In this review, Ridester looks at the Top 10 most popular mileage tracking apps. These aren’t the Top 10 because we necessarily consider them the best, but because they are the most downloaded and most popular among rideshare drivers.
- 1 Business Miles vs. Personal Miles
- 2 Things to Look for in a Mileage Tracking App
- 3 Ridester’s Review of the Top 10 Mileage Tracking Apps
- 3.1 TripLog Mileage Tracker
- 3.2 Hurdlr
- 3.3 Everlance
- 3.4 MileBug
- 3.5 MileIQ
- 3.6 MileWiz
- 3.7 QuickBooks Self-Employed
- 3.8 SherpaShare Rideshare Driver Assistant
- 3.9 StrideDrive
- 3.10 TaxMileage
- 4 Over to You
One of the best things to ever come along for Uber and Lyft drivers are apps that track your mileage. That’s because when you keep track of your “business” miles, (like the miles you drive while working for Uber and Lyft), you can get a huge tax deduction at the end of the year. Come tax time, this is an essential step that you should NOT overlook.
For those of you who don’t already know, the IRS allows drivers to charge $0.545 cents per mile against their income. So, for every 100 miles you drive while working, you can subtract $54.50 from your gross income and pay taxes on the reduced figure.
And since most drivers don’t meet the standard mileage rate of $0.545 for every mile while they drive while working, most won’t have to pay any taxes at all on their driving income – if… they’re able to document their mileage.
But how do you track your miles? Can you prove that your hand-written estimates are actually what you drove? No, you can’t. That’s where the best mileage tracking apps come in.
Some of these mileage tracking apps make that as simple as plugging your phone into your car. Literally! Once you set the apps up – all you have to do is take your phone with you when you drive – and that’s pretty much it! The apps will start tracking the minute your car starts moving and they’ll keep track of all your working miles automatically.
Many of them create maps to show where you drove. So, if the IRS ever audits you and demands proof that you were really working when you drove these miles – you can show them the maps and they’ll see you weren’t just making personal runs to the grocery store or to visit your friends.
Before we dive into the apps Uber and Lyft drivers use for tracking mileage, let’s go over a few mileage deduction basics.
Business Miles vs. Personal Miles
Disclaimer: The conversation of personal miles versus business miles is one that you should have with your CPA. I’m not an accountant, but here’s a brief overview from how I understand it.
Personal miles are the miles you drive when commuting to places for your personal time, and not rideshare-related. Business miles, on the other hand, are the miles you spend in the car when driving passengers around.
Think of it like how an Uber insurance policy works. It works when you are specifically engaging in rideshare activities in exchange for money, but not when you are on your own time. Same goes here.
For example, if you were to go to the grocery store to stock your pantry with food for the week, you can’t deduct the miles you spent getting to and from the store. On the other hand, if you accept a ride request and go pick up a passenger, you can deduct the miles from the pickup to dropoff location.
If you want to know more about how miles are deducted, check out the rideshare tax video below. This video is a module from our free training courses. If you’re looking to step up your rideshare game, check out the rest of the videos.
Things to Look for in a Mileage Tracking App
When looking for a mileage tracking app, what should you look for? With all the different companies touting their features, this can be confusing. We’ll provide a few simple things we found essential to every one.
There are a few features most tracking apps have that we consider essential to a mileage tracking app. They are:
Those are the must-haves. Everything else is icing! So without further ado, let’s dive into a detailed comparison of the most popular apps for mileage tracking.
Ridester’s Review of the Top 10 Mileage Tracking Apps
TripLog Mileage Tracker
TripLog is a full-featured mileage tracking app that features what they call MagicTrip™ which is a fully automatic way of starting the app when you start driving.
You can set it up to automatically trigger and start tracking your travels by several nifty methods. You can set it up to begin tracking your travels when it connects to Bluetooth in your car or when you travel at a certain speed, say 10 mph and several other methods.
This is my preferred mileage tracker and one I’ve been using for 3 years now. I set it and forget it. I never have to remember to turn it on when I start driving and it has been flawless in its operation. It, like many of the apps, also saves all your travel data to the web (or cloud) and you can login there to sort, analyze and download reports.
Every year when I do my taxes, it takes me just 10 minutes with TripLog to accurately obtain all my business driving mileage data.
