Sunday, September 23, 2012

Why shared iOS 6 Apple Map links redirect to Google Maps

It took Apple some time to get the Antennagate FUBAR out of the minds of customers. It will take a long time for the iOS 6 Maps SNAFU to be fixed. Every day, something new is discovered that seems to make the iOS 6 Maps experience even more unfinished than we already knew.

The latest example of an unfinished product is what happens when an iOS 6 user shares an Apple Maps link. Shared Apple Maps links redirect to Google Maps on desktop PCs, other smartphones, and even on iOS 6 devices.

The reason should be obvious: Apple has not created a Web hub for Apple Maps yet. links shared via email, SMS, iMessage, or Twitter all redirect to Google Maps on desktops and other smartphones.

Strangely, in what is probably a bug, iOS 6 users who open a URL via Facebook are taken to Google Maps rather than Apple Maps as you would expect. Meanwhile, links shared by Twitter operate properly.

Finally, at least for now,  iMessage / text messages send the location in the form of an attached .vcf file. When texting, it shows up as an MMS message. An Android phone will then have to save the .vcf as a contact, and when opening the contact, the user can tap on the URL to open Google Maps. Additionally, the contact will have address info for the URL.

These inconsistencies will eventually be eliminated by updates to iOS 6 and Maps, but for now many users are frustrated. The redirection from to on desktops will be around until Apple brings iOS 6 Maps to desktop users in the form of a full-blown website.

Those using iOS 6 who are finding themselves lost, literally, without Google Maps, can still use Google Maps as a Web app. It's not as convenient as a native app, but until and unless Google submits and Apple approves a Google Maps app for iOS, it's the best you can expect.

From our perspective, it's unclear that releasing a Google Maps app on iOS would be a good move - or at least, the best move - for the company. After all, it gives Android a major leg up over iOS, and will continue to do so for quite some time.

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