If you are one of the bajillion people who have downloaded iOS 6 since it became available last week and are furious/frustrated with Apple for doing away with the Google Maps app in lieu of its own less-than-ideal brand new Apple Maps app, there is a workaround if you want to revert back to using the far superior and far more accurate (IMHO) Google Maps so that you can actually arrive at the correct destination.
Just go old school. Back to the days before cool native client apps — use the mobile browser version of Google Maps.
The mobile browser version of Google Maps provides all of the same functionality of the old native iOS app. It did seem to run just a tad slower for me this morning, but that might just have been my network connection (it’s always a little slow when working inside my office). But, I’ve had no problems with this workaround, and by saving the mobile browser link to my iPhone’s home screen, Google Maps is just as conveniently accessible to me as it was before I upgraded to iOS 6.
These instructions pertain to Safari on iOS 6. I don’t use Chrome on my iPhone, so I don’t know if these steps will if you use Chrome as your default browser.
How to Save Google Maps to Your iPhone or iPad
- Open Safari, and search for Google Maps, then click on the link.
- You will receive a prompt to install this web app on your phone, with instructions to add it to your home screen. Proceed as instructed.
- Move the new Google Maps icon to your home screen for easy access.
- Use this new mobile browser “app” just as you did the old iOS Google Maps app.
- Try finding your current location (tap on the location/compass-like icon to position Google Maps to your current location), or search for directions to or from your current location.
- If all works fine, you are good to go — you already have Location Services enabled for the mobile web app.
- If you receive an “unable to determine your current location” alert, proceed to the next set of instructions for Enabling Location Services.
How to Enable Location Services for Mobile Google Maps
- If you receive the aforementioned “unable to determine your current location” alert, you’ll see a link that provides instructions for opting into Location Services. I did not find these instructions to be accurate for iOS 6.
- Instead, go into Settings > Privacy > Location Services.
- Turn on Location Services for Safari. Safari is in the third menu set down.
- Launch the new Google Maps icon from your home screen.
- You will receive a prompt advising that Google Maps would like to use your current location. Click “OK” if you want Google Maps to be able to work with your current location. If you decline, you have to manually type in your current location.
- Tap on the location icon (the round compass-looking icon) to position Google Maps to your current location.
- If you are unable to pinpoint your current location, restart your iPhone just to reset your phone to the Location Services modifications you just made.
- Repeat step 4.
- You can now use Search, Directions, and Layers like normal.
Hopefully, Apple and Google will end their turf war and once again allow iOS users to install a native Google Maps app. But, until then, this is the mapping solution I plan to use on my iPhone and iPad. Please let me know how it works for you, or if you find a better solution.