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 684.

    Last time it struggled to work as a phone . This time it struggles to poduce a poor copy of Google maps . Poor i-Whatever Sheep . p.s. Yes Google maps etc. weren't perfect at first but how long ago was that .........?

  • rate this

    Comment number 683.

    So people are happy to spend +£529 on a phone that doesn't give you accurate mapping?! Its almost as bad as the incident where calls were dropped when people were 'holding it wrong'. Apple caved in and gave out free cases. Perhaps they will offer free A-Z maps this time?

  • rate this

    Comment number 682.

    Well I upgraded last night and for me in and around Bristol it works fine and the maps are great. Google maps of this area were at least 5 years out of date so the Apple maps are a refreshing improvement.

  • rate this

    Comment number 681.

    Hey appel is amrican, why do you expect UK maps to be accurate?

  • rate this

    Comment number 680.

    I think this shows apple is in decline. I got the new samsung galaxy. A far superior phone all round

  • rate this

    Comment number 679.

    This app is not fit for release and screws up some of the great ways of using an iphone or ipad. My first wto searches turned up a location not found and then gave me a location around 90 miles from where it really was. The search list recognised both names but failed on the location. Iamgery is poor plus, of course you lose street view.
    Big mistake Apple - downgrades the value of your device.

  • rate this

    Comment number 678.

    Why is this surprising to anyone if the data was supplied by TomTom? My satnav recommends I catch a ferry to work, 60 miles from the sea.

  • rate this

    Comment number 677.

    Totally unimpressed with the inaccuracies. The Tinto Firs Hotel, on the south side of Glasgow, which was demolished circa 2003, and is now a block of flats, is still showing up as a pin. Now I'm quite happy for companies to develop their own applications where they see the opportunity in the market, but I expect those products to be on a par at least with their competitors. Could do better!

  • rate this

    Comment number 676.

    Well what a turn up, I have purposely not updated the IOS system with just this concern in my mind. It seems Apple do what they like and do not provide what the user likes or wants, that is less important to them. I'm not happy with being forced to buy new hardware from Apple as they restrict access to previously working software like iTunes U. Now the free, excellent Gmaps is gone, bring it back!

  • rate this

    Comment number 675.

    Is it just me, or are Apple getting a bit complacent? "Ah let's just release it anyway - the phone'll still sell". Technology always has its flaws in the early days, but Apple's last few hardware releases have been downright shoddy. And their 'head in the sand' approach to customer feedback is bloody appalling.

  • rate this

    Comment number 674.

    Apple has failed once again. Rather than keep on using Google Maps, she is sitting on too much pride. Pride come before the fall as they say

  • rate this

    Comment number 673.

    For those thinking of not upgrading to IOS6 to avoid the mapping issue, Apple have offered encouragement by releasing the list of security vulnerabilities in IOS5 that they've previously not mentioned, stretching back to March 2011;

  • rate this

    Comment number 672.

    The map of central London is showing Aldwych station. Not only did it close in 1994, the iOS 6 maps shows it as being in the middle of Lincoln's Inn Fields...

  • rate this

    Comment number 671.

    The new Maps App is simply not fit-for-purpose in my opinion. The basic design of the maps is unclear, roads are not always labelled with their A or B numbers and the colouring is not as clear as it is in Google Maps. The maps are full of basic factual inaccuracies and errors: Aldridge Airport?and the satellite imagery is either outdated and/or of poorer quality and takes much longer to render

  • rate this

    Comment number 670.


    I am genuinely happy to hear from a proper 'rocket scientist' especially when they speak so much sense..!

    Well said Sir...

  • rate this

    Comment number 669.

    Apple spent years slagging Microsoft as "wanting to rule the world" and "keeping them out" Since the Iphone and pad I'd say they have behaved as bad I'm afraid with similar " controls" I had to have a wry smile at this.
    3 iphones in our household NOT mine though

  • rate this

    Comment number 668.

    As a professional geographer and cartographer involved with the original development of the actual "moving map" patent and GPS (in other words, a US RD scientist formerly with NASA/DOD), I can say that the Apple map "app" is an abomination - one doesn't start a mapping effort overnight and Google - to give them their due - have accrued a lot of imagery and experience for years.

  • rate this

    Comment number 667.

    I agree the satellite images are really poor in some areas. However, I remember google maps being just as bad a couple of years ago. This is a new product that will get better in time. I have faith in Apple to put it right in the future.

  • rate this

    Comment number 666.

    Get a life all of you. The Ordnance Survey do very good maps.

  • rate this

    Comment number 665.

    Me apple has got a maggot in it.
    The beeb reported.


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