Apple Maps is only officially available on Apple devices like iPhones and Macs. But, thanks to DuckDuckGo, you can browse or get directions in Apple Maps from any platform with a browser, including Windows and Android.
DuckDuckGo Uses Apple Maps
In 2018, Apple announced the MapKit JS, an API that allows app developers to embed Apple Maps into websites. DuckDuckGo took this framework and used it to build its own mapping tool.
To access it, simply search for a place in DuckDuckGo, then click on the Maps filter at the top of the page, as you would with any other major search engine. You can also try searching for a place name and including “map” in your query.
You can get directions this way by searching for a place, then clicking on the “Directions” button and choosing between walking and driving. You can also view local businesses on a map, but for this to work, you’ll need to share your precise location using the map pin icon in the top-right corner of the map.
Unfortunately, Apple Maps isn’t quite as feature-rich as similar services from Google and Microsoft. This means it lacks information like real-time traffic and directions for cycling or public transport. On the plus side, business listings include Tripadvisor ratings, contact information, and opening hours.
This Stops Short of the Full Apple Maps Experience
Unfortunately, DuckDuckGo’s mapping solution doesn’t quite compare to using a dedicated Apple Maps app on a compatible device. There are no Apple-centric features, like saving favorite places to your iCloud account or syncing directions to a mobile device.
While you can switch between regular map view and satellite imagery, Apple Maps’ impressive-looking 3D photogrammetry isn’t present. Also absent is the “Look Around” street-view feature that is available in some areas when you’re using a dedicated app version of Apple Maps.
If you’re a DuckDuckGo user and you’re willing to trade DuckDuckGo’s privacy for Google or Bing’s superior mapping experience, you can use dedicated bangs to search Google Maps (!maps) or Bing Maps (!bingmaps) directly. You can also query OpenStreetMap using the !openstreetmap bang.
Why DuckDuckGo Chose Apple Maps
DuckDuckGo previously used a combination of OpenStreetMap, Bing Maps, and HERE Maps, but had no dedicated solution of their own. The search engine emphasizes privacy above all else, so using a service like Google Maps (which collects data about whoever is using it) was not an option.
The lack of data collection is what made Apple Maps such an enticing prospect and allowed DuckDuckGo to announce the partnership in early 2019. The search engine reassured its users that:
The search engine also told its users that location information is discarded immediately after use.
Give DuckDuckGo a Try Today
DuckDuckGo is a real alternative to Google that respects your privacy. The search engine does not track or collect data on its users, instead generating revenue from affiliate links and result-based advertising.
Learn more about how DuckDuckGo can protect your privacy.