Best Car Navigation App for iPad/iPhone (Free or Paid)?

Discussion in 'iPad Apps' started by NJRonbo, Jun 1, 2014.

  1. NJRonbo macrumors 68000

    Jan 10, 2007
    I use my iPad for car navigation.

    In the past I have used a paid app called Navigon. It has worked rather well, but it's been two years since I last used it, and recent reviews of the app suggest that it is not very reliable since recent updates.

    Surprisingly, it seems that the three most popular navigation apps are FREE. They include: Google Maps, Apple Maps and Waze.

    Out of the three I would expect Google to be the most reliable, but WAZE really intrigues me for its social networking merits where users are giving real-time updates while on the road.

    But are the free apps just as reliable as the paid ones?

    I am wondering what app(s) you find are the most reliable for best routing algorithms and reliable turn-by-turn voice navigation?
  2. CylonGlitch macrumors 68030


    Jul 7, 2009
    Biggest difference are the offline capabilities. Neither Apple maps, Waze or Google maps offer offline mapping. Thus if you're going somewhere that doesn't have cell coverage, they would be useless.

    Second, Waze was purchased by Google.

    In order of ranking, and personal opinion.
    1. Maps -- A few minor issues here and there, new roads and such. But they offer an easy to use in app "report an issue" button (under the info button). Generally works great for me.

    2. Waze -- Used it for years, the social aspect kinda sucks. Either there are a lot of people who need to use it or the real-time updates don't really get propagated too quickly. Thus you still get stuck in traffic; but sometimes can help.

    3. Google Maps -- No better than Apple's no matter what anyone says, thus I see no real reason to use them. But I can see why someone would like them better.
  3. NJRonbo thread starter macrumors 68000

    Jan 10, 2007

    Will be driving from United States into Canada.

    Will any of those three mapping programs offer navigation once I enter that country?
  4. jlc1978 macrumors 68020


    Aug 14, 2009
    I think so but the real question to ask is what will the data charges be for roaming in Canada? Personally, I use CoPilot and am happy with it. It is relatively cheap compared to other solutions and offers offline maps so no data connection is needed.
  5. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    I have Navigon, TomTom and obviously Google and Apple's maps on my iPhone that I've used for years. I'm sure the map data is the same on the iPad platform.

    I left Navigon years ago because their routing algorithm was so bad. Leaving home it often gave terrible routes so how was I supposed to trust using it in places I didn't know where it was sending me?

    I used TomTom for a couple of years and it was a good program and I still use it on occasion.

    I think that Google has the best routing and search right now (Apple tends to do ok on routing, but their search is poor - with Google you can put in almost any placename, landmark, whatever, and it will know what you mean. Apple doesn't do that as well). These maps have the advantage of always being up to date, and potentially better traffic info. However it sounds like you'll have an issue with data consumption if you want to use the app while roaming. In that case, an app with the maps stored on the device would be better.
  6. NJRonbo thread starter macrumors 68000

    Jan 10, 2007
    Thank You!

    Knowing that driving into Canada may incur roaming charges I will use this app.
  7. TWO2SEVEN macrumors 68040


    Jun 27, 2010
    Plano, TX
    I've been really happy with Waze lately. It has learned my routes pretty well over the last two weeks or so.
  8. Aspasia macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2011
    Halfway between the Equator and North Pole
    On a recent trip to Purchase, NY from Northern Michigan, I used Apple Maps. Worked very well and instantly corrected the route when the driver screwed up and took a few wrong turns when we were on shopping excursions in White Plains.

    Siri gave turn-by-turn verbal directions - on my iPad 2. We also used Waze, but primarily for notifications where police were spotted on the highways.
  9. TJ61 macrumors 6502a

    Nov 16, 2011
    I recently purchased TomTom, to retire my aging stand-alone GPS, to be sure I would have routing when out of cell range. I've been very happy with it. I especially like how you can search for points of interest along your route (upcoming restaurants, gas, rest areas, etc.). They have a US and Canada version, which regularly goes on sale. Since you don't need to use cell service for it to work, this would be a good option for Canada.

    No one app will give the best route (or correct locations) all the time. I regularly double check with other sources (Apple, Google, etc.). I also fire up Waze to get better info about traffic, etc.
  10. NJRonbo thread starter macrumors 68000

    Jan 10, 2007
    TomTom for iPad does not require cell service?

    I may give that a try instead.

