Apple Maps vs Google Maps vs Waze: The best navigation apps for your phone in 2021 (2023)

Gone are the days of pulling origami-style paper maps out of the glove compartment of your car to determine your location. Today, almost everyone has a smartphone with their own or third-party mapping app that provides driving, walking, or biking directions. In fact, navigation apps make great general guides for everyday life, as they can show you the cheapest fuel in your area or the nearest fast food restaurant. But which map app is the best?

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Apple Maps vs Google Maps vs Waze: The best navigation apps for your phone in 2021 (1)

google maps

Best for frequent travelers

4.5 Excellent

bottom line:

Since its launch in 2005, Google Maps has been considered the king of navigation apps. Although the competition has become increasingly fierce in recent years, Google Maps offers superior driving directions, especially when you're off the beaten path.

(Video) Google Maps vs Apple Maps (2023)


  • Robust maps with Google Earth and Street View options
  • Collaborative traffic data in real time
  • Detailed instructions for driving, public transportation, walking, and biking.
  • Provides internal floor plans for buildings.
  • web-based version
  • Download driving directions for offline use


  • Google's confusing privacy commitment
  • Some outdated Street View images


Google Play

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Google Maps Review

Apple Maps vs Google Maps vs Waze: The best navigation apps for your phone in 2021 (2)

Apple Maps

The best for visiting a new city.

4.0 Excellent

(Video) Google Maps vs Waze (2023) - Which One is for You?

bottom line:

Apple Maps has filled the navigation app void with its easy-to-read location icons, temperature readings, air quality reports, and impressive 3D flyover mode. It offers helpful directions and has a commendable emphasis on protecting your privacy, but it lacks internal locations and the ability to save maps for offline use.


  • Clean and simple cards
  • Stunning 3D flyover mode
  • Apple Maps does not store your data
  • Air quality reports and temperature readings.


  • no internal maps
  • There is no official web version.
  • Maps cannot be saved for offline use


$0.00 Apple App Store

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Apple Maps Review

Apple Maps vs Google Maps vs Waze: The best navigation apps for your phone in 2021 (3)

(Video) How to Actually Use Waze: The Best Driving App


More suitable for daily commuting

3.5 Tripe

bottom line:

If you drive, Waze is one of the easiest ways to get directions. Its routes are far superior to those of the competition, with a vibrant community and real-time, publicly-sourced traffic and accident reports. Unfortunately, it's hard to get directions from anywhere other than your current location.


  • Bright, colorful and easily recognizable icons.
  • Collaborative traffic conditions mean better routes
  • Social contacts for drivers.
  • Allows manual control of streaming music services
  • web-based version


  • It is difficult to generate directions from places other than your current location.
  • Missing terrain, satellite or 3D map images
  • No true offline options


Visit the Waze Mobile website

Learn more

waze review

Buying Guide: Apple Maps vs Google Maps vs Waze: The best navigation apps for your phone in 2021

(Video) Google Maps and Waze Are Merging! Here's What You Need to Know

platform performance

The three card applications in this matchup:Apple Maps, Google Maps and Waze – are completely free. You don't have to worry about additional microtransactions or advertising banners. However, there is certainly something being sold, but that happens in the background. Then more.

You can access all three apps in different ways. Google Maps (a native Android app) and Waze (Google's driver-focused navigation app) are available on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. Apple Maps comes pre-installed on every iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch, but there's no Google Play Store version. The application is exclusive to Apple and is automatically disqualified from the contest if you are an Android owner.

As for the web options, feel free to explore mapsand Waze through your favorite web browser. Both services allow you to plan trips on the desktop before sending directions to their respective mobile apps. Unlike Google Maps and Waze, Apple Maps lacks a browser-based version. To make up for this, Apple released its MapKit JS code to allow web developers to add Apple Maps services to websites. For example, privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo recently switched to using it for map-related searches and route planning.

driving direction

Apple Maps, Google Maps ywazeBoth provide satisfactory directions, but they differ in many ways. Google has the most extensive and informative maps, a boon for its Google Maps and Waze products. Apple Maps got off to a rocky start nearly a decade ago, but it's made great strides to come close to rivaling Google Maps. All three apps offer voice-guided, hands-free operation via the Google Assistant or Siri on their respective platforms.

If all you do is drive, Waze is the best option. Google Maps and Apple Maps will work just fine, but Waze does better when it comes to driving to a new place from your current location. The maps are simpler than the others, with larger symbols, brighter colors, and less distracting on-screen elements. Waze also encourages its users to crowdsource their traffic. Its enthusiastic community of drivers is much more alert than its competitors about traffic jams, accidents, police operations and road closures.

Apple Maps vs Google Maps vs Waze: The best navigation apps for your phone in 2021 (4)

It's worth noting that Google Maps is the only one of the three apps in this roundup that lets you download maps for offline use. Apple Maps and Waze allow you to save your last route search in the app, allowing you to work in areas with patchy coverage, but you can't search for a new route or a saved trip.

