Over Google Maps How Apple Maps won on UK iPhones – despite Waze

Data supplied by ComScore sheds further light on the effectiveness for Apple of muscling Google off the iPhone’s maps,


A screengrab of an iOS 6 Apple Maps rendering of London in 3D view: as the default mapping app, it led huge numbers of iPhone owners in the UK to drop Google Maps on their phone,

Perhaps it was entirely predictable that Apple’s Maps app for the iPhone would garner millions of users as soon as it became available; enough, according to ComScore, for Google to lose 23m users in the US.

After all, Apple Maps became the default on the iPhone – and most people don’t change defaults. On the iPhone, in addition, it’s particularly hard to do so without “jail breaking” the device; though on a standard phone one can use different mapping apps, any geographic link in an email or calendar appointment will open in Apple’s app.

But when the newsfront published that data, some queried the data collection (though ComScore’s methodology is robust). Others queried whether the Israeli company Waze (which Google bought in June 2013) might have made up the difference, or at least some of it.

And yet others suggested that Apple’s Maps are worse in Europe than in the US, and that therefore use of Google Maps would be higher in Europe (and the UK) than in the US – or at least that the drop-off would have been less.

But data Say’s none of those is the case – and that the fact of being the default app on the iPhone has meant that Apple Maps is far more used than Google’s offering on the iPhone.

The data for the latest figures was collected via the GSMA Mobile Metrics measurement product, so measures the app being used if someone queries map data while not connected to a Wi-Fi network.

European numbers

According to ComScore’s European data, in the UK in October 2012 Google Maps usage on iPhone was 6.07m users – against no measurable number for Apple’s Maps app.

The data about app use is collected anonymously from mobile operators. Hesham Al-Jehani, Europe mobile product manager for ComScore, noted: “the Google Map figures are only based on those who use the app using an operator data network, so it doesn’t include those who use it only on a Wi-Fi connection.” But he thinks the latter “is probably not that many and shouldn’t affect the trend.”

In October 2012, ComScore’s separate data, collected from its statistically robust panel of owners, shows that there were 8.57m iPhone owners in the UK – which would mean that 70.8% of owners used the maps app, which would be Google’s, at some point.

But by September 2013, total use of Google Maps had dropped to 1.83m UK iPhone users even though the total ownership had grown to 10.35m. Apple Maps users, meanwhile, totalled 6.23m, or 60.2% of all users.

There’s no way to tell how many of the Google Maps users deployed it exclusively, nor how many carried on using it because they were still using phones running the older iOS 5, which cannot use Apple Maps.

Even so, it suggests a dramatic drop in the number of Google Maps users on the iPhone – by 4.24m, or 70% – which mirrors that in the US.

For Apple, removing Google from the iPhone and installing its own maps system was a strategic move which it made to be able to control elements such as voice-guided satellite navigation, location-based search, advertising and shopping, and to avoid giving up user data which Google would be able to monetise – and grow stronger from.

It has extended that shift to its desktop OSX operating system, where it has replaced Google Maps as the default mapping app, and has its own separate desktop application which can also send links directly to iPhones.

Posted By Mantosh Pal


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