Comparison: Apple Maps vs. Google Maps vs. Waze


Nav average error

Without a doubt, Google Maps is the world’s most commonly used mobile navigation app. It even used to be iPhone’s default maps app until Apple Maps replaced it in iOS 6. Meanwhile, Waze has emerged as the best third-party alternative to both Google and Apple Maps in recent years.

To find out which of these three navigation apps actually gets you to your destination most quickly, a detailed comparison has been shared by arturrr, while also taking into account which navigation app estimates the shortest travel time and how does each app over or underestimate travel times.

I recorded 120 observations (i.e. trips) of navigation app estimated and observed performance. For each observation, I randomly selected to follow one of the three navigation apps and recorded:

  • Which app was randomly selected to follow for each trip
  • Estimated driving time for each app (i.e. Apple Maps, Google Maps, and Waze)
  • Departure and arrival time
  • Traffic conditions (i.e. work commute hours or not)
  • Weather conditions (i.e. rain or not)
  • Driving type (i.e. >75% city, >75% highway, or mixed)

The lengthy comparison concludes that if you want to get to your destination most quickly, Google Maps is the best option, but for those who want an accurate prediction from their navigation app to help them arrive at their destination on time, Apple Maps should be their top choice.

One interesting tidbit from Artur, is that Apple Maps ‘sandbags estimates’:

Average error results were the exact opposite of estimated trip time. Using Apple Maps, I on average arrived 1% faster than initially estimated, versus 2% slower with Google Maps and 11% slower with Waze. In other words, Apple sandbags its estimates so that users on average arrive at the predicted time or slightly sooner. Google and Waze are overly optimistic in their predictions and thus their users arrive later than expected.

For detailed methodology and comparison data, check out the source page.


  • Riddlemethis

    Another dull and dreary day with Usman and Art what? I didn’t even bother to read the post. It’s like writing an article how water is wet.

    In any event, the article is quite bias especially since HERE Maps wasn’t used in the comparison.

  • FragilityG4

    Apple Maps work perfectly for me every time I use them! Sorry it’s. It the same for everyone….

  • LouisDC

    Apple Maps work, except when it makes you stop on the side of the highway, or when it makes you turn on non-existent streets… It really lacks a way to report errors, because there are a LOT of errors.

  • Chef Gordun

    Just another cry baby post by Riddlemethis, all I hear is wah wah I got sand again in my flabby man-gina and I’m having a bad day so I make others feel bad to make myself feel good. Get over yourself, world doesn’t revolve around you, anonymous hipster d-bag.

  • I haven’t opened Apple Maps in years. No joke.

  • FragilityG4

    I deleted Google Maps years ago and will never touch them again. I hated that it could never take me to the property I was seeking—instead it would take me two units past or two units before. Very vexing, no joke ?

  • FragilityG4
  • LouisDC

    I use Apple Maps all the time with CarPlay, so I rarely use the app on the iPhone and never noticed there’s a way to report issues… Thanks for letting me know!

  • Dansk

    I only use Apple Maps, I haven’t had any issues that would stop me from using it! Its improved A LOT since it was first released.

  • FragilityG4

    Happy to help out ?

  • FragilityG4

    Agreed. I think people are just thinking back to when it was first released… something like six years ago ?

  • MrXax

    As someone who extensively uses the TTC to get around in Toronto, I’m dismayed that Google Maps STILL doesn’t have accurate/real-time transit times. I still have to use Rocket Man to look up real-time arrival times.

  • Flash

    I just wish you could auto open location on safari to Apple maps, still no way of getting directions online to appear in Apple maps unless you manually enter them – unless I’m missing something.

  • Flash

    I’ll be using Google maps for the first time in 10 years next month for my trip to Costa Rica only because Apple maps does not do directions there. The download offline feature is also nice which Apple maps doesn’t do yet either (well other than cached view)

  • raslucas

    You’re probably like, within Google or clicking on a Google maps link… nothing you can really do about it… neither can Apple on the software side unless they start intercepting those links…

    The solution is to standardize the map:// URI scheme, like http:// is, and then let people choose the app to open with… but I think we’ve been talking about this for ages, and that wouldn’t mean Google or Apple would follow the guidelines.

  • raslucas

    You tried the Transit app for that?

  • raslucas

    Yes, it’s really important to go in and correct the errors when you see them. I do it whenever I run into those issues and they fix them no problem. Then everyone benefits.

  • raslucas

    Ugh… why escalate?

  • Steve Black

    When I had an iPhone, I would sometime use apple maps because of the overlay function and also because the Google maps wasn’t accurate with its positioning. Making me miss my turns. But on my s8+, the positioning is very precise.

  • erth

    i use waze 99% of the time. it is very accurate but i usually get there before it says i should. opposite to the statement in the article. and, the bonus of waze is that you get to tell other users where the cops are hiding, which apple and google maps does not allow.

  • Jason Bjerke

    Definitely a Waze fan here. Sure the time you arrive is different then they originally say in my Richmond to Surrey commute.But Its adaptive, and ever changing. They seem to base it on not making every 3rd light, if I make all green lights, then my time gets reduces, if red it stays the same. Making the police sightings is better then radar, you know well in advance. I’m seeing more and more users, which will increase accuracy and reports too. When I srive to Oregon, the amount of users by Seattle and Portland was crazy, everyone reporting everything!

  • MeowMito

    Apple Map got better with Lane Assist now. It is working wonderful in CarPlay. Before, it was horrid to use and I missed quite a few exits a few time due to complex highways and roads.

  • Larry

    I love the 3D rendering in Apple Maps. That’s the only thing I use it for. For GPS I use Google Maps. Never had a problem with it. I did a 2month, 15.5K km road trip around US and Canada last year. Used Google Maps and never had a wrong instruction. What really impressed me was twice in the US it announced, “to save 15 minutes take the next exit” and it routed me around a traffic backup.

  • Nick Presidente

    As someone that has used Google for years and been used to always having it not remotely close to accurate or picking ideal routes this is a bit shocking. In toronto the traffic is so bad Google can and doesn’t predict increases in traffic, you will always be late, it also only calculates really basic routes. Never used apple, but waze predicts traffic and will bypass problem areas, it is far more reliable for time. Wazes search stinks but has gotten better, and the reporting system is awesome.
    If I drive a simple route outside of rush hour Google is fine, but falls hard in it.

  • toysandme

    if you download the maps you need, Google Maps is very nice when in the boonies or when you’re running out of data since it works without cellular data. The HERE app is also useful at times.

  • Jay

    Forced to use apple maps in carplay… hate it… I have been mislead by directions twice THIS YEAR and it never has the correct address/location for things I search for

    Its terrible in montreal, thinking of switching to android just for the maps in car

  • The link to the source page is broken.

  • Looks like his web hosting shut him down due to all the traffic to his article.

  • Jduntouchable

    Before I give my opinion I will share my experience. have been using Google maps for 3 years on my regular commute to work, 75km one way. I live in Toronto (Brampton and commute to Ajax) and a huge stretch of my commute involves the highway 401… I have only used Google maps for the past three years and what I noticed is google maps DOES NOT provide the best routes. I find that if I decide my own routes I can get to my destination atleast 10min sooner. But if I do follow google maps I agree with the author of this blog, my arrival time is generally later than predicted. I’m looking for a new app. I’m gonna try Waze next.

  • k2bro

    Same for me. I only arrive before the app’s ETA.