Apple’s Maps being updated often and significantly

There is no doubt that Apple is working hard on improving its iOS Maps application in the past few months. The results can be seen in an update to the app this week in Japan, but Apple has been steadily releasing updates for countries and cities from around the world.

The updates have been quite significant for the areas involved. For instance, the update in Japan brought toll road notifications and improved pronunciation of roads during turn-by-turn navigation; updated icons and labels for freeways, transit stations, subway lines and other categories like fire stations, hospitals and post offices; and added 3D buildings including Tokyo Station, Japan Imperial Palace, and Tokyo Tower.

In the past few months Apple added flyover support for:

  • Baltimore, MD
  • Providence, RI
  • Portland, ME
  • Cleveland, OH
  • Green Bay, WI
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • Albany, NY
  • Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Cologne, Germany
  • Glasgow, Scotland
  • Buffalo, NY
  • Vancouver, BC
  • Tulsa, OK
  • Hoover Dam
  • Modesto, CA
  • Stockton, CA

The company also expanded Flyover coverage in a number of other cities, including:

  • Portland, OR
  • Boston, MA
  • Houston, TX
  • Stockholm, Sweden
  • Munich, Germany
  • London, England
  • Madrid, Spain
  • Rome, Italy
  • Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Berlin, Germany
  • Lyon, France
  • Birmingham, AL
  • Toronto, ON
  • Barcelona, Spain

Maps has updated 3D buildings for Standard view and Turn-by-turn navigation for:

  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Berlin, Germany
  • Birmingham, England
  • Cologne, Germany
  • Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Dublin, Ireland
  • London, England
  • Lyon, France
  • Manchester, England
  • Milan, Italy
  • Munich, Germany
  • Rome, Italy

Apple also made a number of updates in China, one of the company’s newest and biggest markets. Maps in China now has a new coloring scheme that matches the vector-based Maps; new Chinese character font for improved readability; Re-prioritized locations so more relevant/interesting locations display first; Updated road network; and it now contains narrower roads.

In addition to all of these changes, Apple has updated city labels in cities worldwide and improved satellite imagery in a number of countries. Other updates include location information for Apple Stores, businesses, movie theaters, restaurants, airports and transit stops.

Maps may have disappointed some users when it was first released, but when Tim Cook said he was focusing Apple’s attention to fix the issues, he meant it. And it shows.

  • tylernol

    Apple should have some sort of online Maps status page/heat map where they can show where they are most active updating/fixing/adding things to maps.

    • I agree. That would be great. So that we could know when they have completed their flyovers of various areas.

    • Pedro Taquelim

      Don’t just say it, say it to the right people:


  • lol @ Stockton, CA. I am not sure who would want a flyover of that city. I would think that Sacramento, CA would be a better candidate if it is not already done.

    • flyingburgers

      A lot of it has to do with the city’s records. Cities that digitize their maps and assesor’s drawings are going to be first. You can see Stockton’s records at

  • Steven Fisher

    I’d love to see Apple release a Maps app for OSX, too. Maybe in 10.9.

    • Yep. I would be shocked if they do not do that as part of OS X 10.9 as part of their “Back to the Mac” initiative. I bet we will also see an Apples Store app make it’s way to the desktop too.

    • Rafael Fischmann

      They don’t need to release an app, just allow web access for it. Which would enable Apple itself to switch to its own maps inside, BTW.

  • Yeah, I’m not strictly speaking very impressed yet. It’s functional but … well … It’ll take a while I guess.

  • Ben

    Both Flyover and POIs continue to be more-or-less useless in London. I really have to wonder where they got the POI info from — many of the details for the London suburb I live in pre-date the iPhone. Some are a decade out of date.

  • Scott Clitheroe

    “And it shows”…4th largest city in North America gets “expanded” flyover support, but only in a box bounded by Spadina, Parliament and Bloor.

    Meanwhile, in Cowtown, the downtown core is home to more than 17 “gas stations” allegedly (mislabeled Oil & Gas offices). Seriously, a quick glance of the Calgary downtown shows more gas stations than eating establishments in Apple’s world.

    • Unimpressed

      I searched last week for an address on Bloor St W, which Apple Maps deciphered to mean a tiny Bloore St in Brisbane, Australia.


