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Google Maps, Apple Maps, Waze? A Detailed Comparison

By Natalia David on December 17, 2020

We’ve come a long way from the days when you had to use a paper map to find your way around. Now we have navigation apps that can not only give us directions, they can help us find things we are looking for like gas, food and entertainment.

Three of the most popular navigation apps are Google Maps, Apple Maps and Waze. But which is the best map app? In this post, we will look at Google Maps vs. Apple Maps and Waze. We will consider some of the features they offer and the pros and cons of each app.

Google Maps

Google Maps is the most popular maps app. Part of the reason for this is because it comes on every Android phone, but it is even popular among iOS users, and iPhone developers. It also has a better reputation for functionality because the initial rollout of Apple Maps did not go well.

Google Maps can give you directions for driving, walking and public transportation. It is also the most comprehensive of the three with maps for more than 250 countries and territories. The map will also show you different landmarks and businesses in the area with relevant information. 

The basic function of the app allows you to enter a location or an address and it will give you the best route to the destination. You can also select alternate routes to avoid things like traffic and toll roads. Another nice feature is that it allows the user to plan multi-stop routes. It can then give you voice directions as you drive or walk.

Google maps can also help you find businesses and services you may need. It can direct you to things like gas and food. It can also use landmarks to help you follow directions.

Pros

 

  • Easy to follow voice directions
  • Directions for driving, walking and public transport
  • Offline maps
  • More countries and territories than other apps
  • Shows business info like hours and ratings
  • Real-time traffic info
  • Program multiple stops on a route
  • Easy to find businesses and other services
  • Use Street View to see the destination

 

Cons

 

  • No weather info
  • Drains the battery when used on iPhones

 

Apple Maps

Apple Maps may have gotten a bad reputation when it first came out but it has improved a lot over the years. For most day-to-day directions, it does compare well with Google Maps. Similar to Google Maps, you can add locations and addresses to easily get directions. It also offers directions for driving, walking and public transport. 

You can also use the app to find things like gas, food and entertainment. With that said, it only allows you to add one pit stop to a route. With Google Maps, you can add as many stops as you need. That can make it more convenient for long road trips or days when you have a lot of stops to make.

Apple Maps also offers traffic data and you can get alternate routes to avoid tolls and traffic. One nice feature that is unique to Apple Maps is that it offers weather, temperature and air quality data. You can also see businesses and landmarks on the app and you can get relevant info and ratings.

Pros

 

  • Easy to follow voice directions
  • Works for walking, driving and public transport
  • Traffic info and alternate routes
  • Offline maps
  • Easy access to relevant business data
  • Better for preserving iPhone battery

 

Cons

 

  • Covers fewer countries and territories
  • Only available for iOS
  • Can only add one pit stop to routes
  • Traffic info is not as comprehensive
  • Uses more data than the other two apps

 

Waze

Waze is owned by Google but it is an independent operation. This app is much more focused on driving. The experience is optimized for drivers and it doesn’t even offer services for things like public transport and walking. 

As it concerns Google Maps vs. Waze, you won’t find as many features in this app. This is actually intentional because the idea is to make an app that offers the best performance for driving directions. 

You can add your locations or addresses and it will give you the best route available. Just like with the other apps, you can get traffic data and alternate routes. It can also show you a heat map with the best times to take a particular route. This can be great if you are trying to plan a trip ahead of time.

Waze excels when it comes to the accuracy of its live traffic data and updates about things like accidents and speed traps. It also has features that allow you to customize the experience by filling in things like vehicle details, preferred gas stations and any toll passes you may have. 

The app can also show you businesses and different services you may need to find when you are on the road. However, it does only offer the option to add one pit stop. That means that it can be a pain for people who need to travel multi-stop routes. 

Pros

 

  • Optimized for driving
  • Easy to follow voice directions
  • Better traffic info
  • Alternate routes to avoid tolls and traffic
  • Find local businesses and services
  • Info for businesses and services
  • Customize driving preferences
  • Uses less data than the other two apps

 

Cons

 

  • Not good for walking or public transport
  • Covers fewer countries than Google Maps and Apple Maps
  • No offline maps
  • No traffic overlays on the map
  • No weather data

 

 

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