Virtual driving through German cities with Google Street View has been a trend since 2010. Apple now offers a similar function – and has thus surpassed the top dog several times.

It’s an inconspicuous little knob. But if you press the binoculars in Apple’s “Maps” app, after a few seconds you will have a relatively up-to-date panoramic view of almost every street in Germany. This means that Apple’s “Look Around” function already has a lot more to offer than Google’s “Street View” ever had. Although Google had a lead of almost a decade, it probably stopped working in Germany at some point, probably frustrated. The reason: Too many people wanted to pixelate their houses, so that the tracking shots through many streets eventually resembled the blurry way home after a night of drinking.

Despite data protection: Apple dares to try again

It is all the more astonishing that Apple dares another attempt to photograph Germany under the same conditions. The company follows a few rules: people’s faces are just as unrecognizable as license plates. But not all information is hidden: names on houses can of course still be read.

A single click is all it takes to start the journey yourself. As soon as small binoculars can be seen on the app’s map, the “Look around” feature is available for the section. In the version for MacOS you can find the binoculars in the top menu bar. If this is dark grey, you can look around. Zooming often helps to find a suitable spot.

If you want to find out where Apple’s vehicles – or people with a backpack – are traveling, you can find an up-to-date list of time slots in which employees with cameras are in certain circles on the company’s information page.

How to pixelate your house

This page also provides tips on what Apple is doing to protect people’s privacy and where to report if you have a problem with the recordings. It reads, “If you have any comments or questions about this process, your privacy rights, or would like to request pixelation of a face, a license plate, or your own home, please contact us.” Behind this notice is the email address “”, which you can contact.

Due to the late start of the function, Apple has already overtaken its competitor Google – because Google’s map material is very old and therefore hardly usable for current research. For example, Google dates a comparable recording, as can be seen in the lead, to 2008. The recordings from Apple are from 2020 – so they are almost two years old.

It remains exciting to see whether Germany will again defend itself against the photos of houses as it did in 2010 when Street View was launched. Germany is considered the only larger Western European country for which there are neither current nor comprehensive Street View recordings – or will be.