TripLog has a free basic plan that saves your GPS mileage tracking, showing your actual driving routes on Google maps.
Their basic paid version is $20 per year and adds several useful features including comprehensive IRS compliant reports. And it is this version that comes with the ability to be fully-automated in connection with the Bluetooth connection in your car.
TripLog has recently come out with a very nice looking modern version 2.0. I just tried it out recently and it’s a beautiful app and retains all the solid functionality it had before.
Probably the best thing about TripLog is its complete and unfailing automation. I’ve used this app for several years. You can literally set it and forget it.
You can tell it to log miles only during certain hours or on certain days. Or, you can tell it to log all miles when certain conditions are met. I have it set to begin logging all miles when my phone is connected to BlueTooth in my car and when I am moving at more than 7 mph. And it has never failed.
Another very convenient feature of TripLog is you can put a widget on your screen that will instantly tell you its status. Once you start driving, you’ll always see the mileage count ticking upward. That lets you know it’s up and running. It’s a very quick and easy way to check to make sure it’s clocking your mileage.
It also backs everything up to the cloud and it allows you to take photos of receipts in order to record expenses outside of mileage. As an Uber/Lyft driver you can deduct any meals you have while you’re out driving and of course any car expenses such as gas or oil changes, etc.
In the Android app store, TripLog has a high rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars with 1,078 five-star reviews compared to only 65 one-star reviews. It also has more than 100,000 installs – signaling that the app developer is dedicated to it and will be around for a long time.
With TripLog you can also take a photo of any receipts for business expenses and they’ll save it on their server for you. You can also write notes on it describing what the exact nature of the business expense was.
All-in-all, this app will do everything you need as far as tracking not only your mileage but all your business-related expenses. And because I’ve used it for so long and seen that it works flawlessly and does a solid job at what it’s supposed to do, this is our #1 choice.
Out of all the mileage trackers we’ve looked at and all the ones that have claimed that they are more than just mileage trackers, Hurdlr is the only one that actually is much more than just a mileage tracker.
It’s actually a business expense tracker which includes automatic mileage tracking. But it’s specially designed for independent contractors – which is exactly what Uber drivers and other gig economy workers are.
But, the really cool thing is that Hurdlr can login to your Uber and Lyft accounts directly and get your income. Then, it will tell you exactly how much your estimated taxes are – on the fly.
At any given moment, you can check with the app and see your driving income minus your mileage expenses and minus other expenses too!
If you have a business bank account setup just for your business income and expenses, Hurdlr can login to your bank as well and get your actual deposits and expenses from there.
So, if you’ve been good and used your business account for legitimate business purposes only – you’ll have a very accurate snapshot of your tax situation at any given minute! And since gig economy workers have to pay estimated taxes quarterly, Hurdlr can give you a quick snapshot and a rough estimate of how much those taxes might be. This makes it very easy for drivers and other independent contractors to have a rough idea of how much they should be saving each week so they won’t be hit with a big tax bill later that they can’t pay.
Hurdlr can be programmed to connect with all kinds of gig economy jobs – not just Uber and Lyft. It can also connect to Postmates, Instacart, Lyft, Handy Cleaners, Uber Eats, and even Airbnb, HomeAway and VRBO too! It can also connect to Square, so if you take any business payments with Square it will be able to integrate your income from there as well.
The benefit of this – is that you’ll have a great estimate, at all times, of approximately how much you owe in taxes at that moment, based on what you’ve made for the year so far. That makes it much easier to make those quarterly tax payments. And if you’re making those quarterly tax payments things will be much easier for year when next April 15th comes around – because you will have already paid most of what you owe, if not a little more. In any case, you won’t be looking at some huge tax bill that you no longer have the money to pay!
As far as mileage tracking, I have tested it and it works fine. You can set it to let you manually tell it when you want to begin tracking or you can set it to automatic and it will begin tracking on its own. However, you’re really not going to want to use it in manual mode. You’ll remember the first few times to start it up but after a while you’ll start to forget and you’ll lose a lot of mileage that way.
When you set it to automatic, it can take up to a half a mile of driving before it kicks in and starts tracking your movements. That means you could lose up to a half mile every time you start up again. All these automatic trackers will lose some mileage though when they’re set to automatic.
