Comparison: Apple Maps versus Google Maps in Canada in iOS 6


Yesterday we showed you a video of Siri’s new local search capabilities in Canada on iOS 6, and today we’re going to take a look at the differences between Apple Maps and Google Maps. The latter was removed in iOS 6 and replaced by Apple’s own mapping solution, a combination of technologies from acquisitions C3 and Polybase.

Here are a few screenshot comparisons of Vancouver–tell me what you think. Google Maps on the left, Apple Maps on the right.

Basic search result for ‘Vancouver’:

Zooming in to the downtown core:

Satellite/hybrid view with ‘Traffic’ turned on:

One thing to note, is the Apple satellite maps are newer than Google’s as the new BC Place Stadium roof shows. However, the Google Maps satellite images are much clearer and brighter–and there’s still Street View and transit info. Thoughts?

Update 1: A little humour from 9gag, comparing the Maps icons:



  • do Toronto

  • As I figured…Google Maps is going to be the better choice for a while yet.

  • Bc

    I prefer googles map. I hope Apple will provide a option. Or else Seperate google map application for those who prefer google

  • Andrew

    Remember, this is all still in beta format. Chances are, when it all goes live in October, clarity and detail will likely be more advanced.

  • Mike

    It will be called “Safari”.

  • pascyyy

    Maps in my opinion is going to suffer greatly. We can all speculate as to why Apple ditched Google here but ultimately, it will hurt the consumer. Other than the fact that the maps don’t quite look as good (subjective), you’ll lose Google’s powerful search capabilities such as searching for a restaurant or other location of interest. You’ll lose the sense of consistency. I typically go to Google for virtually all my mapping. As mentioned in the article, we’ll lose transit info and street view.
    And for what? Turn by turn navigation? There’s no reason why they couldn’t do that before.

  • That’s what I’m thinking. It’s a pretty simple offering at best.

  • Bc

    Yeah, but Apple does not have Streetview. Streetview is a big plus for me. I serious doubt that Apple will have the equivalent of Streetview. Apple better give us a Seperate google map app or an option for google maps.

  • rio

    I feel the major reason Apple switched to TOMTOM and other providers is so they can provide Turn by Turn navigation. From looking at the screen shots the navigation stuff looks similar to what some of the sony phones have swell. And trust me when it comes to that it by passes the Google maps by a long shot.

  • Leepeltz

    I would be interested to see what the smaller cities look like.  How about Prince George, BC?

  • Google Maps is still superior. Google is just too integrated into daily life for it to be just phased out..

    I wish they could just get along. Google and Apple are like Ross and Rachel. They belong together but they just can’t get over themselves. But the world would be a better place if they just shut up and kissed and made up.

  • Edge

    Now Apple maps are still a work in progress (iOS 6 beta). However, at this point in time it’s certainly form over function, eye candy that really has no use (kinda like Siri, cute toy, doesn’t get too much real world use).

    Flyover and 3D are cool, but I would take street view any day (I use that all the time when going to an unfamiliar place).

  • Jason

    It will be up to Google to release a stand alone app, not Apple.

    That presents 2 questions:

    1) Will Apple block a third party map app that competes with built in one?
    2) Will Google even release one hoping to use the absence of Google Maps on iOS to push users to chose an Android solution instead?

  • haha nice Friends reference. Spot on.

  • loupetron

    Apple has stated that routing apps can register themselves for advertising their services to the system. So when you click on a map address in an app it will allow you to pick the App you want to use to open and route to the address with it.

    So when google, tomtom, garmin release their ios6 updated mapping tools, you’ll be able to choose!

  • Nick

    Has Apple 3D mapped Canadian cities?

  • Edge

    Haha, I’ve only found one Canadian city 3D (Montreal).

  • bradg17

    I agree 100 percent with everything you said! Except i heard that the reason they didn’t have turn by turn navigation is because google didn’t want it on the iPhone. That was one of the bonuses to having google maps on android. But yes I feel that this is a bad move for us. Apple better have put A LOT of time into this because google maps are unreal.

  • bradg17

    That’s actually hilarious!

  • coach83

    Let me preface by saying… of course this is just my opinion.

    On first looks, Apple’s mapping system just looks completely dumb-downed when comparing images.
    What has me concerned is other than wanting iOS to provide turn-by-turn, I don’t know one person who had any serious complaint with Google Maps on their iPhone.
    That said, Apple is now hoping us customers will prefer their new map system over what we’ve been accustom to since the iPhone’s inception (again…without substantial complaint). Is it possible? Absolutely but in my eyes this is a typical case of, “it’s it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.” 
    I don’t want any form of a beta mapping system on a phone that’s suppose to be providing me TURN-BY-TURN navigation. 
    Will the new Maps be good? I don’t doubt it. As good as Google’s? I just don’t see how it can be now or in the next 4-5 months.
    Flyover is nice but rather it on my iPad that my iPhone and on my phone I just don’t know how it can replace Street View.
    Hope it does though 🙂

  • Mikeroy77

    The biggest difference to me will be the built-in turn by turn nav.  I hate the iOS Google maps.  Having to hit that little next button while driving sucks.

