What Happens When You Report a Problem To Apple Maps?

Apple Maps Report A Problem Screen
There have been some questions on the Apple support forum about how long it takes for a business listing update to make it to Apple Maps. While I don’t have any definitive information, here’s my speculation on how the process works when you “Report a Problem” with a business listing. If you have any insight or think I am wrong, please let me know in the comments:

According to my sources, Apple only updates its business listing index about once per month. And before an individual listing gets updated, it needs to get verified that the information is accurate. My understanding is that Apple doles the verification process out to various data vendors based on the category of the listing. So that means that the process is something like this:

1. Report a Problem submission
2. Add the submission to the batch of recent submissions and categorize update request
3. Send batch to outside vendor for verification
4. Vendor receives batch and queues it for verfication
5. Vendor verifies listing info and places into batch for submission to Apple
6. Vendor submits verfied batch to Apple
7. Apple matches up the verified data with data from other vendors (meaning sometimes the updated data gets over-written by another data vendor Apple trusts more)
8. Apple updates its listing index and (hopefully) the updated data gets pushed live

If I have come even close to accurately describing the process, as you can see before Apple pushes the update live, it could take several weeks just to make it through the verification system. And if a verified update is sent to Apple a minute after the latest index update, then it could take an additional 30 days for it to go live.

I am sure Apple is working on ways to speed up this process, but it’s likely a hugely complex system that is not easily updated.

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  1. Do you get the sense that all the different types of problems that you could report take the same length of time to update (assuming a given update sticks)? In your December 5 post although you say it’s “unlikely” that a given change would go through “immediately,” to me that implies that you’ve seen *some* changes get processed immediately–even if it only happens once in a blue moon. So I’m not sure how that dovetails with the rigid once-per-month ETA.

    Just as a side-note here: I’m really curious what source(s) Apple gets its category list from. I’ve been through the list and there is some crazy stuff on there.

    1. I haven’t seen anything “immediate” except as relates to changes in Yelp data (e.g. reviews, tips, photos etc.) that seem to get updated in near real-time. I have not been able to witness any regular updates. Things just seem to get fixed whenever. I have been doing some tests around having multiple people report the same problem to see if increased signals speed up updating, but those have not had any effect thus far.

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