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iPhone users welcome return of Google Maps

  • Google Maps Back on iPhone.jpg

    Dec. 13, 2012: The world's most popular online mapping system returned late Wednesday with the release of the Google Maps iPhone app, shown here on an iPad.AP Photo/Google

  • Google Maps Back on iPhone 1.jpg

    Dec. 13, 2012: The new Google Maps application is demonstrated in New York. The world's most popular online mapping system returned late Wednesday with the release of the Google Maps iPhone app.AP Photo/Karly Domb Sadof

  • Google Maps indoor directions.jpg

    May 9, 2012: A new update to Google Maps offers not just maps of indoor locations but walking directions within buildings.Google

They once were lost — but now they’re found.

Consumers welcomed the return of a Google Maps app to its iPhones yesterday — after enduring three months of bad directions from Apple’s lousy replacement.

“My life has clear direction again!” tweeted one user, Manhattan-based fashionista Coco Rocha.

The mapping tool, which Google launched at 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday, quickly became the most downloaded free app in Apple’s App Store.

In New York City, smartphone users hailed the tool as a better way to find subway stations and social events and explore new neighborhoods.

“I used it today to come to Brooklyn for the first time — it makes a big difference,” said student Albert Lee, 28.

Apple pulled the plug on its Google-based map app in September and replaced it with its own Apple Maps for the iPhone 5 and upgrades to earlier models.

The Apple app wrongly led users to far-off deserts and oceans and misspelled landmarks.

Australian police even called Apple Maps “potentially life-threatening” after it steered drivers deep into the wilderness, where they were stranded for days without water.

Apple CEO Tim Cook offered a rare apology over the fiasco and advised users to go to Google Maps on their devices’ Web browsers.

The new Google Maps app features “3-D” street-level photography, “turn-by-turn” directions and more-detailed public-transportation directions.

A Google spokeswoman would not release the number of Google Map downloads yesterday, but tech buffs say the app is poised to break records.

More than 11,000 users had reviewed Google Maps in the App Store yesterday afternoon, giving it an average score of 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Google’s mobile director, Daniel Graf, declined to discuss Apple’s controversial replacement of its map service, saying only that he’s excited about the new app.

“I can say that everyone around the table is happy now,” Graf told The Post.

So are adventure-seeking New Yorkers, who welcomed the tech tool as a way to feel safe when traveling to new parts of the city.

“It’s a good idea — I get lost when I’m far from home,” said student Stephanie Pacheco, 20.