How to bring back Google Maps in iOS 6

iOS 6 ushered in a new mapping app, kicking Google Maps off your home screen and straight to the curb. If you find yourself missing Google Maps, there are a few ways to bring it back.

One of the biggest changes iOS 6 brings forth is the new Maps app, which is no longer powered by Google's robust mapping software.

As you get to know Maps on iOS 6 , you'll discover the new 3D maps and the Flyover feature, along with long-awaited turn-by-turn voice navigation. These features are certainly impressive, but the new Maps app lacks anything approaching Google's Street View. Many early adopters have discovered major problems with the app's maps and directions, as well as some hilariously awkward satellite photography . Others have complained that the new Maps app does not feature public transit info.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

If you'd like to return to the arms of Google Maps, the easiest thing to do is access it via Safari or your mobile browser of choice. After loading the page, Google will ask you if you'd like to add an icon for it to your home screen. Google will slap its own icon on your home screen, though it initially grabbed a picture of the current map I was viewing before swapping it out. This is imperfect, but it appears to be the quickest way to use Google Maps on your iOS device right now.

You can get transit info from Google Maps when accessed via a mobile browser. Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

I found that Google Maps was a bit slower with more choppy movement when accessed via Safari, but the maps were still perfectly usable. A menu bar runs across the top of the map and features a search box and four buttons to see your current location, get directions, and see your saved places or select a layer for satellite, traffic, or bicycling.

The free Live Street View app provides a pleasing Street View experience. Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Alas, Street View goes missing when accessing Google Maps via a mobile browser. Like my old boss Ben Patterson suggests on his site, Here's the Thing, I searched the App Store for a Street View app and settled on Live Street View. It's a free universal app, though for 99 cents it'll remove the ads while adding bookmarks and landmarks. With the free app, Street View worked very well and could be a good stopgap solution for Street View users until Google gets a Maps app approved by Apple, which I would assume will happen eventually.

For more on Apple's new mobile operating system, check out our complete guide to iOS 6.

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About the author

Matt Elliott, a technology writer for more than a decade, is a PC tester, Mac user, and amateur photographer based in New Hampshire.

 

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