Skip to main content

Review: Google Maps 2.0 comes to iOS, reroutes us from Apple Maps

Google Maps 2.0 comes to iOS header
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Google rolled out its sizable update to Google Maps for Android last week. Unfortunately, iOS device owners were left behind. Well, iPhone and iPad owners, you can stop driving around aimlessly: Google Maps 2.0 for iOS is now available. It brings along a significant number of new features, but perhaps the biggest attraction here is the new optimization for the iPad. It’s the first time Google Maps has been made to work specifically on the big screen, making your routes clearer than ever.

Google Maps 2.0 comes to iOS screenshot driving directions
Driving Directions Image used with permission by copyright holder

The new iPad layout works wonderfully. The big screen works to its advantage with the amount of information that Google Maps can now convey. Street View looks better than ever on the iPad, with great shots of the surrounding area that are easy to move through with a tap. The functionality of Google Maps also seems to improve on the iPad, just because you don’t have to move in and out of different screens to access certain information – it’s placed right on the map that you’re already looking at. It’s one of those times where the whole “bigger is better” mantra turns out to be true.

That said, the iPhone version of Google Maps 2.0 is no slouch thanks to the plethora of additions thrown into the app. Most notable is the new live traffic updates that the app received. If there is ever a traffic jam in your way, a car accident, or construction work that could add time to your travels, Maps will now dynamically reroute you, throwing new directions up on the screen that will take you around the hassle rather than right into it. The real-time traffic updates make the app not just valuable for people traveling outside of a familiar area, but also to those that are making daily commutes and prefer to be on time.

If you’re not big on getting behind the wheel to do your traveling and instead opt for two wheels and a handlebar, Google Maps can still serve as a handy tool for you. About 330,000 miles of bike trails have been added for those that opt to pedal their way to a destination, and you can still benefit from voice-guided, turn-by-turn navigation. Now, we can only hope Google adds a warning to bikers, encouraging them to finally start staying in their lanes and signaling their turns. Bikers, sometimes you scare the crap out of us.

No matter what means of transportation you choose, you can benefit from one of the other new features in Google Maps 2.0: The addition of Zagat scores and reviews. If you’re in a new place or just looking for something new to try in the city you live, Zagat reviews can point you in the right direction. Even better, you might be able to find some savings on the new place that you want to check out thanks to the inclusion of Google Offers, which will point out potential deals and savings for you. 

All of the new features of Google Maps 2.0 are accessible through the new style of navigation, which will be familiar to users of the Google Search app. Cards seem to be the trend of Google’s in-app navigation, and it’s present here as well. You can tap on Explore in app and see places to eat, visit, and shop at among other things. These cards pop out and are easy to flip through with ease to get to the information you’re after. If you plan on using any Google app in the future, it’s probably best to get used to this style of presentation, which is fine by us because it works great.

If you weren’t already using Google Maps, be it because of the lack of iPad support or because you were still sure that Apple Maps would do the job just fine for you, then now is probably time to make the switch. Google Maps was already great and it really only gets better with version 2.0. The update adds in features that are handy not just in finding your destination but in getting there as well, and it rounds out the Google Maps app as the best option out there for mobile navigation.

You can download Google Maps for iOS for free from the iTunes App Store

Editors' Recommendations

AJ Dellinger
AJ Dellinger is a freelance reporter from Madison, Wisconsin with an affinity for all things tech. He has been published by…
iOS 17: How to use photo cutout to cut and paste images
The image background remover feature from iOS 16 being used on a photo of a dog.

The iPhone has so many clever and fun little features that it's easy to miss some of them. One of the most whimsical features to come along in recent years is the ability to lift the subject of a photo away from the background so you can use it elsewhere — whether that's sharing it in an email, pasting it into a photo editing app, or even turning it into an iMessage sticker in iOS 17.

What's especially fascinating about this is that it seems like such a simple thing to do — and Apple does make it really easy — but there's a ton of number crunching going on under the hood to make it happen. This means you'll need an iPhone with a reasonably modern processor, but the good news is that it doesn't have to be the latest and greatest iPhone 15 Pro. While the insanely powerful A17 Pro chip in Apple's flagship smartphone surely helps things along, this feature can be used on any iPhone with an A12 Bionic chip or later, which goes back to the 2018 iPhone XS and iPhone XR.

Read more
iOS 17: How to change the clock font on your iPhone
The Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max and iPhone 14 Pro showing the screens.

iOS 17 is the latest version of Apple's mobile operating software, and as usual, it's brought with it plenty of new features and changes to get excited about. While not the biggest update around (it's telling when one of the major changes mentioned is the ability to send your contact information by AirDrop), iOS 17 is still worth paying attention to and getting if you have a compatible iPhone.

Read more
iOS 17: How to add a different home screen wallpaper on your iPhone
An iPhone with iOS 16, showing the new Lock Screen.

One of the most exciting features to arrive in last year's iOS 16 release was a whole new level of customization for your lock screen. Rather than just letting you set a static image, Apple opened the floodgates to allow you to create screens that cycled through collections of your photos of friends, pets, and landscapes, see live weather updates and astronomical conditions, and much more.

The feature remains mostly the same in iOS 17, although Apple made a nice tweak in iOS 17.1 so you can now select any of your albums to show on the Photo Shuffle lock screen rather than being limited to the fixed smart collections of people, pets, nature, and cities. You can also still set up multiple lock screens to cycle through, and that also now means multiple Photo Shuffle screens to choose pictures from different albums. Since these can be set to automatically come up in different Focus modes, you can have your iPhone automatically switch between an album of professional pictures at work and family pics at home.

Read more