      • nick

        haha, i live there

  • A huge improvement – my entire medium-sized UK city is no longer completely obscured by cloud, and I can now make individual pixellated rooftops. If they now added some searchable business locations and remapped roads so they were applicable to this century then hopefully by iOS8 it will be less fucking useless for anything other than an emergency postcode search.

    • Mitch

      No need to swear, mate. Make your point strongly without swearing.

      • kibbles

        why the fuck not?

      • My apologies, didn’t mean to offend anyone

    • So sorry Apple has not mapped the entire globe down to a few feet/meters in six months with none of the infrastructure (such as WiFi-spying street-view camera cars) that Google has had for years now.

      • Sarcastic apology not accepted. When Apple Maps was announced I wasn’t expecting street view, but I was expecting maps that you could, you know, navigate by.

        I’m not entirely sure why you would defend Apple on this. Maps is not some Kickstarter-funded indie project, it’s a core component of the world’s most popular smartphone, produced by the world’s richest company. It would be less of an issue that its road markings are incorrect/years out of date, public transit data missing, and business listings non-existent, were it not baked into the OS as the only mapping system available to other apps.

        Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge Apple advocate. I own a MacBook Pro, iPad, iPhone, Apple TV, and Time Capsule, wouldn’t swap them for anything else on the market, and recommend (and sell) all of these products as part of my day job. Apple Maps, however, is a barely-fit-for-purpose embarrassment.

        • it’s a core component of the world’s most popular smartphone,

          And by dint og Apple’s bank account, they should have been able to buy a company that had already mapped the entire world including it’s cities, towns, streets, roads, parks, business, POIs with a 3D map of every building?

          You wouldn’t even have that if Apple bought Nokia and Google, and last time anyone looked, those companies were not for sale.

          And if you think Apple should have waited a few more years, you simply don’t understand Apple’s position.

  • London, Birmingham and Manchester, but no Liverpool WHAT? :S

  • PlunderBunny

    Meanwhile, “Auckland Station” in Auckland, New Zealand, is still in the middle of the harbour.

    I ‘send in’ about 20 iOS Maps corrections when iOS 6 first came out. None have been fixed to my knowledge.

    • Deon Garrett

      In Iceland, it just punts completely on pretty much anything you ask it. It either just says “No results found” or sends you to nonsensical results (e.g., searching for the Hilton Hotel in Reykjavik takes you to the town of Hilton, New York, searching for the Icelandic town Höfn takes you to someplace in Germany, etc.). It just completely fails to work as a map at any level.

      • It’s Iceland. You guys could disappear any second.

      • MouseDanger

        Hmm, centering on Iceland and searching for ‘Hilton Hotel’ brings me to Northern NY (I think it was Rochester?)… Recentering on iceland and searching for ‘Hilton, Reykjavik’ lands me at a “Hilton Bar” in the same city (in a Hilton Hotel?). Searching for just ‘Hilton’ lands me at Hilton, NY… Might benefit from some context sensitivity.

    • I have noticed Adelaide (South Australia) is a lot better since the introduction of iOS6. I tried to get directions to a place not far from my place and both routes it suggested didn’t work, one would have had me go through our airport 🙂 I tried again just a few moments ago and the suggest routes were fine. I mention this because Adelaide is one of those little cities around the same size as Auckland, so if they are slowing fixing up my city, maybe they will get to yours soon, I hope so, I loved my time there…

  • Curmudgeon

    Updated with flyover in Minneapolis, sure, but still overfilled with geographic errors that were reported half a year ago. All the closed hospitals in St. Paul shown as still open, for example, and other functioning hospitals not on the map.

  • NewWaveDave Washington

    WTF no Tampa? Our little town is bigger than half the cities on this list… C’mon Apple.

  • Ah, that explains why it got us lost in Phoenix last week…no Phoenix updates. Was minor but made me question whether they were updating it.

    My buddy, the iPhone owner using maps while I drove, calls Maps garbage ’cause of issues in Phoenix. Maybe an update will keep him on iOS.

    • kibbles

      gee I hope so. would hate to lose your buddy!

