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How to Get Your Business on to Apple Maps

Why Put Your Business on Apple Maps?

A new customer is coming to visit you. What do they do? Tap your postcode into their phone...

After a dodgy start in 2012, some say Apple Maps has caught up with Google's offering. Between 30% and 40% of UK mobile devices sold each month are i-Phones or i-Pads, and that's a lot of iOS devices if you add them all up. It's clear that Apple is trying to oust Google from its market:

  • All new Apple devices ship with Apple as the default mapping system;
  • Even if you download Google Maps, Apple's remains the default;
  • Siri always uses it if you ask for directions.

So expect more improvements - and more of your potential customers to use Apple Maps to search for local businesses in the future.

Best of all, it's absolutely free!

How to Claim Your Place on Apple Maps

Your business is, most probably, already on the Internet. Make sure you're getting the right message across by taking control of what's written there.

This is about Apple Maps. However, if you haven't done so already, first put your business on the Internet with Google Maps. It's easier, all businesses have a place there, you get more control over your listing, and you'll reach more potential customers. See how to get your business on Google Maps here.

Apple Maps Tips for Both Apple and Windows Users

You need to log into Apple Maps Connect before you can see the help page, but here are the pitfalls.

  1. You must have a permanent business address and phone number. Apple use this to "authorise" your listing. The process takes a some days, so I assume it's a manual check.
    If you don't have a physical address, or if they think you work from home, you can't get a listing (at time of writing).
    If you use a non-geographical phone number, or if you don't have a website, they'll ask for a photograph of your premises that shows your business name, or some other irrefutable evidence.
  2. Be particularly careful with images, as Apple will decide which of, and how, your images are displayed. If you want a modicum of control, get yourself a Yelp business account first. Apple Maps takes images from your Yelp account, crops them, and fades them in and out in an image-swapping movie.
  3. If you don't want a Yelp account, Apple will use a default image. In our tests it used an aerial shot of the location, with our client's office in the middle.
    TIP: Make sure the map pointer is located correctly before you submit your listing for approval.

If you're an Apple user, go to Apple Maps Connect and follow the prompts. I couldn't find an official web page explaining the procedure.

If you're a Windows user, as I am, life is more difficult. I've done this twice: once for ourselves, once for a client. Ours I messed up to some extent, because it was all trial and error. On this page I've distilled what I learned so, hopefully, you'll do better.

You can read all my trials and tribulations on our Apple Maps Connect blog post.

One more thing. If you learn anything new, please comment at the end of the blog so others can benefit.

Just Before You Start

Search for your business on Apple Maps using an i-Phone 5 or later. If you don't have one, get a friend to do it for you. If you do this search on a Windows PC, there's no guarantee your business will be found. We did it on a PC when claiming a client's listing, only to be told there was no matching entry, and we should create a new one. However, there was one, with an old phone number, too.

We ended up with two different listings - and a load of hassle to get rid of the wrong one.

TIP: Don't just search for your business name and location, try the phone number and parts of the address too. If you've moved, or changed your phone number - anytime in the past - search for the old details too.

Here's How To Do It

NB: We expect Apple to improve this process and the way Apple Maps Connect works, so this page, written in May 2016, should get out of date. If you notice anything different when you try to claim your business, please let us know so we can update it. Thanks.

Click the lines below to expand them, click again to collapse.

First collect, and have to hand, all the relevant data. Don't rush and use it yet: read the bit about images, lines three to five below, first. Relevant data means:

  • Your name or a pseudonym if you use one.
  • Your full business name, address and postcode.
  • The email address to use for communications. Apple says authorisation will be quicker if you use one that matches your domain name. We think it looks more professional, so we include one with all our new websites.
    However, a personal email like Gmail or Hotmail will do.
  • Telephone number: Apple confirms your phone number by calling it and announcing a PIN number. This will only work if use your local exchange's STD code.
    A mobile, or non-geographical number (e.g. 0845 of 0333) is OK if you don't have a land line. However, the PIN number process doesn't work. Apple will ask for more proof that you own the business during the authorisation stage.

