Apple Maps more data-efficient than Google

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Well, it seems as if there is actually something good to be said about Apple Maps - it uses a fifth as much data as Google's version.

While some might argue that it only gives a fifth as much information too, at least users aren't paying huge download costs for the privilege.

According to data analysis company Onavo, Apple Maps is so much more efficient because of its use of vector graphics, which means that map images don't have to be downloaded every time the user adjusts the view.

"Our data experts performed an identical series of activities on Google Maps and Apple Maps that included searching for several US cities, addresses and airports and zooming in and out to locate specific locations," says the company.

"On Google Maps, the average data loaded from the cellular network for each step was 1.3MB. Apple Maps came in at 271KB – that’s approximately 80 percent less data! On some actions, such as zooming in to see a particular intersection, Apple Maps’ efficiency advantage edged close to 7X."

In Satellite View, too, Apple Maps uses half as much data as Google, it says.

Onavo says its calculations show that maps account for five percent of iPhone data traffic.  "Apple’s drastic improvement in data efficiency will be welcome news both for consumers watching their megabytes, but also for the mobile networks that are transferring all those megabytes," it says.

Apple's come under serious fire for the inadequacies of its Maps application, over issues such as missing towns and roads, 'melted' bridges and lousy satellite views. Last week, CEO Tim Cook issued an apology, promising that users should see an improvement soon.