  • draz

    I honestly can’t wait for Google to release their maps.

    It was Apple that made the app but sourced Google for the map data.
    Now Google can release their own app and do whatever they want.

    Mapquest has an approved app that is free and has navigation. Google shouldnt have any issues.

  • Leo

    I already miss Google Maps, wow does Apple Map look half ass.
    Let me guess turn by turn and 3d maps won’t be turn on in Canada until 2013?

  • Naqib Ehsan

    There is always going to be me complaining. We are also accustomed to the iOS UI but people want it to Chnage, it isn’t “broken” and doesn’t need to be “fixed” but people still want it to Change.

    Just embrace it and maybe it will be better looks better to me and street view is a such a gimmick

  • Naqib Ehsan

    They partnered with yelp, tomtom and many others to get this right i’m pretty sure it will fine

  • Chris

    Waw. So glad you did this. Im convinced google is better.

  • Chris

    Totally wrong about Siri. Especially if ure using the hands free tweak from cydia.

  •  I sure hope you are right because loosing google maps for an inferior (no transit feature, street view…)  apple maps ( I’m on iPhone4)  would be enough to hold me on 5.1.1 for a while!

  •  Google Maps doesn’t have turn-by-turn gps and that’s partly why I purchsed Navigon. There’s no way in hell that apple can compare to Navigon

  • Does anyone have voice guidance on maps in Canada? Is it only me or it doesn’t work outside the u.s. (iOS 6 beta 1)

  • MmmMmmgood

    @Chris, no Edge is NOT wrong,.  Almost nobody cares about comparing hacked devices with non hacked features and devices.  SIRI is an epic failure, especially in Canada.

  • I wouldnt go to vegas and bet on it 😉

  • No streetview is a big one for most everyone and this is what will tick a lot of people off. Transit is another one. Google is also working on streetview for trails for cyclists. People initially said SV was useless, but as time has shown, it’s proven invaluable. Who doesnt want to see how the street or area looks like before the arrive there. Can we say the same about 3D? Hardly.

    Tele Atlas is kinda big in Europe but Navteq every where else. Google relies all too often on user date to add and correct map attributes eg. Google Mapmaker. I am not sure how TeleAtlas gets their data and how they correct an errors or omissions. The one thing Google really messed up on recently was requiring one to have Google + to add reviews of places where in the past you just needed to sign in and even use a pseudo if you wanted to. I believe Apple will use this to their advantage with their maps and points of interest.  In addition, I am not certain that you will be able use maps in offline mode with iOS 6. I imagine you can always use Google Earth instead if you dont like the TeleAtlas 3D maps which are pretty much useless.

  • And there will always be sheep who follow the sheep herder. Just do what you’re told, dont question, don’t think. Let others decide what you need and want, afterall, my name is Naqib Ehsan. 

  • Nope. Navteq owns Nokia, Nokia is into Windows OS. Apple and Google have had this thing going for a while. Apple didnt really like to have a competitors product on their device, at least not as a main feature. The only other option was Tele Atlas. Tele Atlas maps will be iOS 6;’s achilles heel. Virtually nobody will embrace their maps. Make no mistake about that.

  • And Santa Claus , the Easter Bunny, and the tooth fairy will bring you gifts all year round,

  • For me, this is the nail into the coffin. I am definitely getting an Android phone in the fall. Besides, who wants to look at a map on a wimpy 4 inch screen anyways?

  • Ewerwerqwerqwer

    apple will take atleast several years before they can get their app to be atleast as good as google’s. Google has been in the mapping business for a loong time, and their app has been in ios since the original iphone. I would use google over apples.

  • DefiningSound

    It will be interesting to see if the switch from iOS 5 to iOS 6 is as
    complete as the one from iOS 4 to iOS 5. Pulling a core app might affect upgrade acceptance.

  • xywix

    All I care about is asking for directions with the local bus system. In Toronto it even shows u departing times for subways, busses and street cars. Does apple maps have that???

