Which Of Apple’s Officially Recommended Third-Party Mapping Apps Is Best For You? [Round-Up]

Which Of Apple’s Officially Recommended Third-Party Mapping Apps Is Best For You? [Round-Up]

Earlier this morning Tim Cook published an apology letter to all Apple fans for how horrible Apple Maps have been. Not only did he apologize, but he actually told users that they should try some alternatives while Apple fixes their mapping fiasco.

It’s great that Apple is taking responsibility for their shoddy work, but now that they’ve kicked Google Maps out of iOS 6, what are the best alternative? We took a quick look at the alternative map apps that Tim suggested, to find out which one you should use if you plan to ditch Apple Maps for a while. Here’s what we found out.

Waze

Which Of Apple’s Officially Recommended Third-Party Mapping Apps Is Best For You? [Round-Up]

The best part about Waze is that it tries to make driving more like a game. It wants you to get from point A to point B as fast as legally possible, but because of traffic, accidents, and road construction, the fastest route changes everyday. Waze uses real-time user data to let you know the fastest routes. Users can report when they see an accident, police, hazard, or traffic camera and earn points. The app automatically detects when you’ve slowed down in traffic and updates their database with your information.

The frustrating thing about Waze is the viewing angle of the maps. Rather than a top down view, you look at your area at an angle kind of like on Apple’s 3D flyover view, except there’s no 3D buildings. The turn-by-turn navigation on Waze works better than most. It’s a fun app that doesn’t seem to take itself too seriously, but that’s also its flaw.

The entire app looks a little bit too cartoony for us to want to use it everyday as our dedicated maps app. It’s a great way to find the fastest route to work, but not a great way to explore a new city and find interesting places.

Verdict: Best Mapping App To Get You There Ontime

Bing Maps

Which Of Apple’s Officially Recommended Third-Party Mapping Apps Is Best For You? [Round-Up]

A lot of people really love Bing Maps and think that it’s one of the best Google Maps alternatives available, but to be honest we kind of hate it. Our biggest gripe with Bing Maps is that it just looks ugly and confusing. When you get directions to a location half the screen space is occupied with a textual guide while the other half is a small map, and there’s no way to enlarge either option.

The actual maps themselves look like something created in the late 90’s while the app’s UI looks clean and modern, makes for an odd mixture that we don’t particularly care for. Bing Maps doesn’t have a lot of frills. There’s no turn-by-turn navigation but they do have transit data. There’s really no compelling reason to use Bing Maps over any of the alternatives because it doesn’t have a killer feature or impressive interface that makes you want to use it.

Verdict: Best Mapping App For Making You Frustrated

MapQuest

Which Of Apple’s Officially Recommended Third-Party Mapping Apps Is Best For You? [Round-Up]

Before Google Maps became everyone’s go-to mapping solution, there was MapQuest. The mapping company is still going strong and their app is pretty solid and packed with a lot of features. It’s got turn-by-turn voice navigation and traffic data. It also has a bar at the bottom of the app that you can use to reveal nearby hotels, restaurants, gas stations, bars, shopping malls, theaters, and much more. Other apps have something similar to this, but with MapQuest it’s so easily accessible that we think they have the best implementation.

Searching for general locations like “Chase Field” or “Papago Park” on MapQuest doesn’t bring up the specific location you’re looking like it would on Google Maps or even Apple Maps, so you’ll need specific addresses when using MapQuest or know the general location of a place. MapQuest has so much data from years in the map business that you’ll likely get the correct destination you search for. The continuous ads on MapQuest are pretty annoying, but with so many features and a huge database of information MapQuest beats most competitors.

Verdict: Best Overall Maps Replacement

Google Maps (web app)

Which Of Apple’s Officially Recommended Third-Party Mapping Apps Is Best For You? [Round-Up]

Even though the native Google Maps app is gone, that doesn’t mean you can’t get Google Maps on your iPhone. Adding Google Maps as a bookmark on your homepage works really well and you still get a lot of the same features that came with the Google Maps iOS app. Street View’s not available or turn-by-turn navigation, but it’s one of the best ways to and get public transit directions and search for locations.

