Pretty, Fast And Accurate, Maps+ Completely Fixes Utterly Broken iOS 6 Maps

Pretty, Fast And Accurate, Maps+ Completely Fixes Utterly Broken iOS 6 Maps

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.

  • brianhh

    You are so so sad, everything takes time, including growing up. So please whats so wonderful about Google, even they get it wrong. Apple maps are amazing, clear and in time everyone will be begging Apple

  • Whodakat

    Perfect? No. Utterly broken? Please. Sensationalistic headline to attract people? Most definitely.

  • Jdsonice

    I think your description of iOS6 maps is a little dramatic and untrue. I have been using the iOS6 maps since they became available and so far I have not found anything wrong with them. My usage is limited so the chances are that I have not most of the horror conditions.

    Having said that, while there is room for improvement, I don’t think that iOS6 maps deserve the epithets you have bestowed on them.

    Also, another website reviewed Maps+ and pointed out several issues. Plus to use full functionality of the applications requires an in-app purchase of $1.99.

  • mr_bee

    I have no idea why the author would think this confusing mish-mash is actually a good app, but in reply to those criticising his take down of Apple maps …

    Did it ever occur to you that the world is a big place and that Apple’s maps data might be great in your city but not somewhere else? It’s well-known for instance that the minute you leave the continental US, Apple’s maps data falls from “reasonably accurate” to “total shit.”

    I live in a huge city in Canada and Apple’s maps is completely unusable for me. It doesn’t show accurate streets, or parks (in fact according to Apple, I live in the middle of a park), it has no transit directions, no bus routes, no bike routes and in some instances one-way streets that have been in existence for over 40 years aren’t marked as such.

    On downtown streets that are literally *lined* with restaurants on both sides, it shows maybe two or three out of every dozen or so (if you get the name exactly right in the search). Most likely these are the few restaurants that happen to be on “Yelp.”

  • Ramasun

    Grow up. Write about something that has not been beat to death

  • Shane Bryson

    How much did you get paid to write this? That maps app is GARBAGE.

  • derekchad

    Stop pushing mapgate. It’s not happening.

  • Steven King

    I`m no Apple fan boy so when I say you`re way over the top with the iOS Maps hyperbole it’s not my bias, it`s yours.

    I`ve had not single problem with iOS maps nor has anyone in my area I know.

    In fact for me it`s a vast improvement over Google Maps on iOS which was utterly useless to someone who was actually driving somewhere.

    The old Maps app sat in my “Trash” folder for years while I used the $50.00 TomTom app I had to buy just to get turn by turn on my phone.

    After a year of reading Cult of Mac it`s pretty clear to me I need to move it to the “Comedy” section of my news reader.

  • Steven King

    Maps+ has a 2.5 star user review rating and serious complaints all over the reviews.

    How much did the developer pay your for this review again?

  • Ebernet

    Apple maps and the ability to send routing endpoints to a 3rd party app (specifically, bike routing apps that depend on Google Maps for biking directions) provide much better end to end solutions than either iOS 5 Google Maps and this app, Maps+, provide. Bike routing was never available in Google Maps on iOS, now it is, so I don’t see how you can argue that you “lost” something in the move….

  • Len Williams

    Like so many other commenters, my iOS 6 Maps experience has been absolutely terrific in Clearwater, Florida (just across the bay from Tampa). I’ve used it several times to find places and it worked flawlessly. Yes, I use it in the car not on my bicycle, so there may be some difference if I’m not riding directly on roads. I was absolutely delighted by the clean map images, the spoken turn by turn instructions (in Siri’s very nice voice) and the very visible signs on the screen. I place my iPhone 4S conveniently in the niche that contains the speedometer and tachometer and I can read everything easily while glancing at my speed. Quite fortunately I’m not experiencing ANY of the problems I’ve heard about. I don’t doubt that these problems exist, but it should be known that Apple Maps doesn’t suck in my home town.

  • dmarcoot

    Calling iOS maps “utterly broken” is utter BS. The map works perfect here in baltimore and I couldn’t be happier with turn by turn, which Google withheld from their crippled map for iOS.

