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Review: Apple Maps in 2021

Apple Maps was once a disastrous app that took from somewhere into nowhere. However, through the years, the improvements to the app have made it so that it is comparable with Google Maps.

This year, since I am in my new home in Des Moines, Iowa, it has given me a lot of opportunities to use Apple’s GPS service to really get a good feel for how much the service has improved over the years.

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For starters, when it comes to the look of it, this screams simplistic. That has always been an aspect of any Apple product or service the company has created. In a time of confusion and a constantly changing environment in the tech scene, Apple has always made it a major priority to make sure simplicity is at that the top of its necessities.

When typing in a location, I am given the closest places that match what I am typing. I have yet to not find a place.

But what we are presented is an interface that I believe everyone, young and old, has the opportunity to use and get to where they need to go. I mean, my mom is over 50 years old now and she has plans to use Apple Maps this summer while she goes on a vacation. That level of confidence to do something like that, since she is not the best with technology, is because of Apple making simplicity a key ingredient in Apple Maps.

Getting back to my experience with it, there have been multiple times where I have been driving in the city and while driving, I have been prompted with messages like, “Turn left at the next intersection to get to your destination two minutes earlier.” Time is everything today and it’s good that Apple Maps understands that.

Sure, it’s only two minutes, but if it means that I don’t have to be on the road as much, then I’ll take it. This is not to say that I hate driving because I actually love it. Still, I just like getting to my destination as fast and efficiently as possible.

Another advantage that Apple Maps has is it has deterred me away from using my Garmin GPS that I previously used for about six years. Since the GPS needs me to plug it in for software updates, as well as updates to its maps, well, that’s a problem because I don’t want to do that. It’s time-consuming and just flat-out pointless.

A GPS that gets its information from satellites should be able to update itself without me needing to plug it in. After all, I don’t need to plug in Apple Maps or Google Maps to get my directions and maps updated? They do it automatically.

I did try out Apple Maps when going from Des Moines to Clear Lake, Iowa, to visit a friend. At no point did I ever get anxious about where I was going or where I needed to be heading because it got me there and in an excellent amount of time too.

 When playing music or a podcast in my vehicle, I do like that it does interrupt it to remind me of where I need to turn or do whatever. It sounds like such a stupid thing to say, but when you get distracted with your music or entranced in a podcast, it sort of jolts you back to your life.

Other small features I like about the service are the addition of stoplight and stop sign notifications.

However, with all of these great features of the service, there is a con.

The major con is that Apple Maps may not be that good in rural parts of the country.

There was a day in December 2020 where I was on the road, south of Archer, Iowa, and heading towards Correctionville, Iowa, and…it did not notify me of a stop sign.

Obviously that is not too much of a big deal, but it’s worth noting since the road is not in the most well-known part of northwestern Iowa, so it could be a sign that there are other important roads in the rural parts of America where important listings could be missing.

In the end, Apple Maps gets 3.5/4 stars from me. While it may not be the best in rural America, my experience with it is better than I thought it would be and it is an excellent navigator in urban parts of the country. Updates such as stoplight and stop sign alerts are great, and I don’t even want to think about how much better the service could get in the near future.

Rating: 3.5/4 stars

What do you think of Apple Maps? How often do you use it and what are your favorite features on it? Let us know on Twitter at @appleosophy.

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