TIP: It's important to be consistent with your id and location data (name, address, and telephone number). Always use identical information in every business directory, and the same on your website. Search engines use this data to verify your business. Inconsistent data can lead to falling trust levels and demotion in search results.

The rest is optional. The more you have the better, and the higher search engines will list you in search results (probably :-):

  • Your normal opening hours, on each of the seven days of the week; Apple Maps handles multiple periods per day.
  • Your website URL: needn't be your home page, you could make a special landing page for Apple Maps users.
  • Your social media business pages, should you have any: just Facebook, Twitter and Yelp.
  • There's also space for your business's own "Official app", should you have one.
  • Some pictures or movies describing your business or products, or anything that helps describe what you do. There's no limit, apparently.

TIP: I keep most of this data in a Notepad on my desktop. Then, whenever I have to complete an entry in a business directory, it's always available.

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If you don't already have one, create one here.

They will ask you for this information:

  • Your email address;
  • A password. Make sure it's a strong one, 8-10 characters long, and include a special character, like % or &, and at least one number;
  • Your date of birth (NB: US format, MM/DD/YYYY);
  • Three security questions, chosen from drop-downs. Here's the first, the other two are different:
    apple account set-up, first security questions list
  • Be sure to select UK from the country drop-down;
  • Enter a code to prove you are human, then off you go.

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Historically, Apple Maps used the Yelp directory to list UK businesses. Anyone who knew this set up a Yelp account to help get their business found on Apple Maps.

Now Apple Maps has its own directory but, at the time of writing, it still takes images from Yelp. Once uploaded, business owners have little control of how they're used. You may decide to put images on Yelp, or just let Apple Maps use its default image. Here are the issues:

  1. Apple will use the images you've uploaded to Yelp if you already have a Yelp business account.
  2. If you don't, or if you haven't uploaded any images to it, Apple Maps seems to use a satellite image showing your premises.
  3. You can't control the sequence in which Yelp displays the images.
  4. Apple uses the first image you uploaded to Yelp as your main image: you can't change it.

Before you decide what to do about images, please read the next two items, numbers 4 and 5.

I expect Apple will improve this sometime in the future. Google My Business is far easier to use and holds additional, useful data.

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At the time of writing, Apple Maps takes images from your Yelp business account and uses them when displaying your business on Maps. Claim yours here.

TIP: Yelp uses images 650 pixels wide and 410 high. If your image is not this size, it gets expanded or shrunk to fit. Yelp then crops a square from the middle, losing only the edges, to make thumbnails to display on your listing.

It seems you don't get much control over how they're displayed.

  1. You can't delete or change the first image you put on Yelp, and Apple will use it as your main Maps image, stretched and cropped to fit across the top of the page. Ours looks lousy because I didn't know this when I set it up.
  2. Make sure you upload your main image first, and that it's the right size!
  3. You can put more images on Yelp, but it will decide the sequence in which to display them.
  4. You can delete images from your Yelp, account, but you can't delete the first one you put up. At this stage, I'm not sure if this is only because Apple Maps used it.

We already had a Yelp account, ages before we started this process. Here is the BlueTree Yelp page. The first image we uploaded was our logo; the second was the wrong size :o(. Apple used the logo as our default image. We didn't get any choice, and we can't change it.

bluetree's main image, taken from yelp

If you want to use Yelp to control your images, claim your Yelp business account here.

TIP: I inadvertently set up a personal Yelp account (which I didn't want) and then had to set up a separate business account. Yelp's personal and business accounts are separate and different. I don't think there's any need to do set up a personal account.

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Maybe you'd prefer Apple to decide about your image. It's a lot easier than messing about with Yelp. If, like us, you just want to ensure your presence in Apples business database, there's little point in extra work, so you can forget Yelp if you don't have an account already.