The web app is actually very responsive, and even though the UI changes will take a little getting used to, the Google Maps web app should feel natural to longtime iOS users. The only problem with the Google Maps web app is that it’s a web app and you’ll have to have a strong cellular or wi-fi connection to use it, so it’s not ready to be your dedicated maps app until Google releases a native iOS version.

Verdict: Best Mapping Web App

Nokia Maps (web app)

Which Of Apple’s Officially Recommended Third-Party Mapping Apps Is Best For You? [Round-Up]

Nokia’s web maps solution puts up a great fight against Google Maps. Search on Nokia Maps works really well and the app only displays information that you need, unlike a lot of alternatives. The maps have real-time traffic data and public transit information just like Google Maps, but there’s no turn-by-turn navigation here either. The interface is clean and easy to understand, even if it’s not the prettiest of UIs we’ve seen.

Nokia’s Maps app is very basic and simple, which is actually all you really need to get from point A to point B. We think Nokia Maps might be the easiest Maps app to use for most people even if it’s UI isn’t that exciting, but it doesn’t do anything better than Google Maps.

Verdict: Best Mapping App To Try Something New

Conclusion:

When you look at the competition Apple Maps really don’t look that bad – apart from the horrendous amount of errors in their data. If you’re going to go with an alternative app though we’d recommend MapQuest as the best native iOS app because of the amount of information and features packed into the app. However, when you have a data connection, Google Maps web app is still probably the best overall.

Related
  • FriarNurgle

    I recommend Navigon.

  • Robert X

    Apple Maps works great for me. So I am sticking with it.

  • gettysburg11s

    I really like Apple Maps, and the turn by turn navigation works great. That being said, I really like Mapquest too. I wish they made a version without Ads. I’d pay 99 cents or even 1.99 for getting rid of the Ads.

  • Jonathan Ober

    mapquest is my alternative, though I haven’t had issue with Apple maps, yet.

  • Buster

    @gettysburg11s I agree. MapQuest has a solid app but the ads are so annoying. It’s like, Geez, lemme pay you to take these ads away. I actually never have problems with Apple Maps in Phoenix, but maybe that’s because our streets are on a grid, making everything super easy to find.

  • vazana1979

    wazeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

  • ElVox

    a) You can have Waze in 2D mode, just click the menu, settings, 2D and it’s just your regular top-down map like any other.
    b) Waze has an advantage over every other native app in this list…it’s available internationally. Mapquest and Bing aren’t…the web apps are available, tho.
    c) Waze has worked great for me in .mx for the last 2 years, with turn-by-turn and all…rarely gets a wrong destination or direction, much better than google maps ever worked here in Monterrey.

  • Mahler12x

    I’ve been using Maps ALL OVER the Bay Area using Siri and turn-by-turn and it’s functioned to PERFECTION so far. I use navigation constantly and coming from TomTom, I gotta say the iPhone 5 has been a fucking godsend. Tell Siri “Take me to…” and I’m on my way. It’s never made a mistake yet and I use it several times a day.

    I haven’t even bothered nor thought to bother putting TomTom or Navigon back on my phone!

  • Blake_Erickson

    MapQuest not available in the Australian app store – anyone outside the United States found a decent alternative?

  • technochick

    Nice job exaggerating what the letter said

  • Luxlamf

    Google MAps never worked on my IOS devices, yes it told me how fr away and a route but as far as helpful while driving? Never, especially on my motorbike. Waze is the best I have come across, especially on the motorbike with ear buds plugged in. Tells you turns, traffic, cops etc…

  • Bob Smogango

    I haven’t found any errors with Apple Maps and when I do get directions, it displays typically 3 routes to choose from for many of the searches I have done and so far, I have no complaints.

