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 444.

    You have a phone, why not call ahead and ask for directions? Alternatively OS Maps are very good and a lot cheaper that IPhones

  • rate this

    Comment number 443.

    @ 434 dinodaly.

    erm...i think you mean someone else. either that or i REALLY am missing the point, cause that has nothing to do with my comment about over reliance on modern technology. lol.

  • rate this

    Comment number 442.

    > try installing new hardware in a mac. £900 for five years, then its out of >date (low ram, needs to be sent away for upgrade). hardly quality

    That's odd, I just bought RAM from Crucial, flipped my laptop over, removed 2 screws and installed the RAM. This is in a 2008 Macbook Pro. I even replaced the hard disc.

    I suspect 90+% of people don't bother doing any upgrades.

  • rate this

    Comment number 441.

    I bet the maps are brilliant over the USA just as Siri is for them, still cant really do anything for us for here in the UK. Why would they "forget" about the rest of the world? Crazy Apple marketing, reminds me of new versions of wndows being rushed out even though they are always full of bugs, but people will still be buying iphone 5's by the bucket load becuase the faults make it cool.

  • rate this

    Comment number 440.

    I'm not surprised. Apple haven't been anywhere as innovative since Steve passed away. Fancy thinking integrating Facebook and Twitter into everything IoS is innovative (or even wanted by some). I bet Steve turns in his grave with every new IPhone/IOS related launch. Haven't upgraded since 3GS and don't intend to until something really new and useful comes along.

  • rate this

    Comment number 439.

    @354 -> Blame Google?
    Are you sure blaming someone who does it right is the best thing to do? I know that is the Apple way - but Lord knows who they will sue for the patent of wrong maps... God forbid there is a map out there with everything in the wrong place - it will cost them a $1bn like Samsung.

  • rate this

    Comment number 438.

    My town of Great Dunmow in Essex won't zoom in beyond an area of about 20 sq miles - it just disappears into a grid and some 'No Entry' signs. Hopeless.

    So thanks Apple for removing a perfectly functioning app and replacing it with something as good as useless. Thank goodness my contract is up and I haven't ordered the iPhone 5; that Samsung Galaxy S3 looks really rather good. And cheap.

  • rate this

    Comment number 437.

    haha suckers thats what you get when you spend a stupid ammount of money on a brand rather than a product.

  • rate this

    Comment number 436.

    On the old Google Maps, asking for directions with public transport was a simple and accurate route planner.

    When using directions in the new app, if you click on the Public Transport option it brings up a list suggested apps to give you the route.....with the top suggested app being Navicon and costing...


    !!!!!!! What the heck Apple!!!!!! Epic fail

  • rate this

    Comment number 435.

    Oh dear, all is not green in the Apple Uptopia...never mind.

    I don't care for Apple, they were cool at one time, now they just want to squeeze you for your cash if you're foolish enough to part with it.

    Eg. new docking connector at £25 a pop....old was not good enough.'s not broken but we'll fix it anyway.

  • rate this

    Comment number 434.

    You are completely missing the point, the iphone 5 is an update therefore all aspects of the device should work better, this just plainly is not the case. Some say samsung copied the iphone, well they appeared to have made it better, apple just copied google maps and inspite of thier penchant for innovation have added nothing but clouds and hide and seek just remember taller,thiner, faster

  • rate this

    Comment number 433.

    # 412 Shivari:
    Is ROFLMAO on the map? Or under a cloud? ;)~

  • rate this

    Comment number 432.

    @ Kevin Morice - Why would Google want to rush out and create a map app for Apple devices? Apple dropped Google's mapping services and Google want to promote their stuff for Android devices. Creating an app for the competition makes no sense. Would Apple make a Facetime app for Android? I don't think so.

  • rate this

    Comment number 431.

    Wow, that joke comment got censored. Geesh. Someone out there needs to get a sense of humour. Just don't use this app to find it.

  • Comment number 430.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 429.

    I usually really like Apple, I think they make great products etc etc, but this new Maps app deserves to rot away in a rubbish bin.
    The satellite imagery is AWFUL, it get my local Waitrose on the wrong road, it can't find my train station...
    I just hope Google will release another version on there map app onto the App Store. For now, I'll just use gMaps on the web.

  • rate this

    Comment number 428.

    I'm not sure what everybody else is using, but I love the maps app. In London it works splendidly and I love the 3D buildings. The Siri integration is the icing on the cake, but for any wrong data, I'm sure Apple will be more prompt than Google to fix it as the potential for embarassment is high otherwise.

  • rate this

    Comment number 427.

    I know this is a report about Apple's iOS update and the very poor Navigation App but the BBC reveals it's anti Windows Phone bias yet again. The only alternative offer or mentioned is Android, what about Nokia Windows Phone Drive app probably the best smart phone navigation app out there. BBC there are other smart phones make sure you support all platforms equally.

  • rate this

    Comment number 426.

    Your earlier example of "Dudley" on the border of rural Worcestershire was bang on top of our business location which is within a conservation area. The thought of a potential visitor, a potential customer following signs to Dudley as result is a tad concerning to say the least! We already have to guide them in on the phone with out this extra confusion.This could cost our business money!

  • rate this

    Comment number 425.

    One thing I do like: the vector graphics scale beautifully and quickly.


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