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5 Alternatives to Apple Maps for iPhone Owners
Let’s be honest, the iPhone 5’s new map app has been a bit of a disappointment.
Whole towns disappearing, old businesses reappearing and satellite pictures obscured by cloud (who’d guess that clouds could be a problem in the UK?) – it’s clearly been released well before it’s the finished article.
We're sure they'll sort it out but Apple CEO Tim Cook has gone as far as to recommend other apps for iPhone 5 customers, and other iPhone handset owners that have downloaded iOS6.
Of course, the apps he’s recommended are very US-specific. So what to do if you’re a UK iPhone user and you want a decent map app for your phone?
Here’s our top 5:
Bing - Free
We’re taking about the ‘map’ section of the Bing app here. OK – it’s not amazing but it’s a better that what Apple Maps in its present state. You can at least see the satellite views – (no clouds in the way here) and the street views are detailed – a criticism that’s been levelled at Apple. Plus the directions – which include public transport if you’re on foot – are pretty reliable.
Navfree is promoted as ‘the world’s first crowd-powered navigation system’. What does that mean? Well, it’s powered by the OpenStreetMap system which has been created by a community of 350,000+ users – like the Wikipedia of maps.
Of course, the upsides are that it’s free and the maps are stored directly on your handset, which means no need for connecting to the web as you’re driving (and no associated costs). But it does mean some of the maps can be a little sketchy, some more remote places won’t be mapped at all and some features, like speed cameras, come at a premium. But hey – it’s free!
M8 - Free
If you’ve never come across M8 (pronounced ‘Mate’) then that’s probably because it’s only just launched. And it’s got a good pedigree – having been released by Intel owned company Telmap who produce white label mapping services for other clients.
Their newly released app for the iPhone includes turn-by-turn directions, local information, traffic updates and much more. By ‘much more’ we mean incorporating information from Lonely Planet, Yelp and TripAdvisor, plus social data from Facebook and Twitter should you decide to connect your accounts. So it’s great for searching out local amenities and finding out what others think about them too.
Waze – Free
Another community-based navigation system like NavFree but this time the community is 20 million strong and they only have to drive around with the app on to contribute up to date data to it. So theoretically, their maps are the most up to date available (as long as someone’s recently driven the route you’re driving)
Waze provides voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation based on real-time traffic conditions and the community generates up to minute info on traffic conditions, accidents etc. You can also connect to social media to see your friends on the map too, should that be relevant. Certainly, not a bad little map app – and it’s free.
TomTom - £49.99
OK – nearly £50 is a bit of a jump from free, but this is the crème-de-la-crème of satnav apps.
Turn by turn voice directions (delivered by a celeb, if you desire), maps updated daily, speed camera alerts, eco routes, jam avoidance, point of interest search (using Google, Facebook and FourSquare), drives the car for you…OK, we made the last one up, but you get the picture.
And all the maps get stored on your phone so there’s no need to connect to the internet.