Rider's Choice

Unlike Waze, Apple Maps and Google Maps offer many options for alternate types of travel. Driving directions come first, but both apps also provide directions for walking, biking, and public transportation. there is evencarpoolOptions that link to popular services like Uber, Lyft, and Lime.

For cyclists, Apple Maps has the upper hand in terms of user interface and overall features. When your phone's screen turns off, Apple Maps will automatically turn on and show you the nearest directions. Google Maps has an option to prevent turn-by-turn directions from going into lockdown mode. However, if this option is not enabled, the app will send a push notification asking you to unlock your phone. Apple Maps also clearly marks traffic lights, stop signs, and steep hills along your route so you can plan accordingly. However, cyclists have reported that Google Maps gives better results, avoiding routes with excessive hills or additional traffic that would make the route difficult.

A rich map or a simpler interface?

Apple Maps and Waze offer cleaner, easier-to-read interfaces compared to Google Maps. That being said, Waze offers the clearest overall map in terms of visual contrast and readability. Unfortunately it is for drivers only.

With a map that offers information at a glance, Apple is right behind Waze. Major landmarks and businesses are clearly legible, and Apple Maps' big, bright green "Go" button is more immediate than Google Maps' smaller blue "Home" button. Apple Maps also has useful indicators for temperature and air quality.

Apple Maps matches Google Maps business hours, ratings, and website links. However, if you dig deep enough, you'll find that Google has more extensive maps. Google Maps not only covers more international locations, but also has excellent indoor building maps. If you're visiting a city, Google Maps likely has detailed (multi-story!) internal maps of malls, convention centers, museums, and other public buildings. All this extra information makes the Google Maps interface a bit cluttered.

For everyday use, Apple Maps is easier to read, but Google Maps is a little digital Athena with all the wisdom in the world, if you know where to find it.

Apple Maps vs Google Maps vs Waze: The best navigation apps for your phone in 2021 (5)

dies extras

In addition to basic map information, Apple Maps and Google Maps offer additional features that intelligently extend the navigation experience. Google Maps has long offered more cool extras, but Apple Maps has caught up and taken a more thoughtful approach to some Google features.

Let's take Google Street View as an example. This handy feature lets you dive into the map and get an overview of the area using 360-degree photos compiled from Google's fleet of car photography and crowdsourced images. Street View is available in more locations than Apple Maps' Look Around feature. However, Look Around is easier to use. While Street View takes up the entire screen of your device, Look Around splits the view between the 360 ​​photo and the map. This allows you to see where you are while looking around you. In terms of usability, Look Around is simply better than Street View, especially when you're lost. Waze does not have that feature.

Of course, Google countered Apple's Street View by launching Live View AR mode. Use your phone's camera to provide turn-by-turn directions and use augmented reality to project directions onto the world in front of you. It even highlights certain landmarks. Live View takes all the great features of Street View and makes them even better. Apple Maps and Waze don't offer anything like that.

While Google Maps and Apple Maps have terrain, satellite, and 3D display modes, Apple Maps 3D Flyover mode is simply more impressive than Google's version. Flyover 3D makes selected cities look like little dioramas and is an impressive display of technology. It's great, but still not particularly useful.

If you value privacy, Apple Maps is the right choice. Your Apple Maps searches and directions stay on your device, not in the cloud. Apple Maps location history is tied to random identifiers and resets over time;Google makes it difficult to remove this information. If you care about privacy and have an iPhone, the choice is clear.

You can go your own way

The right map app for you depends on your needs. If you're a cyclist and have an iPhone and an Apple Watch, Apple Maps is the easy choice. If you travel a lot and like to go to museums, Google Maps will take you where you need to go and show you how to get there once you arrive. If all you need are directions, Waze is the way to go. One of these applications will be very useful for you. After all, it's not like you're going back to a folded paper map.

For more information on navigation apps, see10 reasons to try Apple Maps,25 Google Maps Tips You Must Try, Y11 tips to help you find your Waze.

(Video) Apple CarPlay is AWESOME when you know how to use it! (FULL Tutorial)


Apple Maps vs Google Maps vs Waze: The best navigation apps for your phone in 2021? ›

If you get lost easily, the Look Around option on Apple Maps will be extremely beneficial. If you use NAV to plan your next cycling road trip, Google Maps is your best choice. However, if you just need to get to your destination in the shortest time possible, Waze is your best choice.

Is Waze or Apple Maps more reliable? ›

Waze relies on its community-sourced data, which can lead to more accurate information about road closures, police activity, and hazards reported by fellow drivers. In contrast, Apple Maps utilizes data from various sources, including its own mapping data, to provide navigation guidance.

