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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  • Comment number 664.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 663.

    To the people who are excusing this because it is a "new product" and will improve with later version. I thought we were talking about iOS 6 not iOS 1. This is not a new product with teething problems, it is just a cock-up. If it was not ready, why not release with the old Google based app and then introduce the TomTom based one in an update?

  • rate this

    Comment number 662.

    iOS 6 Maps are definitely a giant leap backwards, in their current state of UK coverage; looking at the view for around home, there are streets missing and photo resolution is way down from where Google are. "Grab copies of Google Earth and FreeNav from the App Store while they're hot", I say.

  • rate this

    Comment number 661.

    New maketting trick --- make something so awful that people will buy it to see for themselves what a waste of money it is???

  • rate this

    Comment number 660.

    614. William B

    " We don't need google to have a monopoly on maps."

    If Apple were about open standards rather than proprietary lock in systems and litigation, you might have a point.

  • rate this

    Comment number 659.

    Try looking for Walton on the Hill in Surrey on Google Maps - well you are wrong! its actually a few miles away in Walton on Thames! If the postcode map can get these things right how come Google & Apple and Tom Tom make such bad mistakes?

  • rate this

    Comment number 658.

    Oh I am so glad I didn't update my iPhone 4 or order the 5. What with no YouTube, Crapple Maps, Siri that is next to useless, a phone that only seems to have an apple logo going for it. This is the final straw I'm Back off to Nokia with its new windows 8 phone. This from someone with a mac an iPad and apple Tv's. I'll wait till the iPhone 6 or 7 in a couple of years ........or not. Poor Steve Jobs

  • rate this

    Comment number 657.

    @652 sleepygeek, I'm afraid that is rubbish.

    What restrictions have Google put in place on the map data provided to Apple exactly?
    I don't see them myself and never saw these restrictions with Google maps on my Nokia phone either but perhaps I'm not enough of a maps user to notice.
    This is just about Apple's monopolistic and anti-competitive greed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 656.

    Apparently Kensington Olympia doesnt exist and I cannot even see the tube stations on the maps. Getting small towns wrong and not examining the quality of all the images on a map could be forgiven as a lack of attention to detail, getting major landmarks wrong across a country is worse than laughable. I wouldnt even give this app 1 out of ten.

  • rate this

    Comment number 655.

    Has anybody tried the AppStore app on iOS 6. You can't scroll down on the reviews as pressing the 'More' button just doesn't work.

    It's diabolical - still at least the Android guys won't be copying this rot.

  • rate this

    Comment number 654.

    Well I come from Doncaster, South Yorkshire and guess what, its spelt Duncaster, not too happy with the data an mistakes, I'm sure Mr Jobs would have had something to say about this...

  • rate this

    Comment number 653.

    I think if apple made a crumble, the bee would open a comments page.

  • rate this

    Comment number 652.

    Business is war, and Google never allowed Apple unrestricted use of its map data. Apple had no choice but to introduce their own maps. When tens of millions of people start using such a large data set on the same day, there will inevitably be thousands of glitches found. It will be at least a year before the data gets anywhere near as error free as Google's long established maps.

  • rate this

    Comment number 651.

    Every empire will crumble eventually...

    Apple Crumble anybody?

  • rate this

    Comment number 650.


    It's not about saving money, it's about making more money. Maps are the context for a huge advertising revenue stream and Apple want to control it for themselves on iPhones. I'd be surprised if Google Maps ever made it back onto the iPhone as good as it was before as it won't have the integrations to other apps as tightly. Apple won't allow it surely as it threatens Apple Maps.

  • rate this

    Comment number 649.

    The screen shot above for "Tickhill" is already out of date, although the satellite image is still very low quality there are a lot more small streets added to that area now, so I guess it won't be that long until these gaps are filled

  • rate this

    Comment number 648.

    Just now somewhere in the world the team that developed this are preparing to justify their continued employment - bucks are being passed and goats located. And unfortunately the system and people responsible for ordering this in this way (intentionally or not, replace a product that worked and users where happy with something of a much lower quality) will almost certainly survive...

  • rate this

    Comment number 647.

    What on earth were thy thinking doing this? A company, that charges what it does for supposedly the best phones, always saying that it only wants the very best for its consumers, releasing a phone software full of bugs with unfinished features. Fine it fixes a load of stuff that was broken since iOS 5 but Google is the best. Apple cannot catch up. Thinking they an is illogical.

  • rate this

    Comment number 646.

    I knew it looked worse than Google Maps but only looked at it for a few seconds earlier. Just tested it as a sat nav on a route I know to see what it's like and it's useless. Seems like every change in iOS 6 is a downgrade. Very strange, Apple must be saving a fortune because I can't see any other explanation for it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 645.

    This time Apple haven't upset a large corporate like Samsung. Instead they have upset their own loyal user base ...that is damage they cant fix with law suits and lawyers.


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