You've been wanting it for years, and Apple finally said it was coming in 2018, and now it's upon us: The mass exodus from Apple Maps to Google Maps. Provided that you have the latest version of Google Maps, and your iPhone is running iOS 12, you can now plug your phone into a CarPlay-enabled infotainment console and never deal with Apple Maps' oddities again.
Once you've gotten Google Maps up and running in CarPlay, we wouldn't blame you if you thought you'd accidentally opened Apple Maps -- the two interfaces look almost identical. What we thought was Apple-specific visual design has been carried over to Google's navigation app, right down to the typeface.
However, you'll now be taking advantage of Google's arguably superior mapping data, arrival time estimations, congestion avoidance tricks, and voice recognition. Yeah, there are a lot of upgrades here that iOS users have been missing out on, unless you avoided CarPlay altogether and just mounted your phone in front of you. And that's not nearly as much fun, especially if you're driving one of those vehicles where CarPlay costs hundreds of dollars extra. Looking at you, BMW.
While entire comedy routines have been built on Siri's difficulty with understanding what you're saying, the Google Assistant may be the best available to the general public. In a moving vehicle where road noise can make it difficult to hear people in the backseat, a virtual assistant with good hearing can make a big difference if there's an unexpected change of plans.
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In our experience with Android Auto, actually typing a street address is practically gauche. You just speak your destination, and Google figures out the rest.
In case your iPhone hasn't gotten iOS 12 yet, you can check for the update by opening the Settings app, scrolling down, tapping General, then Software Update. Every iPhone from the 5S to the SE to the XS Max is compatible with iOS 12; older devices will be out of luck.
If your iPhone is in the "Yes" column, we recommend making a backup of your phone's contents in iTunes before upgrading, just to be safe.
Apple also announced earlier this year that Waze (Google's other navigation app) is coming to CarPlay with iOS 12, but we don't have an ETA. Meanwhile, Apple Maps is undergoing a major overhaul as well, but that's apparently not ready for prime time just yet.
- If you have iOS 12 and the latest version of Google Maps, you can now use the app in Apple CarPlay.
- If you've never used Apple CarPlay, we have step-by-step instructions to get you set up.
- Visually, Google Maps in CarPlay is very similar to Apple Maps, but you still get most of the benefits of Google's navigation app.
- Google Maps redesigned Explore tool rolls out; this mobile app is getting hard to beat
- Google's Datally app for Android can now reserve mobile data in case of emergency
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