    Thank You
  11. campyguy macrumors 68040

    Mar 21, 2014
    Portland / Seattle
    Two more suggestions? Depending on where you're heading to and traveling through, I've bookmarked the Safe Travel USA home page - - on my iPad. It's got links to all 50 states' travel information services - very helpful to monitor construction closures and severe weather. And, I recommend the INRIX app for checking traffic conditions on the fly - Apple and Google both use Sigalert, which I find to be lacking in accuracy. I also use CoPilot and am happy with the N.A. maps.

    I've got an LTE iPad with an UL data plan, but there's no reason you couldn't access wifi on the fly to check ahead (most of the rest areas I've visited have wifi).
  12. TJ61 macrumors 6502a

    Nov 16, 2011
    TomTom only needs cell service if you want to access live traffic info (similar to Apple Maps, Google, Waze etc.). But cell service is not required for map download (all maps are stored on device), or routing.
  13. profan macrumors newbie

    Oct 16, 2014
    I use Spyglass and more than satisfied with it.
    Works great for locating your car in a parking lot or when you are hiking in the wilderness.
    Very helpful and hell of a lot less expensive than most gps devices.
  14. Gjwilly macrumors 68030

    May 1, 2011
    SF Bay Area
    Apple Maps only needs Cell service to plan the initial route.
    As long as you stick to the route and never have to reroute you do not need Cell service during the drive.
  15. JuryDuty macrumors 6502


    Sep 22, 2014
    I think it's MotionX GPS Drive. It's regular cost is 99c, but it's free sometimes. You can add voice navigation for $10 or less/year, but you don't need it. And it's WONDERFUL to use.
  16. Toltepeceno Suspended


    Jul 17, 2012
    SMT, Edo MX, MX
    I have a tomtom gps and like that, but on my cell phone I like sygic MUCH better than tomtom. Surprising because sygic supposedly uses tomtom maps.
  17. RByers8252 macrumors regular

    Sep 12, 2014
    I finally ditched my stand alone Garmin completely this year. Started off going between Google and Apple maps and started to prefer Google for traffic and then once I found out that info came from Waze its all I've used. At least where I have used it over two states there are always a few dozen people on the road around me with good notifications. Also I enjoy getting voice commands through the phone speaker because even though my phone is linked via Bluetooth or USB I often listen to satellite radio and can't hear directions when doing so before this app. Just wish it showed posted speed limits.
  18. Pjrufus macrumors 6502

    Sep 20, 2014
    I've been using MotionX on my iPad since iPad1, and I wouldn't be without it. The voice guidance is clear and easy to follow, there are different voices to choose from. I've found it to be very accurate. The few times that it has been wrong, other map apps are wrong also. I have it on my iPad and iPhone, and it's the same account, so only pay for voice guidance for 1 account, and it's worth it for me.
  19. yukyuklee macrumors 6502


    Jan 4, 2011
    Boston, MA
  20. NJRonbo thread starter macrumors 68000

    Jan 10, 2007
    So, if I buy it for iPad or iPhone, it will be available at no extra charge on the other device?

    Any extra packages I purchase (such as voice guidance and voices) will also carry over to the other device?
  21. Pjrufus macrumors 6502

    Sep 20, 2014
    Yes, that's how it works for me. I believe you can only use voice guidance on one at a time. Like most apps, just remember your account info, password.
  22. cg006 macrumors regular


    Oct 1, 2012
    I personally prefer-

    #1 Google Maps- i still think its the best navigation app . Always up to date. Can find almost anything. Google has invested alot of money in maps and also has the longest time collecting information. I still dont trust apple maps.

    #2 Garmin's Paid app (like $50). If you're using your phone as your only gps device, i will highly advise you have a back up that has the maps loaded in your phone in case you loose internet connectivity. I always preferred garmin's interface. Navigon was also bought by Garmin so the maps should be the same, but man i hate their menus and orange/black scheme.$50 is a small price today and the map updates i believe are free. It goes on sale everyone once in a while.
  23. jds4300 macrumors member

    Mar 4, 2008
    Viago by Garmin. Hands down the BEST navigation app that I've used. Works GREAT on iPad or iPhone.
  24. kyte macrumors newbie


    Jan 15, 2008
    Newcastle, AU
    Been using Sygic since it came out in...? 2008? Hands down the best, IMO, but its not free. I also like NavFree, which is free, and you can pay a couple of dollars to have ads removed. Its offline nav, with voice direction. I think its the only one that is really free *and* offline. The ads only appear in the control panel, not during navigation, but I paid to get rid of them anyway.


    oooh, havent tried that... (and not seeing it on the Aus app store, oh well)
  25. Paul Stevens macrumors newbie

    Paul Stevens

    Jun 3, 2015

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