Android and iOS in comparison: navigation with the smartphone

Android und iOS im Vergleich: Navigation mit dem Smartphone

(c) Google

Android and iOS are the most widely used operating systems for smartphones and tablets. In a comparison, we highlight the similarities and differences between the mobile systems of Google and Apple. The new part of the article series is about navigation with the smartphone.

Android and iOS are the two most widely used mobile operating systems. What do they offer to the users in the individual areas and what are their similarities and differences? In an article series, we compare the Google to the Apple OS. Lastly, when we discussed the app offer for smartphones, preinstalled applications and buying and paying options for Android OS and iOS, the current part is about navigation.

Which card apps are preinstalled on Android and iOS

On all current Android smartphones, a map and navigation app is preinstalled with Google Maps. Under iOS, iPhone owners will find the application Apple maps on the smartphone for this purpose. Both applications are system applications and are therefore usually not uninstall, but only disable. Of course, both systems also offer the possibility to install other card applications. However, we show you what the two systems give users by default.


When it comes to information about shops, places of interest, restaurants and more, Google has a clear lead with Maps. Google has been a leader in collecting data and initiatives such as the “Local Guides Program” to provide a wealth of information. This includes, among others, reviews, photos, opening hours, descriptions, and similar places nearby. Also how expensive a place is, whether it is suitable for disabled, suitable for children and on which day a place at which time is well visited.

Google Maps auf dem Pixel XL | (c) Areamobile

Google Maps provides numerous information about location within the app

Apple Karten auf dem iPhone 7 | (c) Areamobile

Apple Maps refers to Yelp
Apple is accessing the Yelp and TripAdvisor records for its own map application on iOS. However, the two US-American catering portals for restaurants, shops and sights offer much less information in a direct comparison. Information about the disabled friendliness is rare, at the peak hours not at all. Also the straight for restaurants useful link to the menu and pictures of the individual dishes are very rare. This allows users to make a clearer picture of the location in advance.
  • So the location determination by Android smartphone

For example, 550 ratings, more than 80 photos, a brief description, and similar clubs are displayed at the club location “Tresor” on Google Maps. For Apple cards only 108 reviews, few pictures and separate user reviews are available for selection. If you want to access it, you must also install the evaluation app from Yelp on the iPhone. For information from TripAdvisor, users are redirected to the portal’s website, which is much more mobile than the iOS app.

A question of the overview

Comparing today’s map entries with Google Maps with those six years ago, one can conclude that with the same zoom ratio over time more and more city names disappear from the map. Smaller cities are thus only visible when the landscape is deeper. Thus, the map looks at the first glance tidier, while the reinzoomen in the search for a certain place loses however the overview quickly. Apple maps, however, synonymous with smaller zoom levels already many cities, but renounced the labeling of streets and paths at low zoom level.

Kartenvergleich von Google Maps mit Apple Karten | (c) Justin O´Beirne

Google Maps Maps Comparison with Apple Maps (C) Justin O’Beirne

Offline features

For example, if you are on the road with limited data volume or in places with a bad internet connection, the smartphone benefits from a well-implemented offline function of the map app. From the menu item “Offline Maps” on Google Maps, users have the option to select a self-defined map section and, depending on the available space, to store an area the size of Denmark on the Android smartphone.

Many data on Google Maps also available offline

Google does not only store the road maps when saving the map material. Part of the offline map material available are even small streets, parks, lakes, train stations and a variety of stores, petrol stations and attractions. For these locations, the exact address, telephone number, opening hours and the average rating without internet connection can also be viewed.

Google Maps auf dem Pixel XL | (c) Areamobile

The selectable map section is large, but also requires adequate space.

Google Maps auf dem Pixel XL | (c) Areamobile

Cards can be renamed to keep track.
However, downloaded maps do not remain permanently on the device, but are automatically deleted after one month, as long as the section is not updated with new data. On request, however, the update can be made automatically with a WLAN connection and thus keep the cut-out longer.
Offline-Funktionen Android iOS
Offline-Karten Ja Nein
Offline-Navigation Ja Nein
Kartenverwaltung Ja Nein

Owners of an iPhone or iPad are not offered an offline function in the App’s map app. Although some information such as road names or locations of frequently used map sections are kept in the temporary storage, can not be permanently stored on the smartphone. Information such as telephone numbers or opening times to places can not be viewed without an Internet connection. If you want to cover the holiday with enough map material, here is the look. This also removes the offline navigation of Apple’s card service, which has been possible on Google Maps for some time.


