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The best apps for navigation on the iPhone

The best apps for navigation on the iPhone

Find your way around with help from the iPhone and one of a number of navigation apps. We pick the best.

Find your way around with help from the iPhone and one of a number of navigation apps. We pick the best.

Maps

Supplier: ApplePrice: FreePros: Included on your iPhone or iPad already; Good turn-by-turn navigation; Works well offlineCons: The maps have been reported to be inaccurate at places; not something that's particularly useful for navigation

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Launched at the same time as iOS 6, Maps was released as the new default mapping solution for the iPhone and iPad; replacing the long-favoured Google Maps. Apples stated aim was to provide a product that improved upon the user experience from Google Maps and then added a tonne of new features. Unfortunately they failed.

It's not a bad mapping solution; far from it. Type into the search bar where you want to view and it'll take you straight there. Using the 'arrow' you can find yourself on the map.

To navigate anywhere tap the 'Route' button then enter where you want to go by either car or foot. The app then opens up the directions as either a list or you can follow them in the veign of turn-by-turn satnav. If the experience of the turn-by-turn seems familiar this may be because it is supplied by TomTom.

Macworld.com has a nice Hands on with iOS 6: maps feature here.

Google Maps

Supplier: GooglePrice: FreePros: The best mapping experience; Superb turn-by-turn navigation; Instantly familiarCons: Can cache map data for offline use, but limited to the local area of your map

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Google Maps version 2 was recently released bringing with it full support for the iPad and iPad mini.

In addition to a dedicated iPad design, it includes the new 'explore' feature, bringing local restaurants, bars, cafes, and more to investigate further. Also new is the addition of live traffic updates and incident reports to the maps and indoor maps for a selection of shopping centres and airports.

The turn by turn navigation is superb. So long as the data is correct on Google it's correct within Google Maps and you can either be driving or walking. If you are walking though consider keeping your phone in your pocket and just following the audio directions.

Google Maps for iPhone is reviewed here. A review of Google Maps 2 for iPhone and iPad will appear shortly.

Google Maps can be downloaded from here.

NavFree

Supplier: NavMiiPrice: Free (in-app purchases allow upgrades)Pros: Easy to use; Streetview; Can search through Google as well as by location or postcode; Optional add-ons such as additional voices availableCons: Nothing significant

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NavFree operates just as a TomTom or Garmin SatNav would: you enter a postcode, or an address and it provides a quick and effective route to get you where you need to be. Additionally, you can also carry out a Google search for a business name then navigate to that business based on the results fed back to the app.

You've got a choice of two voices - Kate and Dave - within the UK/Ireland version, and they fulfill the traditional SatNav direction voice well.

A number of upgrades are available including additional voices, the removal of the advertising, additional maps for other countries, the speed camera database and the updated postcode database. Some upgrades come at a price, others are free.

A full review of NavFree is here. Since the review was written, Streetview has been added to the app.

NavFree can be downloaded from here.

CoPilot Live HD Premium

Supplier: CoPilotPrice: £34.99Pros: clear maps; offline maps save data costs; integrated weather and Local search; Coordinates view optionCons: not always clear how to get back to return to main menu; no option to report mapping errors

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CoPilot Live HD offers both offline maps; ideal for those looking to save data costs. This app makes full use of the iPhone 5 display and offers the ability to select how much space on your smartphone you'll devote to the maps. This allows you to keep your mapping data up to date without compromising the other apps on your iPhone.

Transport options cover everything from walking to biking and driving. You have the option to avoid toll roads and ferrys.

Nice additional touches include the ability to find a friends house based on your contacts list; to search for points of interest and PhotoNav - if location services were active when you took a photo the app will show you where it was taken.

A full review of CoPilot Live HD is here.

CoPilot Live HD Premium can be downloaded from here.

GPS Navigation 2

Supplier: SkobblerPrice: £1.49Pros: true turn-by-turn navigation, online navigation, map node, category search, portrait/landscape displayCons: not always as clever as it thinks; installable maps are a chargeable option

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Skobbler's GPS Navigation 2 opens with five categories - Navigation, Map, Category, Upgrades and Share/Help.

Tap Navigation to be able to enter your destination address as postcode or street and house number. The app searches then takes you to the map here a blue arrow indicates your direction. The usual robotic voice tells you how to get where you're going. You can add favourite destinations such as your home address, recent destinations or any within your contact book.

From the Map option you can download maps of individual countries, continents or the world for offline use. Nice way to save money on 3G data roaming costs if you're on holiday.

The Category button lists by category the amenities close to you. It's a little on lacking side, and you may be better off using Google Maps for that.

It's a nice application, not overly expensive and one that improves while you use it thanks to the incorporation of community-based data with a quarter of a million people creating and updating maps. The ability to remove those maps you don't need is also welcome.

GPS Navigation 2 can be downloaded from here.


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Tags tomtomconsumer electronicsGooglesmartphoneshardware systemsiPhonemacworldtabletsiPadApple

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