TIP: make absolutely sure the pointer on Apple's map is in the correct place, otherwise your default image will be wrong. Here's Force 9's default image. The pointer, were it shown, would be exactly in the centre.

force 9's main image is the default apple one, they didn't have a yelp account

Force 9 is our test client (thanks folks). This image isn't what we would have chosen, as the large warehouse next door dominates the picture.

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Go to Apple Maps Connect. There you'll find a simple form, with easy-to-follow prompts. The page has several sections, each with a blue Edit button, top right.

There are a couple of unusual items:

  1. Do you accept payments by Apple Pay?
    This is a contact-less payment system supported by iPhone 6, 6 Plus and Apple Watch. It allows you to pay for goods and services without having to type a PIN. Unlike Google My Business, Apple holds no information about other payment methods.
  2. Place Status: is this place open?
    This doesn't mean "is it open now" like Google tells you, but "is it still trading". The "is it open now" information it shows by highlighting today's entry in the opening hours list.

Beware of the map: make sure your pointer is in the correct place. Click Edit, highlighted in blue.

changing the pointer location on apple maps

Then click on the map itself. Helpfully, it'll now show you an enlarged satellite image of the area, so you can move the pointer to exactly the right position.

Other Data Required:

Just enter the remaining data in each section.

The only thing I haven't yet mentioned is "Category". You'll need to choose up to three business categories. These are used by the search system to find the most suitable results for any query, so choose carefully. If you can't find a suitable one, or think of something better, you can suggest a new category, too.

As you type in one of the Category fields on the left, a list appears on the right from which you can choose.

There were not many choices when I did ours, but they've added more since.

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Apple need to be sure you are who you say, so you have to enter a code, which they'll give you over the phone. When your page is ready, click Verify and enter the code to complete the process.

start the verification process: click Verify

You may update your page before the process is complete, but you'll need to submit it again, and get a new code.

TIP: this only works for "proper" land line STD codes in the UK. You can't use a mobile, or an 0333 or 0845 number. They simply won't send you the PIN. Neither do they tell you what went wrong. If you don't have a proper number, don't bother to verify it, see below.

Then all that's left is to Submit in the top right corner. Wait a few days for an email approving your submission.

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Don't try to Verify a non-geographic phone number. Nothing happens. Just Submit the page for authorisation anyway. After a while you'll receive an email requesting more information.

  1. Upload verification photos: an image of your building showing the business name plate, or a photo of a board or sign listing your business along with all the others at your location. It won't display these on your page.
  2. Confirmation that the phone number you've entered is the same as that on your website.
  3. Confirmation that the map pointer is in the correct place.

When you next visit your business page, you'll find a dialogue box requesting the photos. There's no mention of the other items. If you need to change the phone number or move the map pointer, cancel the photo upload and make the changes. It'll ask you to upload the images again when you submit the page for authorisation, or if you come back to the page later."submit to apple" button, top right, on an as yet unauthorised entry

Then wait for an email saying your listing is approved!

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Use your Apple device to do this. You'll need to borrow one if you're a Windows or Android user.

If you have a support contract with us, just give us a ring and we'll do it for you - we bought an iPhone for this very purpose :o(

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Don't forget to check if it's working. Always ask new customers:

  • How did they find you?
  • If they found your Apple Maps Connect page, what did they ask Siri for?
  • If not, what would they ask if they wanted to find you?

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bluetree's pointer on apple maps

We're on Google My Business, Why bother?

  • It's free;
  • If you don't, and you change your address or phone number, you'll have a job to get the old information off the Internet;
  • More iPhone users now use Apple Maps than ever before;
  • The numbers are growing.

Too busy?

It's more tricky than Google My Business, but still pretty simple. We'll do it for you if you really want, including cropping and re-sizing a couple of images for Yelp, for £95.

Call us on 0117 339 0095.

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