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 504.

    "Google maps had much to improve when it first came along too!
    Or has everyone forgotten that?"
    A naive comment at best. When Google Maps was in its infancy, it arguably had little well-known competition so the situation with Apple Maps is different in the sense that with a well-known competitor that provides a pretty decent service, Apple had to up its game from the start.

  • rate this

    Comment number 503.

    ....and this is a news item because?

  • rate this

    Comment number 502.

    No IOS 6 for me..... it has other serious bugs other than the embarrassment of Apple Maps...hurry up Nokia 920.

    Apple are treating their customers with even more contempt and complacency than usual. I can forgive that when things work but this is a sick joke.

  • rate this

    Comment number 501.

    Apple is already fighting suppliers of Android phones - though usually in the courts - and now they have scored this extraordinary own goal, helping their own competitors.

    This app is far worse than old generations of GPS devices for cars.

    Who on earth thought this was a good idea?

  • rate this

    Comment number 500.

    im neither for or against apple. I buy a phone like i buy anything else, is it good value and does it do what i want it too?
    so i have to ask those that have the 5..

    "I bought an iPhone 5 Because "???"

    I previously had a 3gs, now an s2. the s3 is leaps ahead of the s2 yet I see little difference from the iPhone 3 to the 5, let alone the 4 to the 5

    where is the innovation worthy of £500+?

  • rate this

    Comment number 499.

    I was (un)lucky enough to get a preview of the maps app a while before release. And it truly has been awful. There are some great parts, when checking out things around major cities. But about 90% of it is poor.

    Google maps app worked perfectly and integrated extremely well with Safari. Why did they fix something that wasnt broken.

    They'll get it right eventually with updates but still - WHY?

  • rate this

    Comment number 498.

    So let's see... a phone that supports 4G, but not in the UK. A talking helper than has no idea about places outside the US. A sealed-in battery (remember the iPod?). And maps that don't actually work. Just why is Apple's share price so high? Ah yes, it must be the extra income due to its offshore tax avoidance methods.

  • rate this

    Comment number 497.

    Google Maps and especially StreetView formed a large part of my IPad use.

    How I wish I had not done the downgrade.

    If Apple want to fight their war with competitors, at least give us the opportunity to get off the Apple train and revert to IOS 5. I would rather be stuck with what I had in IOS 5 land, than be cannon fodder for Apple in their vendettas.

  • rate this

    Comment number 496.

    Maps are great. And I get my new iPhone 5 in the morning. I can't wait.

  • rate this

    Comment number 495.

    Nokia promoted back to the premier league - about time (thanks Apple). 920 is well designed, fully featured and runs a good OS.

    Droids dominate the middle order with several standouts. Apple sits on the precipice of relegation; stand over tactics, no sense of fair play and an empty bench will seal the deal.

    Ppl forget how quickly the silicon sands move…. they will bury Apple again!

  • rate this

    Comment number 494.

    New Maps are lacking many road numbers (e.g. A62 is only shown by its various names, such as 'Oldham Road', and later 'Manchester Road'). Only motorways dual carriageways are marked with their correct number.

  • rate this

    Comment number 493.

    The link on the words 'screenshot showed a furniture museum' does not work; the Twitter account it links to has been suspended.

  • rate this

    Comment number 492.

    Wow, I think this could really damage apple. You cool iPhone dudes will not look so cool now!

    With all the legal battles going on, the sleeping giant is waking. Microsoft has kept its head down and done something different.

    If you've not tried windows phone yet, try it..

  • rate this

    Comment number 491.


    Spending a fortune on your legal team and peanuts on R&D doesn't seem to be a clever business plan"

    But it looks really nice, that's what matters!

  • rate this

    Comment number 490.

    16 Minutes ago

    These things take time to iron out , give Apple some time to sort it out ( which they will ) People are too quick at complaining these days

    too quick to complain about something which costs a lot of money not working properly? so you advocate willfully wasting money then, or even just putting up with sub-standard service? at that price it should work!

  • rate this

    Comment number 489.

    I think people need to calm down and realise that since the maps are delivered in real time, they can be fixed without having to update the OS, and I'm sure the dataset will only get better over time. In my use of it, it seems good but if I was living in an area which was not as well covered, I can see how it might be a problem for a short time before it is fixed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 488.

    Well Apple can stick their ios6 until this is sorted - its probably my most used function on my iphone and I'm not pandering to their google-phobia

  • rate this

    Comment number 487.


  • rate this

    Comment number 486.

    The only thing better on the maps is the roadworks notification, with traffic, the look of the maps and satellite (j/k) being awful

    Hope google get an app out soon or apple pull their finger out and sort this out.

  • Comment number 485.

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


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