I despise iOS 6 Maps. Despite writing some initially favorable early impressions that now seem like they were written by a slathering moron demon who temporarily possessed my soul, ever since iOS 6 has been released, I have been frustrated by a fail rate on iOS 6 Maps that hovers somewhere around 70%. Not only can I most of the time not get iOS 6 Maps to give me a correct answer to a search query, I usually can’t get it to give me the same wrong answer twice in a row.
I realize a lot of people think iOS 6 Maps is just fine. Some of these are people I respect. I have a hard time reconciling their views on the matter with my reality. I have my suspicions that people who think iOS 6 Maps is just fine commute everywhere in their cars, and have a set pattern of destinations that rarely change: point A to point B to point C. I bike everywhere, I’m constantly going to new addresses, and for me, iOS 6 is just an utter disaster.
I yearn for the return of Google Maps to iOS 6, but I find their web app to be wanting, and most of the maps competition to be slow, ugly and just as bad as iOS 6 Maps when it comes to walking and biking instructions. Up until now, Mapquest (!) was the best app I found for getting me where I’m going.
That’s all changed, now that I’ve discovered Maps+. It’s based off of Google Maps, so it’s accurate. It uses the same tileset as iOS 5 Maps, so it’s pretty and familiar. It’s super fast, and it’s free.
Maps+ isn’t just like Google Maps under iOS 5 was, which has its perks and disadvantages. Maps+ gets its name from its shortcut system, which allows you to drop various “shortcut buttons” around the the map. The result is sleek and minimalist, but if you try to use Maps+ like you use Maps under iOS 6, you’ll be confused. You need to learn some new shortcuts.
Once you do, though, Maps+ has a lot of advantages over stock maps. For one thing, the data comes straight from Google’s API, which means the results aren’t a shit show. It also has built in bicycling directions, location-based alarms, the ability to check out the coordinates of your current location, the ability to check altitude, the ability to constantly scan the local area for nearby Tweets and more.
No, you don’t get Google Street View. I’ve literally never used Street View once in my life, so this isn’t a big deal, but your mileage may very well vary. Also missing, sadly, is public transport directions, so you’ll need to supplement Maps+ with a transit app. Then again, you need to do that with iOS 6 Maps too.
Maps+ isn’t perfect, but it’s the closest thing to native Google Maps on iOS 6 that you can get right now. It’s a fantastic app that, unlike every other maps app I’ve tried under iOS 6, I can recommend without hesitation. It’s also free, although if you pay $2.99 you get access to more advanced features like bookmarks, multiple lables, alarms and pins and more.
Sick of waiting for Google to release their own Maps app? Maps+ will get you through the sweats.