Which map is best for navigation? ›

  1. Google Maps. Google Maps is one of the most popular and comprehensive mapping apps available. ...
  2. Waze. Waze is a crowd-sourced navigation app that offers real-time traffic updates and turn-by-turn navigation. ...
  3. AllTrails. ...
  4. Apple Maps. ...
  5. Citymapper. ...
  6. Roadtrippers. ...
  7. MapOut.
Jul 8, 2023

Is Waze or Google Maps more reliable? ›

Both Google Maps and Waze have good parts, as well as their share of issues. Google Maps seems to be more reliable, accurate and has better real-time traffic, whereas Waze has a larger army of fans who think the app is amazing who love its voice prompts feature. However, updates caused issues for both apps.

What is the best app for driving directions? ›

  • Google Maps. The granddaddy of GPS navigation options for almost any type of transportation. ...
  • Waze. This app stands apart due to its crowd-sourced traffic information. ...
  • MapQuest. ...
  • Maps.Me. ...
  • Scout GPS. ...
  • InRoute Route Planner. ...
  • Apple Maps. ...
  • MapFactor Navigator.

What is the disadvantage of Waze? ›

What Are the Cons of Waze? Some users may find Waze a distraction, and that's not a good thing on a crowded road. Friends pop out at you from your screen, points ding as they accumulate, ads pop, drive-by incidents beg to be reported, and your route can be re-routed at any time.

What navigation app is better than Waze? ›

Google Maps is older than Waze and, as a result, more comprehensive. It offers navigational assistance driven by data, helping to show you the best routes to your destination depending on whether you want to walk, go by public transit, ride a bike, or drive.

Does anyone use Waze anymore? ›

The Waze app uses a crowdsourcing technique that allows it to determine the fastest driving route from one location to another, with the most recent traffic information. Waze has roughly 140 million active users.

Which map is the most reliable? ›

View the world in correct proportions with this map. You may not know this, but the world map you've been using since, say, kindergarten, is pretty wonky. The Mercator projection map is the most popular, but it is also riddled with inaccuracies.

Which phone is best for navigation? ›

Rallycheck Smartphone quality
Sony Xperia XZ3YesYes
Samsung Galaxy S8YesYes
Samsung Galaxy S9YesYes
Huawei P10YesYes
22 more rows

Why do people prefer Waze over Google Maps? ›

Regarding navigation accuracy, both Waze and Google Maps are generally reliable, but Waze does a better job of circumventing delays. Whereas Google might suggest an alternate route if traffic is getting really bad, Waze is constantly updating for what is the quickest possible way.

Is there a better GPS app than Google Maps? ›

If you're looking for a navigation and exploration tool, then you may want an app like TomTom or Waze which has live traffic updates. While OSM offers community-driven maps good for hiking, cycling, and transportation, Apple Maps is ideal for anyone using iOS.

Why is Waze the best app? ›

Waze is built around one thing, and one thing only: minimizing your time on the road and getting you to your destination as quickly as possible. So doesn't ask permission to alter your route mid-trip, and automatically offers up directions that get you around obstacles that have popped up.

What is better than Google Maps for driving? ›

Top 15 Google Maps Alternative Apps To Try
  • MapQuest. You can plan a route with a MapQuest route planner if you want an age-old mapping tool like Google Maps. ...
  • Waze. Waze is another popular free Google Maps alternative. ...
  • Route4Me Route Planner. ...
  • Apple Maps. ...
  • Bing Maps. ...
  • Maps.Me (MapsWithMe) ...
  • Rand McNally. ...
  • OsmAnd.
Mar 2, 2023

Does anyone use Apple Maps? ›

So we'll assume that Google Maps currently has somewhere between one and two billion monthly users. Apple, meanwhile, told us as recently as December 2020 that Apple Maps has “hundreds of millions” of users. From this, we can infer that Apple Maps has at least 200 million users and at most around 900–950 million users.

Is Apple Maps more accurate? ›

When Apple Maps first launched, it had complications with faulty maps labeled inaccurately. So, it was difficult to trust its traffic or mapping data for navigation. Thankfully, after significant improvements, that is no longer the case. Now both Apple Maps and Google Maps are about equal in terms of accuracy.

Is Waze the most accurate? ›

Regarding navigation accuracy, both Waze and Google Maps are generally reliable, but Waze does a better job of circumventing delays. Whereas Google might suggest an alternate route if traffic is getting really bad, Waze is constantly updating for what is the quickest possible way.

Are Apple Maps always accurate? ›

Accuracy. Both Google Maps and Apple Maps are highly accurate. You should have no problem getting from point A to point B with either app. Both are great at identifying traffic, making time estimates and flagging road closures.

What app is better than Apple Maps? ›

You should use Google Maps if...

If there's one definitive area where Google Maps absolutely leaps over its Apple counterpart, it's app compatibility. Google Maps is available on iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, and Chrome devices, whereas Apple Maps is restricted to Apple platforms only.


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