Best map alternatives for Apple's iOS 6

About The Author

CNET Editor

Michelle Starr is the tiger force at the core of all things. She also writes about cool stuff and apps as CNET Australia's Crave editor. But mostly the tiger force thing.

Apple's new Maps app has users around the world tearing their hair out in frustration. Here are some of the best alternatives — from free, all the way through to premium.

This has to have been 'shopped ... right?
(Credit: The Amazing iOS 6 Maps)

  • Google Maps

    If you're in mourning for Google Maps, why not just ... go get Google Maps? No, there's no app, but you can get it on your home screen. Open the Safari browser on your iDevice and enter into the address bar. You can then even add a shortcut to your homepage — to the left of the address bar is an arrow. Tap it to open the Send options menu, and then select the Add to Home Screen option. Voila! You now have the closest thing to Google Maps back on your iOS device. It's missing a few features, such as turn-by-turn, but at least it will accurately get you where you need to go.

  • Navfree GPS

    Powered by software that is described as the Wikipedia of map data, Navfree GPS is a completely free mapping and GPS app for your iDevice and is powered by users; that is, the people who are travelling the routes are filling in the map data. It's not quite as good as Google Maps, but it does feature voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation, as well as dedicated navigation for pedestrians.

    Navfree GPS
    Price: Free

  • Trapster

    Trapster was originally built as an app to help alert others — and be alerted by others — to the presence of street traps, traffic hazards and other issues with the roads, but it has since expanded to become a pretty decent maps/GPS app in its own right. All traffic data can be added and edited by users, so you get constant updates on traffic conditions, and it includes a speedometer so you can watch your speed (we don't know why, since all cars have these) and a GPS, which means that you can use it for directions and navigation. It's powered by Nokia maps, so it's pretty accurate, and the traffic data can be invaluable.

    Price: Free

  • Whereis

    For a free GPS, Whereis is actually pretty decent, with a number of features that make it definitely worth looking into. The first of these is voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation, with three free celebrity voices — Dame Edna, Nick Giannopoulos and Jennifer Hawkins. The second is that, if you're with Telstra, using the app will incur no data charges on Telstra's Next G network. The maps are pretty simple, but the good thing about that is they are clear and easy to read, and there are three travel modes: fastest, toll-free and walking.

    Price: Free

  • City Maps 2Go

    City Maps 2Go isn't so much a navigation app as it is a map book that you keep stored on your phone — kind of like a Gregory's in your pocket. You can still search for destinations and addresses, as well as places of interest, but you won't get the turn-by-turn navigation function offered by other apps on this list. On the plus side, that also means no data charges.

    City Maps 2Go
    Price: AU$0.99

  • MotionX GPS

    MotionX GPS isn't really an app for road travel. It's for sports and outdoor activities, and it's built accordingly, with maps for cycling, bushwalking, sailing, kayaking, geo-caching and more. What makes the maps different is that they are topographical, which means you can see the shape of the landscape you want to traverse, with GPS location, on-board map storage and free downloadable apps. It won't really be an Apple Maps replacement, although, the company has just released MotionX GPS Drive in the US. We'll be keeping our eyes peeled for an Australian version.

    MotionX GPS
    Price: AU$0.99

  • Navigon Australia

    If you want to spend a little more, a few GPS manufacturers have released premium GPS apps that can be installed on your iPhone. One of these is Garmin's Navigon. What do you get for your money? Well, you get a very polished application by a company whose raison d'être is producing software like this. It has voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation, a very intuitive interface, speed assistant, pedestrian navigation and access to Google Local search.

    Navigon Australia
    Price: AU$59.99

  • TomTom Australia

    It's a bit peculiar to think that Apple's mapping data has been supplied by TomTom when so many users love TomTom itself. It's a premium price, but one could argue that what you're really paying for is TomTom's expertise and a good user experience. And Simpsons characters to read out the turn-by-turn directions. Or Star Wars. The other great thing about the TomTom app is that using your iPhone for calls or playing music doesn't interfere with the navigation, both of which you can do while the app continues to run. It also has powerful search through Google and an emergency menu — as far as navigation apps go, it really is one of the best on the market.

    TomTom Australia
    Price: AU$74.99

Add Your Comment 8

Post comment as

JohnP3 posted a comment   

BING was Apples first recommendation give it a go.


Grisenisacken posted a comment   

Hi Michelle!

Open Safari
go to
add to homescreen

and yes it's free.


DavidC8 posted a comment   

Trapster is great, I use it more than Tom Tom and Sygic on my iPhone.


PhillipB posted a comment   

TripGo is the best alternative for taking on the lack of Google Transit. In fact it is even better than “transit” it just links everything together. It actually has true multimodal transport and can work out your route based on cost and convenience. This means you can drive to the train station and then catch a train. It is all worked out by some fancy algorithm. From what I have seen it is tuned to work with the new Apple Maps when you select the transit button. I am in Sydney and it works fine. I am sure it will be working in other places soon if not already.
Just got the latest update last week and now I can get SMS feedback on when the bus is coming when I click on the bus section of the trip.


aslsw66 posted a comment   

One of the things you lose with Google Maps in Safari is Streetview. I always find it incredibly useful, as you can not only see you route and destination on a map but also actually see landmarks that you will come across on your journey. It was also a good party trick when I told a visiting Amerian that they needed to trim their hedge!

Another app I have used a lot overseas is OffMaps2. Everywhere I go, I download a new city map which is stored on the phone (ie. no need for a data connection). It's good enough for walking, public transport and driving (it integrates with your GPS). So far, I have used it in Europe, the UK and Asia.


Zid posted a comment   

"...and it includes a speedometer so you can watch your speed (we don't know why, since all cars have these)"

The reason why the app has a speedometer is because the GPS will give you a more accurate indication of the speed you're actually travelling. Generally speaking, speedometers are intentionally deigned with a variance between the speed that shows and the speed you're travelling. If you get your speedometer checked by the RACQ you can the see that the variance increases as your speed increases. Having the actual speed displayed means you can go as close to the speed limit as possible.

Another good map app that isn't mentioned here is MetroView GPS Naviation. It's about $20, and it has turn-by-turn directions. I used it when my dedicated GPS threw me off track numerous times and it got me to where I was going. It has plenty of features, but it isn't exactly the prettiest user interface.


Michelle Starr posted a reply   

Thanks Zid, that's really useful to know! :)


Will1505 posted a reply   

Keep in mind though, it only gives you an accurate reading if you are on a completely flat surface. If you are going up or down a hill, GPS speed will be slower than you are actually going

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