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Apple Maps just got the feature that made Waze so much better than Google Maps

Published Feb 10th, 2021 7:31AM EST
Apple Maps vs. Waze
Image: blackzheep/Adobe

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  • Apple has rolled out a new Apple Maps feature with iOS 14.5 beta that iPhone users in the US can test out right now.
  • Apple Maps supports incident reports, the signature feature that makes Waze so much better than Google Maps.
  • Google has also added incident reports support to Google Maps after Waze made the feature so popular with drivers.

Google owns two popular navigation apps that are very different. Google Maps has been developed in house for more than 15 years and contains a slew of features that make it a great tool to have installed on your smartphone to navigate your area or a new city and discover new things to do. But Google purchased Waze a few years ago after the app became so popular with drivers. Waze came up with a concept to improve the navigation experience that took off immediately: Crowdsourced real-time information about the road ahead. Waze lets you report incident reports as they happen and see reports from other drivers using the app on the same route. This is the kind of feature that can dramatically improve navigation and offer faster routes when road issues are detected ahead. In recent years, Google has started moving incident reports to Google Maps as well, proving once again how popular the Waze feature really is. And in iOS 14.5 beta, Apple Maps now includes its own incident reports feature.

iOS 14.5 is available in beta form to developers and anyone registered in Apple’s public beta program. Install it and use Apple Maps for navigation, and you’ll discover a new menu in the app that lets you report these incident reports.

Apple Maps
Apple Maps screenshots from iOS 14.5 beta show the new incident reports user interface. Image source: MacRumors

As seen in the screenshots above, via MacRumors, there’s a Report button in the interface that lets you report an accident, hazard, or speed check while you’re on the road.

To get to the menu, you’ll have to swipe up on the Apple Maps interface, where map details are available in navigation mode. Tapping the incident types automatically flags the location with no additional confirmation needed.

Siri will also let you know that you can report accidents and hazards along the way when you start the first new navigation experience after upgrading to iOS 14.5. After that, you can use voice input to file your incident reports. Just say, “Hey Siri, there’s an accident,” and Siri will send the same report without you having to touch the screen.

Presumably, if enough people share incident reports around the same location, that information will show up in Apple Maps, so other drivers will be warned that some obstacle might slow them down.

The Apple Maps incident reports feature is only available in the US, where it’s being tested. But it will likely roll out to more markets at some point in the future. If you need real-time information about the upcoming trip, you’re going to be better off with Waze or Google Maps for the time being.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.