Watch Out, Google Maps: Apple's Updated Alternative Now Available for More Users

Apple continues the rollout of its “new” Apple Maps experience, and the company is now bringing the updated maps, enhanced navigation, and the rest of the features to more countries.
The updated maps in Apple Maps launch in more countries 6 photos
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution/Apple
The new Apple Maps experienceThe new Apple Maps experienceThe new Apple Maps experienceThe new Apple Maps experienceThe new Apple Maps experience
Users in Finland, Norway, and Sweden are getting access to the new-generation Apple Maps. The same features that are available in the United States and a few other countries ship to users in these countries as well.

The “new” Apple Maps was originally announced by Apple in mid-2018. Based on Apple’s own map data, the updated experience includes more details, including sidewalks, crosswalks, outlines of buildings, and other road information.

Apple also enhanced the navigation, as Apple Maps now shows not only walking paths, but also traffic lights and stop signs.

The 3D models are an important part of the new Apple Maps as well, so the navigation is overall more straightforward both on the iPhone and on CarPlay.

The biggest shortcoming of the updated Apple Maps version is the slow rollout. Announced nearly five years ago, the new maps are yet to reach the broad availability phase. Apple needed two years to complete the rollout of the refreshed Apple Maps in the United States. The release across the world progressed slowly, and countries like Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Australia received the new maps in 2021.

Apple hopes its detailed map experience would turn Apple Maps into a better rival to Google Maps. But the slow rollout, mixed with a series of key features that are missing from the platform, keeps a significant share of users on Google Maps.

Apple Maps still doesn’t offer offline maps, so navigating without an Internet connection is not possible. Google Maps provides such capabilities in the majority of countries where it’s already available. Users can download the maps on their devices and then update them when the app is running and a Wi-Fi connection is detected. The offline maps are available on both Android and iPhone and can also be used on Android Auto and CarPlay.

In addition, Apple Maps does not support navigating in satellite mode. The application does come with satellite imagery, but when the navigation interface is enabled, Apple Maps automatically switches to the default layer. Apple has so far remained tight-lipped on its plans regarding these highly requested features.

In the meantime, the iPhone maker keeps working on expanding the availability of the new Apple Maps experience. The company hasn’t shared any details regarding its release schedule, but new countries are expected to receive the new maps by the end of the year. Apple is currently testing the new map data in Europe, with Austria likely to be the next country where the public rollout would kick off this spring.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
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Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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