    • t_lightfoot

      Confused.. can’t he just use one of the other 10 million GPS apps for iOS? Like.. Google maps or Waze?

      • You mean iOS Maps gets us lost so we go to the App Store, install 3rd party and search again? Nah…I just pulled out my S3 and found the spot.

  • Seth

    3D’s great and all, but how about basic location information. Apple really needs to priortise where it spends its mapping dollar. Maybe it’s just me, but flyover and better satellite pics would be pretty low on my list when location stuff is still so far off its not funny. I’d suggest Tim put a moratorium on any new flyover deployment and divert these resources to getting the basics right.

    • I doubt the flyover team and the location team share the same people. Different skill sets.

    • Totally agree. Their priorities are way off on this.

  • Apple, don’t forget about Jakarta

  • Roger Moreira

    Still sux. Give us Google back. Or give us the option.

    • SteveJay2012

      You have the option!

      • Meaux

        I believe he means the option of choosing a default mapping program. If you click an address in an email, you can’t choose to send it to Waze or Google Maps or the like.

        • MouseDanger

          I see that Roger said to give us Google OR give us an option, but to be clear, it was never an “option”… It was the old app (w/Google data) before (which some were presumably OK with, even without a “choice?”), it’s the new app with Apple’s data now. I would really like to be able to control what app handles clicked links for map data, but that has (so far) never been user-configurable in iOS…

  • gravitycollapse

    And in my city of 10 million people, their maps have streets mislabeled, and there are virtually no listings. But yes, absolutely, a flyover of Baltimore is very important. Great work, Apple…concentrating on cosmetic stuff instead of the actual data.

    • Me

      Where is Baltimore?

  • It would also be great if I was searching for a KFC while standing in front of one and apple maps didnt tell me the closest one is 7 miles away. That would be greeeaaaaatttt

    • AppleFan

      This is just a result of Apple complying early with Bloomburg’s next health initiative by putting technology barriers in the way of those attempting to eat high-fat fast food.

  • Rodman

    The full list of flyover-enabled cities:

  • speedlimiter

    Everything you’ve mentioned that was updated in terms of the german cities, was already present in the final iOS 6 release. So there was done nothing in this regard.

    Also reporting a problem in Maps in Germany is useless. I’ve reported hundreds of failures. Not a single one (!) was recognized or fixed. I think Apple is concentrating mostly to the US.

    • Mitch

      It is an American company, with Amerocentric concerns and pursuits. It may tout itself as international, but like many American entities, it has only a superficial, cartoonish understanding of other places in the world.

      • Juan

        Thats a pretty dull comment, often used by ignorant antiamericans.

  • andrewbarnett

    Australia still has no suburb or town labels, which are used for street and postal addresses, only local government municipalities, which are not and thus almost entirely irrelevant.

  • Riwaterman

    You have your own map problem it is Providence, RI not RH.

    RI is Rhode Island RH may be Rhodesia

  • ryansimmons323

    Where’s Paris?!?!? It was one of Steve Jobs’ favourite cities!!

    • Mitch

      It’s in France. 😉

      (Sorry. Couldn’t resist.)

      Seriously, though, Paris is sadly missing from the list. Can’t believe it, myself. (I used to live there.)

    • henry3dogg

      Probably in the same pace a Washington DC.

      The US thinks that Washington DC is too important a terrorist target to have decent Mapping.

      And the French government couldn’t possibly accept that Paris is any less important in any way. Even as a terrorist target.

      They would demand the right for equal treatment.

  • I’m not disputing that Apple is hard at work (this task is obviously absurdly huge) nor that they are generally improving. But for the thousands of iOS users in cities such as mine, that doesn’t really matter, since Maps haven’t improved but rather degraded by time. To wit:

  • This is purely a wasted effort, they could be doing something else instead. Hardly anyone uses Apple Maps anyway…

    • kibbles

      odd, we’ve been using it exclusively in the southern US without issue.

    • Sure, when you don’t have data, just make shit up.

    • Speak for yourself. Most people I know use it when they need directions somewhere. Only Google lovers feel the need Google Maps which sucked bad before having access to Apple Data and time to improve it

  • Scott

    It doesn’t seem to be enabled for Buffalo, NY, which is not on the list at: Flyover in iOS 6

  • senktenk

    Never really thought about it liek that, it does make sense.

