Back in June 2018, Apple revealed that it was rebuilding Apple Maps from the ground up. That reboot is now complete for users in the United States, and Apple says it’s rolling out across Europe in the months ahead.
The Apple Maps redesign adds outlines for buildings and better labeling for roads, parks, airports, and other points of interest. Apple also made several other major improvements to Maps in iOS 13 last fall, including a 3D “Look Around” mode (akin to Google’s Street View), collections of places that users can share with one another, indoor maps for airports and malls, and the ability to share an ETA with other people.
When Apple Maps launched in 2012 as a replacement for the Google-powered maps in previous iOS versions, the results were so bad that CEO Tim Cook wrote a public apology letter to customers. The Wall Street Journal even reported at the time that iOS software chief Scott Forstall was forced out of the company over the debacle.
Although Apple Maps has steadily improved since then, this new redesign is its most fundamental update yet. As before, Apple says it doesn’t retain a history of locations or searches, uses on-device processing for personalized features, and doesn’t tie mapping activity to users’ Apple IDs. With users more sensitive about third-party apps collecting their location data, the new-and-improved version of Maps could be arriving at just the right time.