  • Deepak K Tibrewal

    I live in Bangalore and I am a fanboy. Yet, I must admit Apple map will need more time to mature and be usable even in a place as popular as Bangalore. But I am not complaining because I did not expect them to be good to begin with since it takes time as Google has taken. Till then Google map Alternatingly is just fine.

  • fjose1929

    Baloney.

    Since you come down hard on imap why not post the routes you claim are utterly broken. I dare you to do so, so we can verify the truth. If not I woul say Steven king has some truth in what he says. Is this payola?

  • Mach Concorde

    What a rant! Utterly broken? I found it quite accurate with roads in the UK. When it makes mistakes it is usually search queries of some landmark which is labelled correctly on the map itself but puts the pin in the wrong place. It is true that there are some areas of the world not well covered, but it will improve with time. But to say that apple maps is utterly broken is hyperbole. Agreed your milage may vary, but milage varies with google maps as well. What is so good about Google maps? Over the years with help from you and me, it has become more accurate, same way apple maps is going to become. Even now google maps makes unbelievable mistakes …. a UK postcode is shown as in the USA! I love the quick downloading and the turn by turn navigation in the new maps and willing to contribute to make the data better.

  • Mach Concorde

    And one more thing, if the author feels so vexed about the apple maps, and wants google maps so badly, why not just buy an android phone and be done with it.

  • bubba123

    They axed transit maps in NYC… I had a first gen iPhone, I planned a route to JFK airport using mass transit for part of it. Landed in London, bought a weeks worth of BT wifi and mapped my transit route to my hotel and back using transit. I was never lost once for a week in a city I had never been to. It was amazing. I told everyone who asked about my phone how amazing it was for years. I switched from PC to Mac because of that trip.

    My iPhone and iPad now don’t show me there is a Subway Station two blocks away… I just heard the train pull out.

    This is a critical feature, crippled. I returned my iPhone 5 and went back to my iPhone 4. I’m seriously considering an Android phone. My sister works for Apple. She told me earlier this year that in two years, Apple will be a completely different place. From the outside looking in, I think we can all see that already happening.

  • extra_medium

    What a rant! Utterly broken? I found it quite accurate with roads in the UK. When it makes mistakes it is usually search queries of some landmark which is labelled correctly on the map itself but puts the pin in the wrong place. It is true that there are some areas of the world not well covered, but it will improve with time. But to say that apple maps is utterly broken is hyperbole. Agreed your milage may vary, but milage varies with google maps as well. What is so good about Google maps? Over the years with help from you and me, it has become more accurate, same way apple maps is going to become. Even now google maps makes unbelievable mistakes …. a UK postcode is shown as in the USA! I love the quick downloading and the turn by turn navigation in the new maps and willing to contribute to make the data better.

    I love the knee-jerk automatic defense of anything apple that happens on blogs like these. It doesn’t matter how much you love maps.. the author is having problems with it and is presenting a good alternative for those who are having similar issues. Some people don’t have time to ohh and ahh at the pretty new interface and patiently help them get their data right, as we need nav daily for actual necessary tasks.

    If you’re doing fine with it, ignore the article and move on. Apple will do fine without your poorly written posts in their defense.

  • Brianna Wu

    I have to say, John Brownlee. I live right here in Boston, and I personally have not found iOS 6 maps to be “completely and utterly broken” at all. In fact, I’ve found it to be a mostly a step up, because of turn by turn directions. I’m not denying that you’ve had trouble, but I think your claims would come off as more credible if they weren’t so hysterically worded.

  • tweetallulike

    My hopes rose on seeing this article, then sank again. Currently have 3 IOS 5 devices that cannot be upgraded to IOS 6 due to the loss of Google Maps.

    I most especially rate the Walking, Public Transport and Compass support of the IOS 5 Google Maps system. Public Transport must have take a long time to get right as it works in may European countries. It will even walk you to the nearest subway station aided by the compass.

    Maps+ does not have the above.
    Stuck with IOS 5.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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