I contacted their support several times in a two-day period and they got back to me very quickly, they were very friendly and knowledgeable – and they weren’t located on the other side of the world. They seemed very enthusiastic about their product and it sounded like they’re working hard on it every day. All in all, this is a very solid choice. Along with TripLog, it’s in our Top 2.
They’ve had between 100,000 – 500,000 downloads in the Google Play store so they have a large enough customer base that they should be around for a long time.
|Also see: The 21 Essential Apps for Uber Drivers
Everlance has an excellent 4.8 stars on the Android app store – out of 5,311 reviews. They’ve also had more than 100,000 downloads so they have a sizable customer base that should insure they’ll be around for a while.
But the weird thing about their high star rating is I found a lot of serious complaints in their reviews over the last couple of months.
So, I went in and added up the total star ratings in their most recent 50 reviews and averaged them together and I came up with just a 4.46 star rating. That is indicative of a product that has recently had some problems – but that otherwise has had a good track record.
It tracks your mileage automatically using GPS so you no longer need to keep a mileage log or logbook — all you need to do is let the app record your trips in the background and swipe which trips are for business. They also have a cloud service where you can upload photos of your business-expense receipts to their web servers. The app is designed for minimal battery consumption and IRS compliance.
However, there is a little oddity on their app store description where they say, “Everlance is currently 100% FREE and comes with unlimited cloud storage.”
But if you go to their website you find out it’s 100% free only if you’re willing to accept minimal capabilities. And part of those minimal capabilities is the fact that they will only allow you to track up to 30 trips per month. And that is obviously not going to work for Uber drivers.
If you want access to the functionality that you’ll actually need, you’ll have to pay either $60 per year (upfront) or $8 per month (which equals $96 per year).
While they have an excellent rating at 4.8, several of their customers have complained that it doesn’t always automatically start recording trips and they have to login manually each time to check and make sure it’s recording properly. Several other reviewers have said they’ve also had trouble with it not keeping proper track of the receipts they’ve uploaded.
Here is one review where the reviewer summed up concisely what several others said:
“The app often merges multiple trips, loses others, and 7 times out of 10 tracks miles as the crow flies and not by the route traveled. NOT RECOMMENDED.”
The app developers of MileBug have apparently spent a lot more time working on the iOS version than the Android version. The Google app store has them rated at 3.3 while the Apple app store has them at 4.2. And the Android customers have serious complaints. Like the complaint many Android users have aired saying that the app doesn’t backup or export data properly.
Other users complain that the iOS data isn’t compatible with the Android version so users can’t switch back and forth between both types of devices, which seems to kind of defeat one of the major reasons for making an app available for both devices.
A lot of complaints among Android users as well, saying the app hasn’t been significantly updated or improved for at least a year and a half. And as you can see by the screenshot, it’s not one of the most attractive mileage apps on the market. It is a generation or two behind design-wise.
Some distinctive things this app supposedly does that some of the others don’t, is it allows you to track mileage for multiple businesses and automatically detect when you’re in a different car.
However, the one big thing most of the other apps do that this one doesn’t is automatically track your mileage.
Auto tracking is when these apps can automatically detect when you’re in a moving vehicle. If you have the app on when you get into a car, they will automatically detect that you’re moving and start tracking your mileage. It’s a feature that has been around for a long time and kind of a must-have feature in 2018 for mileage trackers. But with the apparently buggy MileBug, that feature is missing.
On Android they’re only reporting 10,000-50,000 installs which is significantly fewer than some of the other better rated apps. It’s not a good sign and indicates they may not be around to support it for the long-term.
We recommend staying far, far away from this app! But in case you’re curious anyway, here’s their pricing:
MileIQ is owned by Microsoft and is included with Office 365 Business Premium subscriptions. So if by chance you happen to have one of those subscriptions, you can use this app at no additional charge. If you don’t have the subscription it’s a little pricier than some of the other apps.
This app will do a solid job recording your miles but it comes with several annoying design quirks that might make it a bit of a headache. One, you can’t view your miles by day. You can only view them by month. So, if you have a job that requires you to keep track of your miles by day, this won’t work for you.
