Side by side, Google Maps is better than Apple Maps. No matter what anybody says, that's the truth. But unbeknownst to most people, there's actually something that Apple Maps is better at and it's pretty damn important: Apple Maps is a lot more data efficient, nearly five times more data efficient than Google Maps. Meaning you use less data using Apple Maps.
Of course, that could be twisted into a joke of Apple Maps being more data efficient because it shows you wrong data and/or gets you lost, but according to Onavo, the difference between the data consumed by Apple Maps and Google Maps is really significant:
Our data experts performed an identical series of activities on Google Maps and Apple Maps that included searching for several US cities, addresses and airports and zooming in and out to locate specific locations. On Google Maps, the average data loaded from the cellular network for each step was 1.3MB. Apple Maps came in at 271KB – that's approximately 80% less data! On some actions, such as zooming in to see a particular intersection, Apple Maps' efficiency advantage edged close to 7X.
Why is there such a disparity in data usage? It's because Apple Maps uses vector graphics—the maps resize dynamically as you zoom in and out and doesn't need to download any more data. Google Maps for iOS uses raster graphics, new maps are downloaded every time a user zooms in or zooms out. So it definitely makes sense that Apple Maps use less data—the nice thing to know is that it's a lot less.
And the data efficiency of Apple Maps is pretty important because as carriers begin to cap mobile data plans, the less you use on maps, the more data you can use in other places like using the Internet or uploading pictures to Instagram. If you can get more kilobyte bang for your buck, that's a very good thing. So though Apple Maps is definitely not good right now, if it can improve, it looks like Apple built a very solid and efficient base to build on. [Onavo]