. Apple’s solution must be at least on par with Google’s, if not better, given the timeframe. It turns out that the best way to describe it is “at least as good”.

When comparing screenshots, you can see that both applications’ user interfaces are remarkably similar. Both allow users to choose a region for download, access directions inside the downloaded map area, and provide a rudimentary description of the companies and notable locations that may be found there.

There are a few minor variations, though. For example, maps downloaded through Google Maps typically take up significantly less space on your phone. In my situation, I grabbed Greater Los Angeles, which stretches from Malibu to Irvine and from Santa Clarita to Huntington Beach, from both applications. In Google Maps, the downloaded map took up 289MB, whereas in Apple Maps, it took up 859.7MB. The mystery “optimize storage” setting did not seem to have any noticeable effects during this beta release.

On the other hand, Apple Maps’ offline maps provide a little bit more details on the landmark and company pages. For instance, Google displays the name, address, contact information, and operating hours for Nine Bar in Chicago. Apple adds the Yelp rating, website, and other information under the “Good to Know” area, as well as information on the establishment’s handicap accessible, parking, payment methods, acceptable attire, and more.

While Apple Maps’ offline maps do not appear to have an expiration date, or at least the software does not make this clear, Google Maps’ offline maps expire if they are not updated.

Beyond these small variations, the sensations are essentially the same. You may browse the maps, search for businesses, and get detailed directions. If Apple’s goal was to match Google Maps in functionality, it has succeeded—no more, no less.

Yet, there’s more work to be done:

There are still a few useful elements from Google mapping that Apple Maps lacks, even with the advent of offline mapping. In order to avoid crowded times when going out, I frequently use Google Maps’ “Popular Times” function, which displays a graph showing the typical bustle of a bar or restaurant throughout the day. A corresponding function has not yet been added to Apple Maps.

There are numerous other examples besides this one. Even while the addition of offline maps significantly closes a gap in Apple Maps, it comes much later. Apple Maps has seen a major transition from its initial release to the present. It has improved into a better program with more data and more practical features, making it an effective substitute for Google Maps for the majority of users. It still hasn’t totally achieved parity, thankfully, but this particular functionality has.

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