Many users are fond of Google Maps, especially since it works well with other Google products. However, iPhone users do not get the default app and are initially stuck with Apple Maps. Although you can get Google Maps, it's not supposed to be possible to set it as default.
However, this does not mean that there are no workarounds or alternative methods. Read on to find out how to use Google Maps as your "default" option.
Why can't I make Google Maps the default map app on iPhone?
You might be puzzled why that is, and the short answer is that Apple has made iOS a closed software ecosystem. In other words, you are always recommended to stick with Apple products instead of third-party alternatives if you can help it.
While iOS 14 allowed users to swap out default browsers, email clients, and music apps, the mapping service is unaffected. However, these changes are the key to making Google Maps the default map app on your iPhone.
If you want to set Google Maps as your default mapping app, the only option is to jailbreak your iPhone. However, doing so is against Apple's Terms of Service and voids any existing warranties. Only jailbreak if you know the risks.
To proceed with any of the methods below, your iPhone must have iOS 14 or later. Older versions will not allow you to set new default apps.
Make Google Maps the Default Mapping App on an iPhone for Chrome and Gmail
To make Google Maps the default, you will need to download and install Google Chrome and Gmail. The reason is that the two apps will work together and even let you set Google Maps as your default map app. With the right settings, you can avoid using Apple Maps as much as possible.
Switch from Mail to Gmail
Apple's Mail app is pretty basic, and the Gmail app lets you sign in to your Google account for better connectivity. Also, when you tap on addresses on Gmail, after some tweaking, you go to Google Maps instead of having to open Apple Maps.
- Go to the iPhone Settings menu.
- Find the Gmail app.
- Select it.
- Tap "Default messaging app".
- Choose Gmail from the list of options.
Now that Gmail is the default mail app on your iPhone, it's time to change some settings within the app.
- Launch Gmail for iOS.
- Tap the menu icon in the top left.
- Scroll down and find "Settings".
- Select "Default apps".
- Under 'Navigate from your location', select 'Google Maps'.
- Do the same for "Navigate between locations".
Whenever you tap an address in an email using the Gmail app, you can choose between Google Maps or Apple Maps.
Problems with iOS 14 and changing default apps
If you are still using iOS 14 and haven't updated to later patches, you may face several issues after performing the above steps. Some bugs reset your default apps to Apple's factory settings after the new favorite app receives updates. This would mean that after updating Chrome, you would have to repeat the above instructions every time.
While Apple has rolled out fixes, users who haven't upgraded to newer versions of iOS may suffer from bugs. That's why updating to the latest version of iOS is usually a good idea. The only exception is if the most recent patch contains serious errors and bugs.
Jailbreak your iPhone
If you don't mind jailbreaking your phone, this is the best way to set Google Maps as your default map app. As you force your iPhone to accept Google Maps as your preferred app, you won't have to choose between the options anymore.
Before jailbreaking, we strongly recommend that you back up your important data. This way you can save it for later.
Although jailbreaking an iPhone may seem difficult, there are various tutorials available on YouTube and how-to websites. Search for instructions by iOS version and iPhone model for best results.
The app you need to install after jailbreaking your iPhone is MapsOpener, which is completely free to use.
Apple Maps remains the only default map app on iPhones, even in iOS 15.2. Whether or not the company will give in and allow users to change the preferred option without jailbreaking is up to Apple.
Google Maps is also superior to Apple Maps in many ways, especially in the following areas:
- Street view
- Public transport
- Discover new places
Can I use Google Maps on Apple CarPlay?
Yes, you can do that. Before connecting it to your vehicle, you must first have Google Maps on your iPhone. After that, you should be able to launch Google Maps on your CarPlay screen and navigate to a location.
Are Apple Maps or Google Maps more accurate?
Google Maps has provided accurate driving directions for many years and is available almost anywhere in the world. It's also more accurate than Apple Maps when it comes to how traffic impacts your travel time. Overall, Google Maps is superior in these respects.
Battle of the apps
Unfortunately, until Apple decides to let users replace Apple Maps entirely with Google Maps, we're stuck with the methods outlined above. It's not the most convenient and even caused bugs, especially on iOS 14. Even though the bugs have been fixed, the workarounds aren't the best.
Do you think Apple should let users have more control over their default apps? Which mapping application do you use the most? Let us know in the comments section below.