Using a map to get around is no longer something we just do for vacations. Because map apps are easy to access and use on our phones, most of us use them daily to figure out the best route or stay updated on commute traffic in the morning. With so many options available, is there any one navigation app that’s the “best?”
When we stopped printing MapQuest directions and started using map apps on our smartphones, Google Maps was the obvious choice for many people. Launched in 2005, Google Maps has been pretty reliable and easy to use from the start. There are a few tricks to using Google Maps like a pro and getting the most out of the app, but it’s still intuitive to use the first time you open it.
For most people with Android devices, Google Maps is the go-to navigation app because it’s built right into the OS. That said, you can download Google Maps on iOS devices as well. With all the ways Google Maps helps you while you’re traveling locally or on vacation, it’s often the map app of choice for iPhone users too.
Download: Google Maps for Android | iOS (Free)
The initial launch of Apple Maps in 2012 was easily one of Apple’s biggest mistakes, dubbed by Forbes as the “number one tech disaster of the year.” Has the app improved since 2012? Of course. But is Apple Maps as good as Google Maps, Waze, or a lot of other navigation apps? Probably not.
Apple Maps currently holds a rating of under three stars in the Apple App Store. For a proprietary app that comes built into all iPhones, this is an unfortunately low rating. A few years ago, Waze-like reporting features came to Apple Maps—but when Waze is also available to download on iOS devices, why would you not just get the real thing?
Download: Apple Maps for iOS (Free)
Waze may not be a built-in navigation app like Google Maps or Apple Maps, but it’s still one of the best map apps for Android devices as well as iPhone. This was one of the first navigation apps that built a community of users, all dedicated to sharing important and accurate information with other drivers on the road.
Whether you’re using Waze to plan a trip or on your daily commute, the app is incredibly handy for viewing real-time driving conditions. You can see when other users have detected a speed trap, an accident, negative weather conditions, or any other problem on the road. Or, you can be the first person to report something if you detect a road hazard.
Download: Waze for Android | iOS (Free)
Which Maps App Do You Use?
I currently have an Android device and I’ve been using the built-in Google Maps ever since I got my phone. It’s reliable, regularly offers quicker alternate routes, and is able to adjust when I inevitably make a wrong turn or take the wrong exit.
That’s just me, though. Which app is your go-to when you need to navigate somewhere? I’d also be curious whether you use Google Maps or Apple Maps simply because it’s built into whatever smartphone you have.