Top 8 IPhone GPS Navigation Apps

Compare Features of Best GPS Navigation Apps for the IPhone

GPS navigation apps are among the most popular apps for the iPhone. They are economical, and they provide terrific mapping, search, and turn-by-turn navigation features. Navigation apps for the iPhone fall into two categories: on-board maps, and maps-on-the-fly. The former stores an entire map and points-of-interest database on the iPhone (1GB or more). The latter downloads maps as you drive. I prefer maps-on-the-fly because it takes up less memory on the iPhone and is easier to update. Click on images to enlarge them.

1
MotionX GPS

MotionX GPS Drive iPhone Navigation App
The MotionX GPS Drive iPhone App has a unique menu screen, which shows current location as well as multiple search and navigation options. Photo from Appshopper.com

MotionX was an early entry into the iPhone GPS navigation app market, and that experience is reflected in a powerful, full-featured app. MotionX GPS Drive features include:

  • See your position and tracks anywhere in the world on fast live MotionX open topographic and road maps.
  • Course-up and direction-up maps.
  • Apple Road, Satellite, and Hybrid maps. (iOS 6)
  • NOAA experimental marine charts.
  • A total of nine map choices, no other app offers a bigger selection!
  • Record and save up to 101 tracks.
  • Record time, distance, speed and max speed.
  • Live speed and altitude graphs.
  • Ascent/descent and gradient data.
  • Add a geotagged photo during your activity to share the experience!
  • Save up to 500 personal waypoints for your favorite locations like your home, end of a hike or your favorite restaurant.
  • Use the compass for orientation in True or Magnetic bearings.
  • Post your tracks and waypoints to Facebook or Twitter, or email them to share.
  • Full Wikipedia integration means you have your own personal tour guide.

Also available for the iPad and Apple Watch.

2
TomTom GO Mobile

TomTom US & Canada iPhone app
The TomTom US & Canada iPhone app is one of a family of iPhone apps that include European and South American editions. Photo from Appshopper.com

The TomTom GO Mobile app is a sleek combination of the latest TomTom car navigation technology and world-class traffic information. You will always choose the best route available based on accurate, real-time traffic information that gets you to your destination faster, every day. Features setting this app apart include:

  • World Maps: Install and update maps from around the world at no extra cost.***
  • TomTom Traffic: Always know where delays are and whether a faster route is available.
  • Speed Cameras: Drive more relaxed with speed camera alerts, trusted by millions of TomTom drivers.****
  • Offline Maps: Maps are stored on your device so you don’t need internet access or data roaming to plan a route.
  • Points of Interest: From gas stations to hotels, your app comes pre-loaded with millions of useful POIs.
  • Quick search: Find destinations faster with Quick Search. It starts finding locations as soon as you start typing.
  • Navigate to Copied Addresses: Easily select locations you found on websites or other apps by copying their address and pasting it into Quick Search.
  • Tap and go: Tap on your favourite destination on the map, and you’re on your way.
  • Advanced Lane Guidance: Clearly see which lane to take at key junctions.

The first 50 miles are free.

3
Google Maps for iPhone

Google maps app for iPhone
Google maps app for iPhone. Photo from Cyberfreewishes.com

Google Maps' feature list includes: address and business/points-of-interest search using Google's powerful Local Search utility; ratings and local reviews; sync searches and favorites (with Google login). Choose between several map views: traffic, public transit, biking, satellite, terrain, or Google Earth.

Other settings include notifications, distance units, voice search, and languages, multitudes of which are available. I also like that you can adjust the voice guidance volume separately: softer, normal, or louder. You can also play voice prompts over Bluetooth if you want to use your car's speaker.

Traffic is powered by Waze, which Google owns, and will calculate a way around traffic, if possible. In Google Maps, you can see icons for construction, incidents (like car crashes and potholes), and police presence. Color-coding is used to indicate the amount of traffic.

Last but not least, you get Google's years of hard-won experience and all of the research and fine-tuning it has done on a global basis to present the most accurate map and points-of-interest data possible.

