Apple Maps mishap sees drivers crash airport runway

Hapless Apple Maps caused a scare at an airport when drivers invaded a runway -- because their iPhones told them to.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
Expertise Films | TV | Movies | Television | Technology
Richard Trenholm
2 min read

Would you jump off a cliff if your iPhone told you to? Apparently, some people would -- or at least, they would follow the latest dodgy directions from Apple Maps and drive across an airport runway.

Fairbanks International Airport in Alaska has barricaded access roads after two motorists followed an erroneous Apple Maps route to the airport car park that led them along the taxiway before they crossed one of the runways.

The faulty directions have been given out by the app for at least the past three weeks, but Apple has now changed the app so that drivers are told directions around the airport are not available. Until the app is corrected, barricades will remain in place.

For over a mile the drivers in question ignored signs, lights and painted markings that they shouldn't be driving where they were -- and all because their iPhone told them to.

It's not the first time Apple has had trouble with airports: Apple Maps moved Dublin airport 11 miles to the south this time last year, which must have been quite a shock to any pilots coming in to land at the time. It seems the hapless Maps app was confused by a farm called 'Airfield.'

After warnings about dodgy data from police and fire services across the globe, Apple has struggled to improve the Maps app.

The cartographic cock-ups are the result of a half-baked Maps app full of out-of-date data, which Apple forced on users after falling out with Google over Google Maps. The app was so bad to start with that Apple boss Tim Cook was forced to issue a highly unusual public apology and recommend rivals.

Has your phone ever got in trouble? Has a map app ever steered you wrong? Is Apple Maps better than it was? Please wait for the seatbelt light to be extinguished before leaving a comment, or remain seated while we taxi to our Facebook page.