  • Sebastian

    Flyovers and 3D buildings. Right. That’ll improve customer satisfaction immensly. Except, you know, it still can’t find most of the stuff I search for. Directions are crap. Who cares about flyovers and 3D buildings?

  • Zxcamit Kumar

    this is for india

  • Mr. Bee

    I know this is a fairly standard comment, but it hasn’t’ been fixed in my area (Vancouver) and while they finally added flyover view last night, the basic map data is still all incorrect. I know I’ve been reporting errors with the maps from the very first day and have done so continually over the last year and not a single error that I’ve reported has been fixed. Not a single one.

    It has to be said also that without transit information, maps is basically useless for anyone who doesn’t drive. I know that’s just a tiny minority of folks in the USA, but in the rest of the world it’s not. There are many places around the world where transit is king, not the car, and without that information, Apple maps will always be second place.

    In Vancouver for instance, despite the information being freely available (in 3D no less), from city hall, Apple maps still has no transit routes marked, no bus routes marked, most of the one way streets are still incorrectly labelled, the pedestrian areas are not marked, the transit stations are all marked blocks away from their actual locations, and the borders of all the cities parks are incorrect.

    Not one of these things has been fixed despite myself and possibly hundreds of others reporting them to Apple. I really don’t think they have enough people on the job.

    • MouseDanger

      It took Google about 9 months to fix an error I reported to them. I’m sorry you’re finding the data not up to snuff, and that your reports aren’t yet resolved. My experience in and around my East Coast city have not shown a significant difference between the offerings from Apple, Google and MapQuest, FWIW.

  • NSSnark

    One question, Jim.

    You allege that flyover support for Toronto has “expanded”. Where did it end previously and where does it end now? Because I’ve been looking at it for the past few months and it hasn’t crept an inch.

  • How do you see 3D (really its more like 2.5D eh?) being used as GPS and IPS improves? Does Apple have designs on some sort of universal geo fencing?

  • Bloshruk

    Maybe they can get all the uk’s towns and villages in the right place, or event there at all, it’s stupid that almost half a year in they are still 90% wrong

  • TechBell

    Wake me up when they put exit numbers on interstates; or label Underground stations in London and subway stations in New York , Boston, Philadelphia, Washington… and label rivers and mountains. Other than that, they’re great.

  • TechBell

    If struggling Nokia can put together a remarkable worldwide public transit app [for Windows Phones] why can’t Apple? Really?

    • Do you know where Nokia gets it’s data?

      • TechBell

        No and what difference does it make?

  • Tom

    Chinese people like good stffs.

  • toomanyairmiles

    Apple can update the map as much as they like, but despite my love of my iPhone, Apple maps are dead to me – even updated AM is a total flake in the UK.

  • While it is great that Apple are improving Maps, in London I still get absolutely terrible results when I actually do a search. Flyover is great and all, but it is nothing compared to the need for accurate data and content. I still get taken to places in America when searching for common places nearby in London that aren’t in Apple’s database, and not a single correction I’ve suggested since iOS6 went live has been addressed (and neither have any made by any of my friends).

    I don’t understand why they are prioritising Flyover over accurate content. Flyover is a ‘nice to have’, accurate data is imperative.

  • razioer

    Meanwhile, in Denmark, my moms iPhone keeps telling her to drive down a freeway that wont be finished till 2016…

  • Where did you get all this info from Jim? Did you collate all this yourself? Looks suspiciously like Apple fed you this as a PR opp…?!

  • ctopher1

    How did you get all this information? Are there update notes published somewhere?

    I’ve been fairly provincial lately and the Maps data has always been accurate where I am. (Our area put in a new interchange a few years ago and when Apple Maps came out, it was there!)

    That’s a lot of detailed information, in bullet list format. Was it in the release notes for iOS 6.1.2?

  • Joe Johnson

    In Eastern Montana & the Dakotas, Apple Maps is just as worthless as the day it came out. I’ve been making corrections but none of them have been implemented. The ones that really bother me are towns that are up to 50 miles away from their actual location.

