The 8 Best Driving Apps to Make Your Commute More Fun

Turn your phone into a dashcam, have it entertain you while you drive, and more!

Commutes don’t necessarily have to be so stressful, even if you’re the one behind the wheel. In fact, the best apps for driving can help maintain safety, productivity, and even fun while you’re heading to your destination. Ready to improve your week? Check out these driving apps for Android and iOS devices.

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Android Auto

The Android Auto app shown on a vehicle dashboard screen and a smartphone


What We Like
  • Completely hands-free with Google Assistant.

  • Lets you pick the navigation app used for directions.

  • Connects to services like your calendar and reminders.

  • Sends and receives messages.

  • Free.

What We Don't Like
  • Works with Android only.

Distracted driving is a growing concern, so those who want to maintain safe driving while accessing smartphone tools would do well with the free Android Auto app. Android Auto benefits users by offering a simplified interface and large buttons for easy switching between GPS navigation, media, and calls/messages.

What’s great about Android Auto is its compatibility with more than three dozen apps; you’re not stuck with some default choice. Use either Google Maps or Waze for GPS directions. Listen to audio through Pandora, Spotify, Overdrive, Podcast Addict, jetAudio music player, and more.

Connect with others through SMS, Facebook Messenger, Skype, WhatsApp Messenger, the Messages app, and more, all of which can be operated through voice actions, so you never have to take your eyes off the road.

Android Auto has an array of personalization options, such as customizing your launcher screen and setting it to dark mode, and makes it easy to browse content in your media apps. There are also built-in EV charging, parking, and navigation apps to better assist you on your drive.

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DailyRoads Voyager

A screenshot of the DailyRoads Voyager app


What We Like
  • Provides an easy-to-use interface.

  • Records video continuously.

  • Lets you customize the features.

  • You can pay for more features, such as no ads.

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't work with iOS.

Dashcams are more than just a passing fad for posting YouTube videos. These tools help drivers stay safe and ensure accountability for themselves and other drivers on the road (i.e., a video recording of an accident can be decisive when it comes to insurance claims). But if you want the functionality without having to purchase another gadget, there are mobile apps that let smartphones do double-duty as dashcams.

The free (with in-app purchases) DailyRoads Voyager offers many important features in a simple interface: continuous video recording, timestamps and geotags on video/photos, screen brightness adjustment, a built-in file manager/browser, and more. The app also hosts a list of settings to fine-tune and customize the experience.

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MileIQ

Screenshots of the MileIQ app


What We Like
  • Works with both iOS and Android.

  • The simple interface makes following along and understanding easy.

  • You can pay to have it track unlimited drives per month.

What We Don't Like
  • Has problems not catching every trip.

  • The free plan limits tracking to just 40 trips every month.

For many, commuting goes hand-in-hand with business driving expenses (i.e., write-offs used for tax deductions and/or charity). But if you’ve had a busy or exhausting day, it can be easy to forget to write down accurate logs on paper. Thankfully, smartphones with apps like MileIQ can handle all that work for you.

The free (with in-app purchases) MileIQ uses your device’s system clock and GPS to automatically track and log each of your trips. It accurately notes the start and stop times as well as total miles driven (down to a fraction of a mile). Quickly categorize trips as business, personal, or charity, and quickly export the data as (IRS-compliant) expense spreadsheets.

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GasBuddy

GasBuddy app


What We Like
  • Works with iPhones and Androids.

  • Supports filtering the results.

  • Includes competitions to win free gas.

  • It's community driven.

  • Includes other features specific to your vehicle.

What We Don't Like
  • Might drain your phone's battery.

Fueling up is part and parcel when it comes to owning and driving a vehicle. Anyone who has spent enough time topping off tanks understands that a even few cents per gallon certainly makes a difference. And then there’s that rub of looking across the street after your tank is full, only to see another station offering cheaper gas. If you want to make sure that you never overpay again, GasBuddy will be your pal.

