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 804.

    Pay more to get less. Apples new mantra. Still, the fanbois will go mad for it and queue round the block, not too big a queue of course else they wont be able to find their way to the shop.

  • rate this

    Comment number 803.

    Just one more reason not to buy overrated ''crapple'' Android maps are crystal clear with just one tap, simple !

  • rate this

    Comment number 802.

    Oh dear... Apple are trying to be everything to everyone. I can just imagine combining this with Siri, recipe for disaster!

  • rate this

    Comment number 801.

    Apple have got too used to trading on their early but they had better get their wits together. There are lots of complaints about the new phone and now their maps are rubbish. People pay a premium price to buy Apple computers etc so why should they have to rely on other programmes for informatio when Apple claim to provide it. I wonder how Apple share holders feel about this.

  • rate this

    Comment number 800.

    Re 793

    Sorry, an example of iCockup in action.

    The keyboard function on my iPad has the habit of putting "b" or "m" instead of spaces as well....

    For "thebtemerity" read "the temerity"......and yes, spell check on iApple is crud as well......

  • rate this

    Comment number 799.

    Sounds like Apple has lost its way - maybe they need a decent map!

  • rate this

    Comment number 798.

    It's not a patch on Google maps.


  • rate this

    Comment number 797.

    The number of people reporting inaccuracy seems to far outweigh those that think the map data is fine.

    Message to those who think it's OK, the bit that you compared the map and reality is somewhere you know and wouldn't need maps for.
    Can you trust the data for anywhere else that you don't know and need the help of the maps?

    From the opinions of many on here that you would be a fool to trust it

  • rate this

    Comment number 796.

    This is not an issue that can be solved overnight by Apple. Mapping data takes a lot of time to get right properly. Google have been doing mapping since 2005. Similarly Nokia have been doing mapping since 2007.

    For Apple to think they could offer their own service shows you how inexperienced they are to this, the result speaks for itself.

  • rate this

    Comment number 795.

    I cant believe Apple could make such a major mistake, I have now added the google maps app again but this works through safari so it not exactly the same as it was but is 1000 times better than the apple effort!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 794.

    I prefer the detail on google maps. Though for me iOS msp is better for directions. Luckily I found it's easy to install google maps in IOS 6- just visit the google page in safari and it prompts you (took me a moment to realise I had to re-enable safari to use location services. (Not impressed that I lost my playlists in Music- and haven't synced with iTunes for months).

  • rate this

    Comment number 793.

    I have an iPad on OS5 - it falls over every 20 minutes, more on some apps.

    My wife's iPhone 4s can't hold a call if you have thebtemerity to move whilst talking, and Siri can't tell us anything other than the weather in Paris.

    My Omnia 7 and Lumia 710 work brilliantly. Why am I not surprised that the new mapping is junk ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 792.

    @ #736 Did you not bother with the part of my post which pointed out that not only apple used Foxconn?

  • rate this

    Comment number 791.

    Has anyone else noticed the 'Report a problem' which has a few options?
    - 'search results are incorrect'
    - 'street or label is incorrect'
    - 'location is missing'
    Apple clearly knew about the issues yet still released sub standard software. As a developer myself, would Apple accept my apps if i released them with so many issues may be aslong as i provided a 'report a problem' dialog?

  • Comment number 790.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 789.

    I live in Richmond upon Thames. The road behind my house is called Kings Road. The large house behind where I live is shown as a Macdonalds restaurant and the other houses are labeled with the names of shops that have the same street number as in Kings Road Chelsea! Unbelievable incompetence from Apple.

  • rate this

    Comment number 788.

    Serious side of this for me is that I work from home with customers coming to me. As map- reading is no longer a human skill (apparently), their ability to find me down a country lane which doesn't even exist as far as Apple are concerned will be compromised if I have applecore clients. Perhaps I can sue them for loss of business? I'm sure a US based lawyer would take it on!

  • rate this

    Comment number 787.

    Let's wait and see if we get a full apology and explaination from Apple executives.

    Why wasn't this feature properly tested and fixed before it went on sale??
    When is it going to be fixed??

  • rate this

    Comment number 786.

    Absolute rubbish. Even the traffic is worse, I liked seeing the red, orange or green lines so I could see issues on my journey.

    There is nothing positive to say. Apple clearly are not innovators anymore.

  • rate this

    Comment number 785.

    Just ask Siri "Where can I buy the new iPhone 5"

    "I found 15 places matching "Apple Store" fairly close to you"
    - Red Apple Nurseries
    - Apple Pharmacy
    - Apple Loans
    - Amicus Apple
    - Apple Healthcare

    Ooops. Looks like Yelp (their data source) isn't being helpful! It may try to open the Apple Store App if its installed so try asking "Where can I find an Apple store" as an alternative


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