iPhone SE Apple Maps in China

mk313

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Original poster
Feb 6, 2012
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We are travelled from to China next month and I’m curious if anyone who has been there can comment on the default apple maps app.

I generally use Waze for US driving, but know that google services are banned in China, and my go-to offline mapping software ((Here we go) doesn’t have offline maps for China. Based on some internet research, I did download maps.me, but I’d prefer to stay with the default app if it works. So far all of our hotels have shown up on Apple maps but every time i try to get driving directions (to the hotel from another location within China) it gives me a message that directions are not available.

We will have data on our phones, so I’m not worried about needing to access online data.

Thanks in advance,
 
Last edited:

JPack

macrumors 603
Mar 27, 2017
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We are travelled from to China next month and I’m curious if anyone who has been there can comment on the default apple maps app.

I generally use Waze for US driving, but know that google services are banned in China, and my go-to offline mapping software ((Here we go) doesn’t have offline maps for China. Based on some internet research, I did download maps.me, but I’d prefer to stay with the default app if it works. So far all of our hotels have shown up on Apple maps but every time i try to get driving directions (to the hotel from another location within China) it gives me a message that directions are not available.

We will have data on our phones, so I’m not worried about needing to access online data.

Thanks in advance,
Apple Maps works fine in China for all features.
 
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jlevy73

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Oct 6, 2015
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Unless you can read Chinese, Apple Maps is very good, and for the most part very accurate. I lived in Beijing for several years and found myself using Apple Maps as my go to. You can get Waze and Google Maps to work if you are using VPN or on T-Mobile. Waze is garbage unless you know Chinese. Google Maps is pretty good as well. I just found it easier and less of a hassle to use Apple Maps.
 
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mk313

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Feb 6, 2012
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Unless you can read Chinese, Apple Maps is very good, and for the most part very accurate. I lived in Beijing for several years and found myself using Apple Maps as my go to. You can get Waze and Google Maps to work if you are using VPN or on T-Mobile. Waze is garbage unless you know Chinese. Google Maps is pretty good as well. I just found it easier and less of a hassle to use Apple Maps.
Fantastic, thanks! I use Waze at home, mainly because a they alert about police, but for ease of use with my iphone, I think that Apple Maps will be more convenient in China. Glad to hear that it works well.
 

stylinexpat

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Mar 6, 2009
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From what I read online Apple has two versions of Apple Maps and one for just China. Can anyone confirm? Is there another Apple Maps that needs to be downloaded for China?
 

jlevy73

macrumors member
Oct 6, 2015
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That's incorrect. Apple has one version of Maps and that version works extremely well in China.
 

mk313

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Original poster
Feb 6, 2012
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That's incorrect. Apple has one version of Maps and that version works extremely well in China.
Actually, there are two versions of Apple maps for China, but nothing anyone has to download. There is the version you get inside of china and the version you get when you are outside of China. The one that you view when you are outside of China is pretty simplistic and lacks a lot of detail, but the one that you see when inside China is really good. (Or at least this was the case as of Nov when we were last there).
 

stylinexpat

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Mar 6, 2009
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Actually, there are two versions of Apple maps for China, but nothing anyone has to download. There is the version you get inside of china and the version you get when you are outside of China. The one that you view when you are outside of China is pretty simplistic and lacks a lot of detail, but the one that you see when inside China is really good. (Or at least this was the case as of Nov when we were last there).
This is what I heard. Is it automatic where it changes when one enters China or something one has to download if one did not buy their iPhone in China?
 

mk313

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Original poster
Feb 6, 2012
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This is what I heard. Is it automatic where it changes when one enters China or something one has to download if one did not buy their iPhone in China?
It happens automatically. We bought our iPhones in the us and the Apple maps worked great once we landed in China, no special workarounds or downloads required.
 
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stylinexpat

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It happens automatically. We bought our iPhones in the us and the Apple maps worked great once we landed in China, no special workarounds or downloads required.
I have traveled quite a lot throughout many countries in Asia. Apple Maps and Google Maps normally tend to work where I go but I wondered if China had their own version for the local market.
 

mk313

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 6, 2012
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I have traveled quite a lot throughout many countries in Asia. Apple Maps and Google Maps normally tend to work where I go but I wondered if China had their own version for the local market.
They do. I forget the specifics as it was a year ago but they only have a few mapping services in the country and anyone who wants to map it has to use one of those services so Apple is using one of the approved mapping vendors. Not sure why it is t available outside of China but maybe that’s part of the license.

Take a look at google maps vs Apple maps for wherever you are going when you’re outside of China. You’ll see that Apple maps is very poor. Then when you’re inside China take another look at the same place and you’ll see a ton more detail. Weird but I guess that’s the deal that they struck to have accurate maps inside the country.
 
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