UK Satellite images in iOS 6 – One word. Rubbish.

I, like a lot of you lovely intelligent people, live in the UK. Unfortunately, after watching TV ads showing cool new phone features, we can find that things don’t work quite so well here in Blighty.

Mapping on the iPhone and iPad has changed in iOS 6. Most of us will have no doubt used Google Maps on the iPhone or iPad, which offers a pretty good satellite image of your home. Sure, you may have even used Bing Maps elsewhere. This can, in certain instances, provide even better aerial images.


However, a reader has sent in this comparison shot following his upgrade to iOS 6 and the addition of the new Maps App. On the left, Google Maps. On the right, the same location in iOS Maps here in the UK.

It’s safe to say that things are.. oooh, how shall I put this. A bit “grainy”. Some sections are even black and white (yes indeed – hello 1922), and low-resolution blocks seem to be pretty commonplace. It’s only when you hit major cities that things get a tiny bit better, but for the majority of the UK it’s pretty pants really (technical term).

The Apple forums have already lit up about this, and there’s more comparison shots so you can judge for yourself…

Here’s Sir Jonathan Ive’s old school – Walton High in Stafford. Jonathan, just in case you didn’t know, is the senior designer at Apple and is the guy behind the design of the iPod, iPod touch, iPhone, iPad and many other Apple products. First, the satellite image in Google Maps…

..and here’s the satellite image in iOS which, by the way, we couldn’t find by name. Instead the app decided to bring this up instead, which isn’t even the right country.

The 3D setting should offer some enhanced city images, but here’s one we’ve had sent in by WeirdHK and this isn’t even in the UK – this is the Apple store in Hong Kong…

Back here in the UK, major cities look OK in 3D. Here’s the Google 3D map of Birmingham…

..and here’s the iOS 6 Maps version. Pretty good huh ?

But, for those of us emailing me saying, “It’s just load on their servers”, here’s what happens when you step outside of the high-detail areas…

So currently it looks like there’s a LOT of work to do to get these maps looking better. We’re told that map information is provided by major companies and yes, the regular “map views” are tip-top. However, the satellite images are below standard currently.

Update – There’s now a tumblr website showing more of the differences between Google Maps and iOS 6 Maps.

Link – Apple forums
Credit – Ant

Editors note – We’re happy to see that, despite not mentioning us, other sites have picked up on this story now, and they seem to like the way our article was written.

Three UK to stock HTC 8X and 8S
Opinion: Have Samsung's Apple comparison ads gone too far?