It’s fair to say Apple Maps has been a disappointment, with incorrectly names, areas covered with cloud and spelling mistakes, but luckily the Apple App Store is packed with alternatives to help you get from A to B or simply find your way home.
Apple Maps is Apple’s answer to Google Maps – its own mapping system, built using TomTom data. Along with Passbook and Panorama it was a highlight of iOS 6 and included out of the box on the iPhone 5. In reality it has failed to live up to Google Maps and although Apple Maps will get better, as users report errors, but it’s worth remembering that Google spent years tweaking and updating its maps to turn it into the slick, usable product.
Until then you’re an iPhone user – whether you own the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S or iPhone 5 – here are some fantastic alternatives, some free and some paid.
CoPilot has developed a free version of its Premium paid navigation app, with identical maps and turn by turn directions, but som significant differences. So although there are three routing options, you don’t get extra features like ClearTurn, 3D maps and crucially for drivers voice instructions cost £17.49 extra.
Maps for Europe can be downloaded for use offline, so whether you are calculating car and pedestrian routes, you don’t need an active data connection. POIs are included too along with Wikipedia and Bing Search.
CoPilot GPS is a fantastic app, particularly if you are on foot or heading away for a city break and want to avoid data charges, but the lack of voice instructions means it’s not suitable for regular drivers.
We love: Maps work offline, Easy to use, Free
We hate: Driving features like voice instructions and 3D mapping costs extra
Best for: Route planning and walking
NavFree GPS Live UK & ROI
NavFree is free app complete with turn-by-turn navigation and voice instructions, suitable for driving and walking, with six vehicle and one pedestrian modes.
Tim Cook may have asked Apple fans to report mistakes, but Navfree is built upon user participation, maps are come from OpenStreetMap, a database updated by users.
Unlike Apple Maps, maps can be download to your iPhone to use offline, although to get POIs, you use data to connect to Online POI search.
Regular drivers will find Navfree can’t compare with TomTom or CoPilot, there’s no traffic or spoken street names. Safety cameras and additional countries cost extra – a whopping £1.99 each. However 3D maps are easy to follow, making it hard to believe it’s free, making Navfree a good choice for casual journeys on foot by car.
Love: Turn by turn instructions, Free, Works offline
Hate: Lacks features for regular drivers, POI’s need a data connection
Best for: Casual journeys
CoPilot Live Premium Europe
£29.99/£24.99 (Europe/Western Europe)
CoPilot Live Premium looks identical to CoPilot GPS, but it is packed with extras aimed at drivers including turn-by-turn voice instructions, 3D mapping and a years free ActiveTraffic (before it reverts to £10.99 a year), safety camera alerts and a driver safety mode. With a choice of three routes along with caravan, motorcycle and pedestrian options, the app is very easy to use and there are heaps of POI’s along with Wikipedia and Local Search.
Priced £29.99 for full European Maps, CoPilot Live Premium is far cheaper than TomTom’s app and it costs only £10 to upgrade from UK and Ireland to European apps which you can use offline.
Love: Offline Maps. Lots of POIs. Good value for European Maps.
Hate: Wealth of features can be confusing for novices. Traffic can’t match TomTom
Best for: Regular drivers
TomTom U.K & Ireland
TomTom has been in the navigation game for years, with standalone devices, iOS app and now an Android app, developing cutting-edge features for regular drivers. IQ routes plans the most efficient route based on average speeds at the time of day and the class-leading HD Traffic keeps you up- to-date with traffic (£27 a year).
Maps are simple to follow with turn-by-turn instructions, a pedestrian mode and a wealth of POI’s. You can even download Mr Burns, Yoda or Darth Vader voices for £3.99 a pop. The app also works offline, making it a good choice for using abroad (if you opt for the European option) helping avoid data bills.
The sheer number of features TomTom app offers means planning something simple – like a pedestrian route – involves scrolling through menus, which anyone used to Google Maps will find confusing at first.
However our main gripe is the price, at £79.99 for European maps it’s far more expensive than CoPilot Live Premium, opt for the UK version with traffic and you’ll be paying around £75. However for commuters TomTom offers the best traffic guidance you can get in an app.
Love: Best in class traffic. Loads of driver centric features. The voices. Works offline
Hate: Expensive (especially for Europe). Can be tricky to find features.
Best for: Drivers
Wisepilot is a little different to the other mapping apps. 69p gets you basic mapping and you then add extra features such as Live Traffic (£19.99 lifetime), Safety Cameras (£9.99) and Navigation (£5.49 month and £26.99 lifetime).
Planning a route using WisePilot is easier than most apps, with Drive and Walk options (where applicable) and even shows you the weather at your designation. You get 2D and 3D maps and extras like Junction View.
Maps aren’t downloaded to your iPhone so navigation and POI search uses data, so if you’ve got a limited monthly data allowance this isn’t the right app for you, although Abroad mode is designed to reduce date use.
We love the flexible ethos of WisePilot, but opt for lifetime Navigation and Safety Cameras and CoPilot Live Premium is cheaper and works offline.
Love: Pick and choose features. Very easy to use. Useful extras like weather.
Hate: Needs active data connection.
Best for: Sporadic UK driving