Google Maps and iOS 12 update bring reliable directions to Apple CarPlay

When Apple announced that iOS 12 would enable Apple CarPlay to work with third-party navigation apps, including Google Maps, all we could repeatedly ask was 'Are we there yet?'

Starting today, we are there: you no longer have to rely solely on the often-wayward Apple Maps, as the newly launched iOS 12 update and a fresh Google Maps update bring the directions app to CarPlay-equipped cars.

All of this works from your phone. You'll need to download iOS 12 to your iPhone and go to the App Store in order to update to Google Maps 5.0. Warning: you won't be able to use Siri with Google Maps on CarPlay, according to 9to5Mac, but there is a built-in Google voice search.

Google Maps won't be alone for long, either. Waze, the other popular Google-owned mapping software, will also be receiving an app update to work with CarPlay. Google Maps just happens to be the first one out of the gate.

Why this is great news

Google Maps 5.0 with Apple CarPlay support is a big deal for a variety of reasons, at least as far as we can see it.

First and foremost, it's reliable. It's the mapping software we use everyday. Sure, Apple Maps has improved a bunch since it first launched in 2012, we can't deny that. But that was a low bar and we still find ourselves using Google Maps as our default navigation software. Google has refined its software for years – with all of our data.

Second, because we use Google Maps so much, we have all of our saved locations, pins, and home and work addresses saved to our Google account. You may be in the same boat – or car. Our Apple Maps custom points of interest are sparse in comparison. 

Google Maps is also easy to use on a computer via the web as well as on a phone via Google's app. That's why we save everything to it. It's versatile. Apple Maps on a computer is strictly tied to a pre-loaded Mac app (remember that?). It's not something we open very often, hence the lack of points of interest.

This makes the CarPlay experience infinity familiar and useful, and overall, it's nice to see Apple becoming more receptive to opening up its software ecosystem.

Matt Swider