For many people, the iPhone or Android smartphone has already replaced the navigation system in the car. However, anyone who is on foot, by public transport or by road, can use Google Maps or Apple maps. For example, there is the possibility to order a taxi or transfer from the app.

Navigation verfügbar für Android iOS
Auto Ja Ja
zu Fuß Ja Ja
ÖPNV Ja (mit Echtzeitinformationen) Ja
Fahrrad Ja Nein
Fahrdienste Ja Ja

The navigation of pre-installed map apps usually works reliably. Both Apple maps and Google Maps show the expected arrival at the destination and the traffic volume for the selected route and are also accurate with the location details. What is missing in Apple’s map app, however, is the possibility of route selection. Users on Google Maps are much more flexible, where two other alternate routes are often displayed depending on the distance from the destination. In addition, the application provides a 360 ° image at crossroads with available street-view data, which helps in orientation.

By bike or by public transport

For cyclists, Google Maps should be the clear favorite of the two map apps. Not only does the service of Google offer the possibility to navigate with the two-wheeler, but also an extra card for cyclists is included. There, the navigability of paths with different colors is shown. A similar feature is not available with Apple cards.

Google Maps auf dem Pixel XL | (c) Areamobile

Google Maps knows the alternative traffic.

Apple Karten auf dem iPhone 7 | (c) Areamobile

Apple cards do everything to avoid the replacement traffic.
What is also missing under iOS with Apple maps are information about delays in public transport. Here, thanks to the cooperation with hundreds of transport companies, Maps provides real-time information on bus and rail. In addition, the iPhone tends to send users to the most abstruse journeys to avoid, for example, rail replacement services. The option of preferring the replacement bus service to buy, instead of extending the journey by six times the change of one and a half hours, is not.

voice control

The language control works well with iOS as well as with Android OS. Both the Google Assistant and Siri usually understand the prompt to navigate to a specific location or person from the phonebook and react with the start of the respective map app. Within Apple’s map service, however, there is no way to search for a street by street, for example, or enter the destination via hand. For Google Maps, this is possible via the search bar at the top of the screen. This also works with active navigation.

If you want to control the next gas station or a resting place during the navigation, you must either try to siri on the iPhone or enter your wish via the touchscreen. When entering via the display, the search for special places in the area during navigation is limited to petrol stations, fast food and cafés. With Google Maps, petrol stations, restaurants, supermarkets and cafes as well as the search by language input are available for interesting places along the route.

Sprachsteuerung Android iOS
Zieleingabe per Stimme Ja Ja
Weitere Infos per Sprachausgabe Ja Ja
Spracheingabe innerhalb der Karten-App Ja Nein

Something difficult is Siri under iOS when asking for specific places nearby. Looking for a BBQ restaurant nearby, the assistant pointed to a Chinese restaurant. Google Assistant, however, discovered a dedicated BBQ house nearby. Siri does not always find the right local context right away: instead of taking me to the park, the language assistant suggested a trip through Germany to a park of the same name. The Google wizard supposed I was going to the park around the corner.


A direct comparison shows that Google Maps is clearly superior in many areas Apple maps. With a lead of several years, Google has a huge record, which even Apple does not get with information from Yelp and TripAdvisor. With real-time information for public transport, bike navigation with its own map for it and the offline function, here are several features that Apple does not have to offer.

A real reason to use the preinstalled map app on the iPhone, there is no better interaction with other parts of iOS like Siri or the calendar. Here Google Maps or Here WeGo offer much more functions and they are also available for iOS. Android users have a very powerful tool with the Google Maps preinstalled map app, which can replace additional apps from the transport providers or specific navigation apps, as required.

Android and iOS: The great comparison of the two operating systems

This article is part of a series of articles in which we compare the different areas of Android and iOS. Click here for further articles of the series:

Equipment and operating aids
This makes the smartphone your personal companion
This is how operating systems operate
Test, buy and use smartphone apps

More about: iPad, iPhone, Android Smartphone, Smartphone, Navigation, Apple Smartphones, Google Smartphones, Mobile Operating Systems, Android 7 Nougat, iOS 10, Android.



Ivy is loves technology and has been addicted to it since childhood. Apart from tech, she loves watching sci-fi / historical documentaries and traveling to new places.

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