  • Here’s a comparison chart of Google and Apple’s 3D buildings:

  • tjwolf

    Reporting Map problems in Apple Maps is a pain in the a** compared to Google Maps. My first-hand experience: a couple months ago, the local on/off ramps to a major Interstate going through my town was moved 1/4 mile down the road. Both Google Maps and Apple Maps weren’t aware of it yet and still showed the old on/off ramps. Being the good Apple citizen that I am, I tried to report the problem to Apple Maps first. Tapped the “Report A Problem” and was confronted with 5 choices: (1) Search Results are incorrect, (2) Street or other label is incorrect, (3)Location is missing, (4) Problem with directions, and (5) My Problem isn’t listed.” Which one do YOU think I should pick. I tried (2) and hit NEXT. This caused me to go back to the map with the instruction to tap the incorrectly labeled street or feature. Only problem is that it didn’t let me tap on either the old on-ramp (maybe because it didn’t have a label?) or the empty field where the new one was. So I tried (3). It then asked me for the complete street address! But this is a friggin on-ramp – it doesn’t have a street address! So frustrating – I gave up.

    Then I went to Google Maps, tapped on the old on-ramp and clicked “Report Problem”. One of the choices was “Road Closed”. I picked that and was given a text box in which to enter any additional helpful details. I did. It also offered to notify me when this problem was resolved. I opted for it. Done. Within minutes I received an email from Google Maps thanking me for the report.

    Four weeks later, I received another email from Google Maps – this time to let me know that my report was reviewed and accepted and that Google Maps will be updated shortly to reflect my suggested change.

    Now – that’s a good experience! Makes you want to help more! But I really wanted my Apple Maps to be correct, so I tried to report the issue again. This time, I picked (5) – “My problem isn’t listed” and hit NEXT. All I got is a text box and a “Send” button. I dutifully entered the information about the problem and hit “Send”. No acknowledgement, no offer to let me know when it’ll get fixed. Nothing. In other words – the typical Apple response to user-reported issues 🙁

    I have no idea how Apple expects to ever catch up to Google Maps if they can’t even make the problem reporting fast and easy – or encouraging, for that matter!

  • Darkreign

    Fixed? I don’t think so. Not when I discover the prominent label for public land northeast of Canyon Country, California as “ANGRLES National Forst.” At all magnifications.

  • Mike S

    The may be working on it, but in New York City, there are still way to many occasions where they place an address in a differnet county or state. It is virtually uselss at this time.

  • clkwong

    apple map and iphone5 with 4G TD-lte advanced in car is coming soon in 2013.

  • clkwong

    apple map flyover app for iphone5 or later with 4G lte and 4G TD-lte advanced is coming at 2013.

  • apple map apps for iphone5 or later with 4G lte and 4G TD-lte advanced is coming at 2013.

  • apple map for iphone5 or later with 4G lte and 4G TD-lte advanced is coming at 2013.

  • Guest

    Google maps used to

  • Keith S

    One key problem for those who live in London (for all those who believe the world outside the US doesn’t exist, that’s “London, England”) is that we rely very heavily on public transport. Driving around London is crazy. Therefore, I need to know fairly instantly where the nearest rail or tube station is to any location in the city. Apple maps only really allows this at fairly large scale – if you zoom out, stations disappear. This is a major barrier to using the app to move around London efficiently. There are many inaccuracies but the public transport issue is a really big design problem

  • RisingStar

    The problem is that the business data is so poor that I can’t see them fixing it without buying the data from Google. Locally a very simple test – to find Costa Coffee – returned 2 local coffee shops, Google found all 5. Almost every attempt to find anything is frustrated, try the Cambridge Theatre in London. Google finds it and directs you. Apple every time returns the City of Cambridge which is 40 miles away. The google app is so reliable and so much better that I simpily can’t see Apple achieving the same quality even after years of work, so I think they should give up and focus on updating iOS or something else more useful and return the Google map as default – which is how everyone I know uses mapping on their phone.

  • Marty

    Yes, they are making progress, but they are still too slow. Even in other Asian countries, Apple Maps is still far behind Google Maps or other local map provider.