GasBuddy (free) has been around for years, thanks to the massive community of users that report/update local gas prices in real-time. The app shows results with filters for price, brand, location, and amenities. Not only will you know if there is a better deal right around the corner, but you can read user-submitted reviews (i.e., extra savings may not be worth a filthy bathroom or terrible service) to help you decide.

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Citymapper Transit Navigation

the Citymapper Transit Navigation app


What We Like
  • It's really easy to understand.

  • The app can run on iOS and Android.

  • Very responsive and smooth.

  • Works without an internet connection (in some areas).

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't support every city.

  • Requires more space than similar apps.

Not all commuters sit behind a wheel when going to and from work. Many, particularly those in larger cities, such as Chicago, San Francisco Bay Area, New York, Seattle, and more, use public transportation, walk, or ride a bicycle. Some may have to do a combination of each. If this sounds familiar, then Citymapper Transit Navigation may end up being the best app you could possibly have on your smartphone.

Citymapper (free) aggregates all local transit data (e.g., departures and stop locations) and computes the fastest route to a destination. The app factors in bus, subway, train, and ferries as well as taxis, car sharing, Uber/Lyft, bicycling, and walking. Receive real-time alerts for delays or disruptions in transit lines, and offline maps allow you to navigate when you can’t get a steady data signal.

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Audible

Audible app


What We Like
  • Massive collection of content.

  • Very much a hands-free experience.

  • Free for a limited time.

What We Don't Like
  • Limits you to three titles every month.

Those who have long commutes might find themselves regularly grumbling about all the hours that end up lost each week. But that time doesn’t have to be left to waste, not when listening is the new reading. If it’s been a while (or never) since you’ve enjoyed a good book, then Audible will completely change your perspective on those trips to and from work.

The subscription to Audible ($14.95 per month) includes a credit for one free audiobook each month (regardless of price); these books are yours to own forever. Audible (an Amazon company) offers the largest collection of audiobooks, essentially guaranteeing something for everyone. Don’t like a book or its narrator? Swap it for free anytime.

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Pocket Casts

Pocket Casts app on smartphones


What We Like
  • Provides curated suggestions.

  • Clean design that's simple to navigate.

  • Runs on Android and iOS devices.

What We Don't Like
  • Missing the option to download episodes in bulk.

If you're interested in recorded radio, internet, or TV shows, then podcasts may be more appealing than audiobooks. Various types of podcast genres available cover news, sports, entertainment, business, science, education, politics, interviews. opinions, and more. So if you want to catch up on favorite content without the interruption of ads, Pocket Casts (free with in-app purchases) is the way to go.

The Pocket Casts interface is organized and easy to use, making it a breeze to subscribe to and browse through all your favorite podcasts. The app automatically checks for new episodes (you can choose to receive notifications) and also offers auto-downloading for offline playback. Settings allow you to customize playback so you can focus more on listening and less on fiddling with controls.

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Headspace

Headspace app


What We Like
  • Has a fun user interface that's easy to use.

  • Downloads quickly.

  • Offers multiple ways to pay.

  • Provides original content.

What We Don't Like
  • You have to make a user account.

  • Many features are missing in the free plan.

Sometimes, there’s no amount of music, audiobooks, or podcasts to help ease the end of your day. If you often find yourself white-knuckling (e.g., steering wheel, handlebars, balled fists, etc.) then reducing stress and increasing calm will do wonders for safer driving and overall well-being. All it takes is a few minutes with the Headspace app to elevate your mental state.

Headspace (free with in-app purchases) guides users (those who are more experienced can opt for unguided) through mindful meditation techniques. The app offers a wide variety of sessions, grouped under broad topics of happiness, health, brave, work. performance, sport, and student. A brief session before you start driving (it’s not recommended to meditate while driving) can greatly improve your commute perspective. Riding public transportation? Feel free to delve into any exercise that sounds good in the moment.

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Available on: Android, iOS

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