 

4
Waze (free)

Waze GPS and traffic
The Waze iPhone app including social media features has icons for user-generated information along your route. Photo from Newsobserver.com

Waze is the world's largest community-based traffic and navigation app. Join other drivers in your area who share real-time traffic and road info, saving everyone time and gas money on their daily commute. Its "social layer" lets users contribute traffic jam, road hazard, speed trap, and other information to the overall database. If you opt in, Waze detects when you are traveling well below the speed limit, contributing to real-time traffic data for all users. Users may accumulate points for entering new roads, adding points-of-interest, etc.

  • Maps-on-the-fly.
  • Communicate with other Waze users and share reported road hazards and more.
  • Add a photo to road reports.
  • FourSquare, Twitter, and Facebook integrations.

5
AT&T Navigator

AT&T Navigator app
The AT&T Navigator iPhone app is full-featured, including spoken turn-by-turn direction. Photo from Appshopper.com

The maps-on-the-fly AT&T Navigator app uses a different payment model. The iPhone app itself is free, but a $9.99 per rmonth subscription fee is required to use it, and the amount is billed to your AT&T mobile bill. The app is not available via other iPhone carriers (however, there is a similar Verizon app covered here). Features include:

  • Ability to cache maps and points-of-interest data.
  • Voice input.
  • Spoken street name turn-by-turn directions.
  • Traffic detection & avoidance.
  • Free map updates.
  • Gas prices search.
  • Instant route options.
  • Full iOS multitasking support.
  • Spoken commands.
  • Pre-download and cache entire portions of the country (eastern U.S., for example).

6
Verizon VZ Navigator

Verizon VS Navigator app
Verizon's VZ Navigator is known for multiple view options. Image from Downloadatoz.com

Verizon's VZ Navigator, available only to those with Verizon as their carrier, has a monthly $4.99 subscription fee that is billed to your wireless account. VZ Navigator is known for its extensive 3D imagery. It also features audible traffic alerts. Its "SmartView" also lets you select among multiple views, including list, dashboard, 3D, virtual city, and sky views. Also featured are:

  • Roadside assistance based on your GPS position.
  • Facebook integration.
  • Gas price search.
  • Place messaging - share your location.
  • Automatic day/night mode.
  • Full multi-tasking.
  • Spanish-language support.
  • Simulated views of major interchanges and exits.
  • Speech-recognition address input.

7
Navigon USA

Navigon USA
Navigon USA searches for traffic incidents. Photo from Wired.com

Navigon's USA app is $49.99. In addition to driving directions, Navigon also offers pedestrian and biking navigation, though each leaves something to be desired. In addition, features such as public transit navigation (Urban Guidance) and traffic alerts require in-app purchases, which further drive up the cost

This on-board-maps app includes free map updates, but does not include free traffic detection and avoidance, which is an additional in-app purchase. MobileNavigator is known for its no-frills interface that provides detailed information, such as turn-by-turn route lists, and live weather information. Other features include:

  • Multi-tasking and fast-app-switch.
  • Parking spots near your destination.
  • Lane Assistant (see photo).
  • Multi-language support.
  • Single-click "take me home" function.
  • Spoken street names.

8
Magellan RoadMate On-the-Go

Magellan Roadmate app
The Magellan Roadmate USA app includes Yelp integration. Photo from 148apps.com

Magellan RoadMate On-the-Go App ($34.99) gives you the ability to discover new hot-spots around you anytime and conveniently send destinations and contacts to your Magellan SmartGPS and the SmartGPS Cloud Eco-system. Simply enter once and your information is conveniently shared across your Smart-Eco connected devices; iPhone, SmartGPS, computers and tablets.

It also includes information from the popular social rating service, Yelp (see photo). Yelp can be a reliable and honest source of restaurant reviews and reviews of other destinations. Yelp ratings are searchable and browsable from within the app. Connections to BestParking.com, and Foursquare are also available. This on-board-maps app includes free product lifetime map updates and traffic detection and avoidance service. Other features include:

  • Spoken street names.
  • Turn-by-turn background navigation while using another app.
  • Highway lane assist.
  • Address book integration.
  • In-app music control.
  • Find your car.
  • Pedestrian mode.

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