  • not anymore Canada is going to have all the features that America has with siri and siri is going to have way more features in ios 6 than in ios 5(movies restraunts hands free intergrated in cars, maps ability to open apps from lockscreen(withoutpasscode) and more

  • Cottonswab

    Totally agree, Google maps is way better.  3D flyby is only cool for a week.  Then you say I’d like to see the store front.  DOH! only the rooftop?  FAIL.  I’m not waiting for Apple Beta software – Take your money wait a year, Look Siri is fixed for your country! New Feature! .  They are not going to be driving around the world adding streetview.  Oh look PanoMap is suing Google and Apple for using Streetview.  See what Apple has done?, create an entire Ecosystem of Patent Litigation,  This is something real Apple has invented.  Patent Trolling is now what I associate as an Apple product.

  • Bring back Google Maps Apple !

    I definitely will not be “downgrading to IOS6 until they have street view and the same level of quality as Google Maps. I was really hoping to get SIRI in Canada but it looks like I won’t be getting that now, Apple is such a joke sometimes.
    Google Maps and the detail it provides is more powerful than SIRI with location services based on a crappy map system. I don’t believe Apple will ever have a Map system better than Google or at the same level. they never show that kind of commitment to detail, they just go for the superficial flashy marketing stuff.
    IOS6 = BIG FAIL due to dropping Google Maps just so Apple can screw Google a little, and customers even more so.
    This may be the final straw to move to Android. Form over function is getting too pronounced with Apple

  • Not impressed with Apple

    I agree Macky, I think this is the final straw for me to move to a new Samsung Android. Even though I have a 4S with non functioning SIRI

  • DS

    I saw two TOM TOM cars driving westbound on the TransCanada west of Regina last week (Wednesday the 16th? maybe Saturday the 9th? – cant remember the exact day).

    Both cars had large (tall) antennas on the roof with what appeared to be panoramic lenses fixed to the top.
    This could be TOM TOM building a “streetview” image database for Apple…? I hope so!

    I believe that even if Apple releases their new mapping program as it looks right now, they will have it up to snuff with Google Maps in a relatively short order (say within a year). Maps are such an important part of the iPhone experience that I cant believe that Apple would half-ass it. The expectations have been established with Google Maps such that Apple will have to meet of exceed our current baseline. It may take a bit of time but the end result will, in my opinion/estimation, most likely exceed our current map experience.


  • Doesn’t work for me either

  • Doesn’t work for me either…Vancouver.

  • I understand that you get the turn by turn already but that the voice prompts are not yet working in Canada.

  • bradg17 :

    “i heard that the reason they didn’t have turn by turn navigation is because google didn’t want it on the iPhone.”

    That’s a common claim among iPhone fans, many of whom think Apple is the world’s only 100% innocent corporation. Of course, real life is never that simple and their ‘blame Google’ story is pure fantasy.

    From 2009, Apple had licensed Google’s map-tiles and proprietary geocoder for their iOS Maps app. But check any Android phone — ‘Maps’ and ‘Navigation’ are separate apps. That means separate licenses.

    Google and Apple could not come to terms on licensing the Navigation app. The basic disagreement was over branding & on-screen credit. Google wanted their name and logo on the app; Apple flatly refused.

    You could argue that Google knew Apple would refuse, so they set things up in such a way as to guarantee the deal would fall through. But that implies Google turned down a lot of revenue just to be stubborn.

    Meanwhile, you’d also have to explain why Apple bought a mapping company called ‘Placebase’ in 2009, a full two months before Google released their first turn-by-turn navigation on Motorola’s Droid phone.

    Think about that…

    It’s not rocket science: Apple planned for their own maps and navigation apps, but were hoping to use Google Navigation as a handy, interim solution …during which time they’d learn & borrow from it.

    Apple has followed exactly this same pattern with many other ‘strategic partners’ and 3rd-party app developers, especially with iOS. But they couldn’t make a deal for GNav, so they went back to plan B. 🙂

    Sorry for the long response. Hope it helps.

  • KockBurn

    Jesus why don’t you guys quit crying about your non functioning Siri. JB your dam phone and get international locations from Cydia. Next you will be crying about the s3s ugly display, or have you not actually seen one or read the reviews yet. QQ apple didn’t do exactly what you want do you stomp your feet like children and say your getting Samsung. Well do it and quit your complaining.

  • KockBurn

    No pal your wrong. Siri works fine for me as a truck driver. I’m not a fool I don’t need maps. I need to make phone calls and send texts hands free and he wasn’t comparing he was simply stating the truth. Hell Siri does locations in Canada with a Cydia tweak as well as many other things. Edge was simply offering a opinion not a comparison

  • KockBurn

    No one has it as of now voice is not activated in beta 1 or 2

  • Raymond Jones

    Some people seem to forget, apple didn’t just cook this up they bought map company’s that have been around for 5 close to 10 years, and will be using sourced information from company’s. Apples not dumb enough to relase a half ass mapping system when competing with google

  • ray wrong

    how wrong you were!