Knowledge Base

What are the best GPS apps?

handy giff-staffer



Smartphones aren’t just for making calls, listening to music or taking photos, they can also take us from A to B. Here’s a look at the best GPS apps for Android, iOS and Windows Phone - just make sure you get a proper mount for your phone.





CoPilot Live PremiumEurope


Android - £24.99

iOS - £29.99 (Western Europe/Europe)


CoPilot Live Premium is available for Android and iOS swiftly calculating not one, but three routes, each with turn-by-turn instructions.


Maps are intuitive to follow with 3D and 2D views, it swaps automatically between day and night maps.  Safety camera alerts are free and there’s a driver safety mode, along with caravan, motorcycle and pedestrian options.


ClearTurn is useful for navigating complex junctions and 12 months ActiveTraffic is included then it costs £10.99 a year.

CoPilot Live Premium is fantastic app. Packed with features and customisation options, it’s very easy to use and works offline. If you’re going abroad opt for the European version though, it’s only £5 more and you can select the countries to download. 


Google Maps/Google Maps Navigation




Google’s been gradually improving the features of its native Google Maps app. Alongside car, bike and foot, there’s a public transport mode with bus, underground, train and tram options and you can download sections of the map to use offline.


When route planning choose between Directions or Navigation, which launches the beta for Google Maps Navigation with turn-by-turn instructions and spoken street names.  Google Maps Navigation has decent maps, along with useful traffic and satellite layers, but it’s a bit little buggy and needs an active data connection.


When Google Maps Navigation launches fully it should be the first sat nav app Android users try.









Navfree is a sat nav app complete with turn-by-turn navigation and voice instructions, which is totally free.


Maps are come from OpenStreetMap, a database updated by users - a little like Wikipedia.


Navfree includes a respectable selection of features, including four routing options: fast, easy, short and economical; six vehicle and pedestrian modes.


Maps have day and night colours, 3D and 2D mapping and individual countries can be downloaded and used offline.

Unsurprisingly, it’s not as fully featured as pay apps - there’s no traffic or spoken streets and safety cameras cost an extra £1.99. Overall Navfree is worth downloading for casual journeys.



Nokia Drive


Windows Phone



Currently pre-installed on Nokia Lumia Windows Phones, Nokia Drive is a full. free turn-by-turn sat nav with voice instructions and maps for 95 countries that can be downloadable for use offline.



Nokia Drive is the most user friendly sat nav app we’ve used. Route planning is exceptionally straightforward and maps are easy to follow, with 2D and 3D maps with day or night colours.


My Commute is coming soon, it routes based on your driving preferences and traffic conditions.

Nokia Drive is due to be installed on all Windows Phone 8 handsets and it’s a fantastic feature to have, just not as well featured as pay apps.




TomTom U.K & Ireland


iOS - £39.99 (typically £49.99)


The name TomTom is synonymous with navigation and with extensive route planning and mapping options, it’s easy to see why.  Maps are simple to follow, you can quickly swap between 3D and 2D and change the colours, you also get spoken street names.


For £3.99 you can download Mr Burns, Yoda or Darth Vader voices too.  The app is packed with exclusive TomTom tech. Advanced Lane Guidance helps at junctions, while IQ Route calculates the route based on the time of day.


The TomTom app is expensive though, the Europe version costs £64.99, in comparison CoPilot is just £34.99. HD Traffic costs £26.99 a year. For drivers who rely on up-to-date traffic guidance it’s the best sat nav app and an Android version is coming soon. 


Have we missed any great GPS apps that deserve to be in the list?  Tell us in the comments below and let us know whether they're free or paid for -  and which operating systems they're available for.

Tomtom by far best for me.
I use waze- brilliant
Try Waze it is very good.
Google Maps has the best Sat Nav by far! And exclusive on android Smiley Wink Better than Tom Tom!
whatever I said...

Thank you for this,Victoria.Downloading Navfree and will see how well it works soon.

rocket scientist
google maps better than my old tomtom by far. once bought an updated map for tomtom which was at least 6 months out of date so i felt fleeced. then i read on the tomtom web site it takes 6 months to digitise new mapping data so new maps have to be at least 6 months out of date. finally google maps does NOT need a constant data connection you just plan the route over wifi or 3g then switch off the data connection

Google maps is fine as long as you have a data connection. Not so good when out of the UK and roaming.

I use Navfree, which was recommended by another giffgaffer a while ago, and am very happy with it.

I found Navfree more consistent than google maps, mainly because once it's downloaded, you don't need to worry about data black spots.

I agree with doct0r (and other Giffgaffers), Navfree is excellent as it uses no data (except to download it in the first place of course) The maps are clear and I actually use this in preference to my Garmin satnav which now sits unused in my case most of the time. For free it is truly excellent, if paid for it I would still be happy. If you want a satnav that works all the time whether you have a phone signal or not you can't really go wrong.  (I paid the princely sum of £1.99 for the camera alerts which work well) 

For free what have you got to lose?



Hi victoriatagg,


Great workSmiley Happy  For those that like  free opensource (which may not be exactly perfect):


OpenSatNav - Satellite Navigation

Satellite Navigation using OpenStreetMap data. Supports car, bicycle and pedestrian modes of transport.


OsmAnd~  Maps & navigation; online and off

Osmand~'s features can be extended by enabling the plugins. All plugins are already present and include online maps from many sources, tracking, OSM editing and accessibility enhancements. Map data of both vector and raster types can be stored on the phone memory card for offline usage, and navigation by default uses offline methods. Map data packages for many territories are available from the Osmand website as well as a desktop application for creating your own.



These and other truly free (including source code) apps for android can be installed from this excellent repository:


The F-Droid Repository is an easily-installable catalogue of FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) applications for the Android platform. The server contains the details of multiple versions of each application, and the Android client makes it easy to browse, install them onto your device, and keep track of updates.