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These new iOS 18 Apple Maps features are great, but I still won’t ditch the app I use

Published Jun 12th, 2024 3:50PM EDT

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I’m one of the people who, after avoiding Apple Maps like the plague after it first launched, eventually made the jump from Google Maps and have been perfectly happy ever since. However, Apple Maps coming for one of my favorite apps now has me a little sour.

Apple Maps has been a great partner to me for hiking and backpacking — at least when it comes to getting to and from the trailhead. Ever since Apple added offline maps to the service, I’ve been able to ditch Google Maps completely as that was the last feature I needed to use Apple Maps for everything. There’s nothing like leaving a trailhead and not being able to get directions.

When it comes to navigating the trails themselves, however, AllTrails has been my go-to app ever since I started hiking. I honestly don’t think I would have gotten as much into hiking, camping, and backpacking without it. And now, Apple Maps wants to start competing with it.

This week, the company hosted WWDC 2024 and, as part of its updates to Apple Maps, announced that it is adding “thousands” of hiking trails to the mapping app.

In Apple Maps, users can browse thousands of hikes across national parks in the United States and easily create their own custom walking routes, which they can access offline. Maps users can also save their favorite national park hikes, custom walking routes, and locations to an all-new Places Library and add personal notes about each spot.

Trails on Apple Maps in iOS 18. Image source: Apple Inc.

I’m sticking with AllTrails

While it’s cool to see Apple bringing actual hiking trails to Apple Maps, I’m going to be sticking with AllTrails for a number of reasons.

The first reason is a pretty simple one, and that’s that Apple Maps, while now featuring thousands of trails, only includes trails in national parks. If you’re looking for trails in state and local parks, you’re going to be out of luck. So, just from an availability standpoint, AllTrails is an easy choice here.

The second reason is that AllTrails has many more features than Apple Maps does for getting out in the backcountry. From multiple kinds of downloadable maps, the ability to share my location on a trail with family and friends, and the ability to preview a trail before hiking it, there are so many awesome features that AllTrails provides hikers, bikers, and more who want to get out there.

Hiking trails in Apple Maps on macOS Sequoia.

I could see myself checking out Apple Maps for a trail here and there, especially for a simple day hike. The turn-by-turn directions that Apple is boasting for trails is an awesome feature and, if it actually works, is definitely something that would give it a feature that AllTrails doesn’t currently have. I do regularly make a wrong turn, only to be notified by AllTrails so I can backtrack. Getting notified to just make the right turn is a sweet feature, especially when you’re on a trail in the middle of the wilderness.

Instead of trying to replace AllTrails, I think Apple Maps might actually end up being a good funnel to send people to the app once they want more features. For those who may have not downloaded AllTrails, starting with Apple Maps for hikes might eventually get people wanting more and land them with AllTrails and similar apps. The way I see it is that Apple Maps will be for hiking beginners, and AllTrails is the app you’ll upgrade to when you want more.

So, welcome Apple Maps! Bring more people on the trail. I’ll certainly give it a go to freak out when I get turn-by-turn directions in the woods. But I’m keeping my AllTrails, too.

Joe Wituschek Tech News Contributor

Joe Wituschek is a Tech News Contributor for BGR.

With expertise in tech that spans over 10 years, Joe covers the technology industry's breaking news, opinion pieces and reviews.