New Apple maps app under fire from users


Rory Cellan-Jones compares Apple's new map app with Google maps

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Inaccuracies and misplaced towns and cities in Apple's new map software have provoked anger from users.

In June Apple announced it would stop using Google Maps in favour of its own system, created using data from navigation firm TomTom and others.

Apple is yet to comment on the complaints about the software, which comes already installed on the new iPhone.

TomTom said it provided only data and was not responsible for how it worked.

The software is packaged with iOS6, the latest version of Apple's operating system, which runs on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

Previously, the system had an app running mapping software from Google.

But users are now forced to use Apple's new maps once they upgrade or buy the latest iPhone - which goes on sale on Friday.

There is not currently a Google Maps app available in Apple's App Store, although Google's system is still accessible via the phone's web browser.

Museum in river

Among the user complaints regarding Apple's maps sent to the BBC were:

Screenshots of satellite coverage in Dingwall Users have complained about the quality of satellite images in the new software (bottom)
  • Some towns appear to be missing, such as Stratford-upon-Avon and Solihull.
  • Others, like Uckfield in East Sussex, are in the wrong location.
  • Satellite images of various locations, particularly in Scotland, are obscured by cloud.
  • A search for Manchester United Football Club directs users to Sale United Football Club, a community team for ages five and above.
  • Users also reported missing local places, such as schools, or strange locations. Another screenshot showed a furniture museum that was apparently located in a river.

The Twitter account which posted the screenshot, @fake_iOS6maps, has since been suspended.

TomTom, which also licenses data to a range of other mobile manufacturers, defended its involvement.

A spokesman told the BBC that its maps provided only a "foundation" to the service.

"The user experience is determined by adding additional features to the map application such as visual imagery," a spokesman said.

"User experience fully depends on the choices these manufacturers make.

"We are confident about our map quality, as selling 65 million portable navigation devices across the world and more than 1.4m TomTom apps for iPhone in the past two years reaffirms this quality."

Prior to the release of iOS6, several developers had expressed concerns over the capability of the mapping app, in particular its ability to find businesses via search.

Spot the difference

"This is incredibly different from using Google Maps," one Denver-based blogger wrote on 13 September.

"It's a tremendous step backwards and something that cripples iOS for Apple's customers.

"I [searched] 'iPhone Repair' and 'iPad Repair' since that's relevant to our business. The results broke my heart.

"All of the work I've put into our local recognition is completely gone."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 264.

    240. tomhughes
    "Sorry WHAT? Street view was never in the IOS version of maps, what a ridiculous statement for an editor's pick. I don't even like apple but this is just plain stupidity, goodness me."

    Sorry WHAT? I think you'll find it was. Just plain stupidity, goodness me.

  • rate this

    Comment number 263.

    It's ok to drop one thing if you clearly have something better to replace it but this is all about Apple not wanting to admit Google do it better. It does nothing to help the consumer and we, after all should be the prime consideration. By the way I use an iMac at home and a Samsung Galaxy S3 and the Galaxy Tab 10.1 when i am out and about. Apple should have sorted it before jumping from google.

  • rate this

    Comment number 262.

    People against Apple are just as petty as those for it, the whole rivalry is pathetic really, spend your time arguing about something worthwhile.

  • rate this

    Comment number 261.

    Had nightmare with the new maps today. Couldn't recognise tube stations. Compass all over the place. Was never this bad!

    Still no Nokia style "profiles" - "Work", "Home", "Meeting" etc with custom settings for each. Instead, you still have to jump through hoops to turn 3G, Location Services, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth etc on and off...

    For the first time since I got one, considering something else...

  • rate this

    Comment number 260.


    > There was a time when you could rely on the BBC for unbiased and accurate articles based on fact.

    > How times have changed. The BBC are blatantly anti Apple and any item regarding Apple will be overly critical and have no balance.

    You've obviously not read any articles by Rory Cellen-Jones...

  • rate this

    Comment number 259.

    Surprised the BBC put this story up; is the honeymoon over now?

  • rate this

    Comment number 258.

    240. tomhughes

    erm streetview was in the ios version... get your facts right

  • rate this

    Comment number 257.

    Why is it that stupid people insist on buying expensive smart phones?

    A fool with a tool is still a fool.

  • rate this

    Comment number 256.

    Give Apple time....with updates, I'm sure the map app will get better.
    I'm an android user and love google maps, but I wouldn't want any one provider to dominate.

  • rate this

    Comment number 255.

    I had hoped that when the BBC finally grew out of just automatically exalting everything Apple did it would leave room for actual tech reporting. I seem to have been wrong. Shame.

  • rate this

    Comment number 254.

    I'm pleased to see a return of my local Woolworths, but unnerved about the sudden disappearance of my Tube station.

    This is bound to happen though as maps have so much detail and Google has years ahead. I hope Apple allow a competitors app to be approved in the store.

  • rate this

    Comment number 253.

    @240.tomhughes Yes it was, in fact IS right now as I look at my non-updated 3GS.... Not sure the Ed is the one evidencing stupidity.

  • rate this

    Comment number 252.

    >Apple fanboys (and girls) may be upset at losing Google Maps but they >will still buy the phone and future versions

    Funny, I get called a fanboy but I'm on a Nokia Lumia 800 and will be getting the 920 next. A fanboy is someone who doesn't consider alternatives, this applies to Android phone users too who are following everything Google does despite a lot of it being rubbish (eg. Google+).

  • rate this

    Comment number 251.

    New Apple map app is rubbish for south Buckinghamshire - satellite views are blurred and inconsistent quality compared to previous Google maps. Apple maps are darker, unclear and range from poor to very poor. They are like the Google maps of several years ago. How can I replace my app with the old iPad map app?

  • rate this

    Comment number 250.

    @#19 Under-used
    "I don't see how this is any different from Microsoft's anti-competitive practises with their web browser. So why are Apple not being investigated for their closed off and draconian services?"

    I do see a difference. You could still allow Microsoft browser to download Firefox, opera etc, but Apple are forcing you to only use their map service. It makes Apples case worse in my eyes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 249.

    It's terrible! Blurry, difficult to use and out of date - it's the first time I've seriously considered leaving iPhone since it first came out. Maps is a huge part of my smartphone & Apple has dropped the ball massively.

    To get United wrong - arguably the biggest sporting club in the world - illustrates the farcical nature of it all

    Will Apple repsond? Will they heck

  • rate this

    Comment number 248.

    As the old adage says - if it aint broke ...

    What surprises me is the number of people on here that have been criticising unibody designs. Unless you run a business and need a spare battery on charge, you should never need to change the battery on your phone or even change the memory card. All too often I've seen someone drop their phone, scattering the contents when the back springs open.

  • rate this

    Comment number 247.

    Is it Feb 2013 the Galaxy S4 is due?

  • rate this

    Comment number 246.

    The law suits said it all to me, that Apple was not going to release anything revolutionary. But whats this? I am still buying another iPhone? Why? Because I am in the Ecosystem now and to be honest I very much dislike the plasticky alternatives such as the S3. Once the Android / WoMo manufacturers get that hint I might switch. And for now I will download google maps from the app store on release.

  • rate this

    Comment number 245.

    I tend to use a paper map or print directions off my computer, but if Apple fans are complaining about it, there must be something wrong...


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