    I remember when MapQuest and Google Maps first came out as internet web site based apps and they had much more problems, but I don’t remember any major articles being written about it.

    I just think some of these journalists are either too nit picky or just jealous of Apple and are afraid to discuss bigger problems with Windows and Android based products they have been promoting because the want more choices of cheaper quality products.

    I just wish Apple was in a position to offer two sized iPhone 5′s. One for those that want the slimmer product and for those that want the larger 5 inch screen product. That way they give people a choice in two distinct size categories and allow alternatives. Also, I would be in favor of Apple not using anodizing. Instead, I think they should be using PVD coated cases.

  • Bob Smogango

    Isn’t Google forcing people to jailbreak their iPhone in order to use it? If so, isn’t that kind of stupid? Doesn’t jailbreaking violate Apple’s warranty? Maybe Google’s new Maps program wouldn’t pass Apple’s certification process.

  • Bob Smogango

    So how come no one is complaining about Siri in iOS 6? i guess the final non-beta release works. And the media hasn’t given them credit for it working.

    The journalists that write about technology typically don’t have much of a background in technology in the first place. But they are trained by their editors to come up with articles and headlines that get people’s attention and typically are misleading the consumer because their main objective is to get readers to read their papers so they can get more advertising revenue.

  • Bob Smogango

    I’ve been using Maps ALL OVER the Bay Area using Siri and turn-by-turn and it’s functioned to PERFECTION so far. I use navigation constantly and coming from TomTom, I gotta say the iPhone 5 has been a fucking godsend. Tell Siri “Take me to…” and I’m on my way. It’s never made a mistake yet and I use it several times a day.

    I haven’t even bothered nor thought to bother putting TomTom or Navigon back on my phone!

    Sounds like Siri has been fixed. I wonder why the media isn’t covering that.

    I find Safari in iOS 6 to be MUCH faster. As much as I would like more features, I think iOS 6 was a decent release.

  • Bob Smogango

    I’ve been using Maps ALL OVER the Bay Area using Siri and turn-by-turn and it’s functioned to PERFECTION so far. I use navigation constantly and coming from TomTom, I gotta say the iPhone 5 has been a fucking godsend. Tell Siri “Take me to…” and I’m on my way. It’s never made a mistake yet and I use it several times a day.

    I haven’t even bothered nor thought to bother putting TomTom or Navigon back on my phone!

    Sounds like Siri has been fixed. I wonder why the media isn’t covering that.

    I find Safari in iOS 6 to be MUCH faster. As much as I would like more features, I think iOS 6 was a decent release.

  • hary536

    I use Scout by TeleNav. Works better than Waze. Waze is sometimes distraction and also is not accurate. Finds longer routes than usual. Haven’t tried mapquest, but Scout has worked fine so far.

  • John S. Wilson

    This is an article you guys should have written before Tim Cook’s statement, instead of sitting around jumping on the bandwagon and acting as though there weren’t any map alternatives.

  • rsg1776

    For turn-by-turn directions I strongly recommend MotionX GPS Drive. It is far better than any other navigation app or dedicated GPS device out there. I have personally tested it against Magellan, Garmin, several in-car systems, and Google Maps on Android and it surpasses them all.

    If you need a top-down mapping program, I do like MapQuest, but I also recommend ArcGIS for the more advanced user. (http://www.esri.com/software/arcgis/smartphones) The ability to view USGS terrain maps as well as Bing, OpenStreetMap and many others, and to save your own custom overlays, is amazing!

    As for some folks’ gripes about Metro transportation info, there are dozens of great apps out there. During my visits to New York and Atlanta, I have NEVER used Google Maps for that info, and do not personally know anyone who has. Break you Google addiction, and you’ll find a brave new world of great apps to choose from!

About the author

Buster HeinBuster Hein is Cult of Mac's Social Media Editor. Hailing from Roswell, New Mexico, but now spending his days in Phoenix, Arizona, he wastes most of his time eating burritos and reading Spanish romance novels. Twitter: @bst3r.

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