Another annoyance is that there are only two ways to view your reports. They can be emailed to you or you can view them online through a desktop web browser. This is odd as I know this has been brought to their attention as a frequent complaint as far back as two years ago. But they still haven’t done anything about it.
Apparently, they see no need for drivers to be able to view their reports through the app – which is obviously the most convenient way to view them when you’re on the road. It’s nice to have the desktop web access too for those times when you want to see everything on a larger screen. But come on MileIQ! Give us in-app access to our reports. Most of the other apps do.
Another problem is the map it shows your route on is sparse, to say the least. No landmarks or buildings are labeled on the map so it can be hard sometimes to figure out where you’ve been. You might end up having to manually type in addresses on Google Maps to figure out where you were.
If none of those issues bother you, this would be a relatively solid app otherwise. It doesn’t get our highest recommendation, but not the worst either.
I was all ready to love MileWiz because they have nifty graphics! But great graphics apparently don’t necessarily make for a great app!
When I stumbled upon MileWiz in the app store I was actually shocked to see their rating on iTunes was 3.4 and on Android 3.5. It left me curious to find out how could an app that looks so good be so bad!?
But first, MileWiz is the only mileage tracker that makes the bold claim that it will protect you against an IRS audit. If by that they mean having tracked your miles will protect you from an audit then maybe they’d have a point. But the IRS has a thousand reasons why they may audit somebody and not having your miles tracked by an app is probably way down on the list.
MileWiz claims to “auto-track” which means its tracking starts automatically once it detects you’re in a moving vehicle. This is a great feature… when it works. But if it doesn’t work it can really mess you up on tracking your miles.
All of the reviewers on iTunes said they had issues with the automatic tracking initiating. Two reviewers said that it started having problems because of billing issues. And it took both of them a long time to get the billing issues resolved. During that time they had no mileage tracking – which will kinda ruin your day if you’re relying on it to save big on your tax bill.
With that all said, you can guess that we’re not going to recommend this app. There are better ones, and better ones that cost less.
QuickBooks Self-Employed (QBSE) is made by the largest company of all these mileage trackers. You’d think that would be an advantage, but in the case of QuickBooks – not necessarily. The problem? Their support. It’s widely known to be horrible. If you have a problem with this mileage tracker, it’s going to be nearly impossible to get any help.
And plenty of people have had problems with it. It has consistently had problems with the mileage tracking initiating. People have lost many miles of deductions because of this problem. It has also had a known problem where it won’t track trips over 100 miles.
Since this is a QuickBooks app, you might expect it to focus heavily on the financial aspects of a small business – and you’d be right. That is its primary purpose – to keep track of income and expenses. It connects to banks and downloads all your transactions for record-keeping and accounting purposes. At the end of the year all of this is fed seamlessly into Intuit’s TurboTax which then generates your tax returns.
Mileage tracking seems to have been thrown in as an after thought judging by the number of complaints. Most of the complaints about this product focus mainly on the mileage tracking functionality. So, that appears to be the weakest aspect of QBSE.
QuickBooks Self-Employed Pricing:
This is the one app that is specifically developed for Uber and Lyft drivers. SherpaShare has been involved in developing products specifically for Uber and Lyft drivers since their inception. This app is an extension of that and includes many rideshare-specific features that the other apps have never even thought of!
For instance, the SherpaShare app connects you to a community of other drivers so you can chat and get real-time information on working conditions in your area.
They also advertise a feature they say will give you optimal routes that result in more pings. When I tried this feature, however, it didn’t really seem to work in a sensible way. This feature is really dependent upon how many other SherpaShare drivers there are in your area.
Speaking of dependence on other drivers who are signed up with SherpaShare, several of their best features are tied to that. If there are a lot of SherpaShare drivers in your area, then you can really get a lot of benefit out of these features.
But if there are none or only a handful, then these features won’t be of any use. However, they have between 50,000-100,000 Android installs and they say it’s used by more than one hundred thousand drivers, so perhaps when you add the Android installs to the iOS installs it comes to well over a hundred thousand.
That means if you’re in a big city, you should probably get some decent benefits from their shared features.
SherpaShare can also do other nifty things since it is designed specifically for rideshare drivers. For instance, it can be integrated with your Uber and Lyft accounts and tell you how much you’ve earned per mile driven. And it gives you nice graphs and charts showing how you’re doing this week compared to last.