  • DJC

    The main issue in the UK remains – Apple have abandoned the accepted scheme for road identification making the maps unrecognisable and therefore pretty much useless. Every (and that is every) other map of the UK adopts the same conventions without which the maps of familiar places are pretty much unuseable

  • Nigel Chatfield

    UK maps remain appalling. Flyover redundant when half the villages are missing.

  • Dimitri

    Our family Motel business (Motel Oasis Gisborne) is not showing in Apple Maps. Not only that but instead it is pointing our clients to three other Motels in the area. We now have put the Motel up for sale because of all the cancellations!

    I have been reporting it as an error on my iPhone every fortnight starting from the first day that Apple Maps came out. I got ZERO response. Google Maps on the other hand took less than a day to solve the issue.

    Maybe Mr Tim Cook should be spending some of the billions in the bank into hiring some more people to fix these problems. These ‘flyovers’ and 3D graphics are all very fancy but at the end of the day we want Maps Apps that work. Not just look fancy!

    As soon as we sell the Motel (if the buyers find us!) I will be selling my iPhone. Only reason I am keeping it is to ‘report’ the Apple Maps errors!

  • Neffscape

    Apple should ad first fix its satellite imaging problems. In my country (Switzerland) using this feature is impossible.

  • Scapetta

    Would be quite nice if they didn’t think that Stansted Airport was in East London.

  • Scapetta

    …..and this is despite it being mentioned in the first release of this app last year with IOS 6

  • John Miller

    “but when Tim Cook said he was focusing Apple’s attention to fix the issues, he meant it. And it shows.”

    If you live a big city, maybe, but I reported a glaring error in my small city four months ago, where all the shops of a shopping center are listed a 1/2 mile east on a non-existant street. No fix yet as of Sept. 2013.

  • ny3ranger

    I hope with Mavericks they start fixing some location bugs with places. They really havent looked at peoples reports of errors. I dont see any of the issues I have reported. But hopefully with Mavericks more and more people report and Apple hires people to verify (somehow) and update. I want Maps to kick all other map a**.

  • Uniquified

    I don’t care about flyover support. What I want to know is how fast does Apple update it’s POI, which is years behind Google’s. I have sent POI fixes to Apple months ago, and they are still not changed. I think their process is broken, if one even does exist. I would love to use Apple Maps (since Apple doesn’t want to give me the choice of my Map app), but it has to be reliable. Every time I try to use Apple Maps their POI is off. Wrong side of the road, wrong street, etc. I’ll stick to copy and pasting addresses into Google Maps until I can trust Apple’s info. Flyover is marketing visual fluff to me – waste of their time and resources. Freaking buy Yelp or TomTom or something. Although TomTom’s POIs were never very good IMO.

  • Jon

    I have been continuously submitting a correction for a misspelled street name since I first had access to the new Apple Maps. So that’s 16 months. It is still misspelled.

  • Ergphobia

    POI data for New Zealand is still full of error from the first release of Maps in ios6. I have submitted numerous “report an error” for the same poi and it never changes. Did the same on yelp and it was fixed within 24 hours. Seem to be the Apple just does not commit any resources to small markets like NZ.

  • Alvaro

    3D Maps are well and good but when you live outside the US you don’t even have streets on the regular maps…… The phone forces apps to use MAPS but in my area it makes everything useless. PUNTA CANA, Dominican Republic. It doesn’t even recognize the local International Airport as a weather location and even weather apps can’t work properly.

    I have reported this correction a number of times and still nothing. It is such an anoyance it makes me consider other phones when I end up changing my iPhone 5……

  • [anonymous]

    Apple needs a map-maker like Google Maps has. People can literally draw and redraw streets themselves. It’s funny, I always use Apple Maps for navigation and there have been some annoying flaws (not dangerous, just lack of detail especially for walking directions and trails). What I did was draw out my trails I wanted on Google Map Maker, had them added to Google Maps, and in a little less than a month, the showed up on Apple Maps nearly identical to how I drew them.

  • Joe Spitzak

    The imagery in Northern Virginia (Ashburn) is at least 6 years out of date. One would think being within 35 miles of the nation’s capital it would not be so far out of date.