They have very good reviews on Android (4.5) and similarly good on Apple (4.2). They have a handful of complaints about getting no response for support.
Their description of this plan is a little nebulous. They give you access to “an exclusive list of deals and promotions worth thousands” but they don’t give any hint as to what kinds of products those deals are on. They give you access to a “dedicated driver office hour”, but they don’t give any information on what exactly that is.
Not just unlimited mileage tracking… but all plans also include something they call, “ping maximizing tools” and driver-to-driver communications. You won’t find that anywhere else!
This app advertises all the basic functions you need in a mileage tracker. But, it is not specifically designed for rideshare drivers, so you won’t find some of the customized features a few of the other apps have.
While they claim to have auto-trip detection, we’ve seen many reviews that noted it was spotty at best. One reviewer for the Android version said “Auto tracking detection is hit or miss. Sometimes it asks, other times it asks late, today so far it hasn’t asked at all.” This sentiment was mirrored by other reviewers.
One thing StrideDrive lacks is a widget that you can put on your screen where you can instantly check its status and turn it off or on in case the auto-detection didn’t work.
When auto-tracking isn’t working in Stride, drivers have to actually open the app and turn it on. In fact, they have to open it just to make sure it’s working. It would be a lot easier if they could simply view a widget on their home screen.
One essential missing feature is they don’t give you a way to distinguish between personal and business mileage. Most of the other apps have this feature and we consider it essential.
While the app keeps track of other expenses besides mileage, they have a $1,000 limit on any single expense. So, if you incur a business expenses that’s more than $1,000, the app simply won’t accept the expense. In fact, even worse, it will make you feel bad for trying to enter it! It will flag it and call it a “false expense”!
This app is made by Stride Health – which is a company that helps people find health insurance plans. It’s free to use and it is paid for by the fact they put ads for their health services on the app. The fact that it’s made by a company far outside of the rideshare world and which doesn’t have a background in finance and taxes probably explains some of the glaring holes found in this app.
This app is missing one significant feature and that is trip auto-detection. That means every time you want to track your mileage you’d have to manually open the app and tell it to start the trip. Then you’d have to remember when the trip ends, to end the trip. Believe me, it may not sound like a big deal, but it is. You don’t want to have to pay that much attention to it.
The point of these apps is so that you can do other more worthwhile things while they worry about tracking your mileage.
This app has probably about the worst ratings we’ve seen on any app. It’s at 3.9 in Google’s PlayStore (it’s not available on iTunes).
When we look at what some of those reviewers say, it’s not good there either.
Many reviewers claimed that the mileage was off. Well, you can expect it to always be off a little bit with these apps – usually by a few tenths of a mile. But one reviewer said for them it was off anywhere between 10 to 60 miles!
Most disturbingly though is something several reviewers mentioned. We wouldn’t have mentioned it here if we had only seen it once. But we saw several reviewers mention this over a period of three different years. So, it bears mentioning. They said they felt cheated when they used the app all year, only to find out they had to pay $10 (in previous years) and $30 (in recent years) to download their information for tax season.
Apparently, whatever these developers are doing, they’re leading people onto believing it’s all free and then they surprise them with a big charge ($30) at the moment when they are most desperate for the information.
It may sound like a smart marketing tactic, however, no other company uses this kind of tactic. They all tell you it’s this much a month or this much a year. But this company apparently lets people have full access to all features all year long, so they have no way of knowing there’s a charge for anything. The $30 charge in itself isn’t terrible. It’s a fair charge for storing people’s information on their servers all year, but it would have been much more honest if they had just said, ‘it’s $3 a month’ or ‘$30 a year’.
They don’t tell you on their website what the paid plans offer that the free plan doesn’t. But, if we were to follow what many reviewers said, we are led to believe the paid plan simply includes the ability to download your mileage info for tax purposes each year. They are very unclear about this to their customers.
Over to You
I hope our breakdown of the most popular rideshare mileage tracking apps has been helpful for you. We did our best to stick to the details that you’ll need the most, but if we missed something, let us know and we’ll include it in the review!
What are your favorite mileage apps for rideshare drivers? Let us know in the comments below!