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Whether you’re driving for a rideshare company or a food delivery service, having the best navigation app will help you earn more money in less time.
Every second counts when you’re driving for an on-demand business. As an independent contractor, you don’t have a set hourly wage — a fact that you can turn into a huge earning opportunity with the right navigation tool installed. By avoiding traffic and finding the smoothest routes, you’ll serve more customers and earn more tips every hour.
Here are our top four selections for the best navigation apps for iPhone and Android users.
1. Google Maps
Google Maps has been a long-time leader in the navigation world, and because of its unmatched history of data and massive user base, the platform is still the best overall solution for drivers everywhere. This well-rounded free app is highly trusted for its accuracy.
Whether you need real-time traffic conditions, traffic alerts, or a route with a perfectly accurate ETA, Google Maps can pretty much do it all. It’s a traditional, but extremely sophisticated app that has a massive user base feeding it data each day. With this data, Google provides excellent turn-by-turn navigation, even providing lane guidance and alerting you when you’re close to a freeway exit. This makes it efficient for you to drive without worrying about missing street names or tight turns.
Google Maps is also great for offline use. You can download detailed maps for small regions before heading out. Plus, even if you suddenly lose data connection and didn’t download maps, your offline GPS will still be able to guide you until you reconnect.
If you want a reliable and hassle-free navigation app that any driver can successfully use to earn more money, Google Maps is a leading pick that won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.
Even when compared to Google Maps, Google-owned Waze still holds strong and remains a favorite among many gig workers. This unique navigation app is nearly unmatched in the amount of opportunities it provides for drivers to customize and interact with the platform.
What makes Waze particularly unique is the fact that it is community-driven, receiving both passive data from drivers using the app and data that drivers personally contribute to the platform. Because of this, Waze may inform you of potholes, road closures, and hazards that other navigation platforms may miss. It can also steer you away from unpaved roads and show you nearby gas stations with a tap.
While Waze doesn’t provide lane guidance and can’t function properly without solid Wi-Fi or data, it is a free application that will get you to your destination faster with live traffic data. In fact, its ability to send drivers on the fastest routes (even with a minute’s difference) may lead you on odd routes filled with seemingly random turns, alleyways, and more.
That said, we highly recommend Waze as a top choice for delivery drivers, who will benefit from every minute of saved time. For rideshare drivers, driving through strange routes may confuse riders or provide a poor experience filled with turns.
3. Sygic GPS Navigation & Maps
Sygic has perhaps the most impressive map display of any GPS app on this list. Offering incredibly well-crafted 3D maps, voice navigation in over 50 languages, and offline maps with free and frequent updates, the platform makes it easy to navigate your way through unfamiliar areas without missing a turn.
In addition to its overarching features, the Sygic GPS Navigation & Maps app offers local lane guidance and accurate turn-by-turn directions. Like Waze, Sygic will warn you of speed cameras and other speed traps on your route. The platform also has advanced traffic updates provided by TomTom, a consumer electronics company that’s also known for helping Apple Maps become successful.
In terms of other display options, this app particularly stands out for two reasons that increase your safety. First, it allows you to integrate with modern vehicles’ infotainment systems for a larger display. Second, it has a heads up display option that can reflect navigation information off your windshield when driving at night, so your eyes are constantly facing ahead.
However, Sygic does come with one major downside. This navigation map is extremely pricey. Its pricing ranges from $62.49 to $124.99, and you’ll have to pay at least $99.99 to receive real-time traffic information. In-app purchases are also available for additional costs. We recommend this app particularly for people with an infotainment system, and when the app is discounted, as it is right now. You may be able to get a free version for a short trial period.
4. HERE WeGo
HERE WeGo is largely known as a leading app for public transit and taxi users, but it also provides efficient driving directions in major cities. Initially developed by Nokia and called Here Maps, then released as a Windows phone GPS app, this free platform is now available for all smartphone users in over 100 countries.
One of the most notable features of this app is its ability to provide you with data about traffic jams and parking even before you begin the trip. This is especially useful for areas where it’s difficult to find a place to wait for requests or stop to pick up orders.
HERE WeGo additionally provides excellent functionality without an internet connection, and allows you to easily download an entire state’s map. While you’re driving with data on, you’ll receive seamless rerouting options and alerts when you start exceeding the speed limit.
We don’t recommend this app for UberPool or Lyft Shared drivers, as multiple stops cannot be added, but for all other drivers, this app is one of the top offline navigation apps out there.
Frequently Asked Questions
With all your top navigation app choices lined up, you can easily determine which platform is for you. To help you with your selection, here are our answers to some frequently asked questions:
1. I own an Apple device. Can I use Apple Maps instead?
While it initially came with a handful of navigation issues, Apple Maps has greatly improved over the years and was only left out of the lineup because its availability is limited to iPhones only, with no download option on Android phones. We do recommend using the Apple Maps app when driving in the northern California area, if it’s available to you. While Google Maps continues to be the top contender in most scenarios, Apple Maps has surpassed Google in detail in that specific area.
2. How does Uber’s in-app navigation compare to the listed navigation apps?
If you’re driving for Uber or Uber Eats, you know that Uber uniquely provides its own company-run navigation within the driver app. The positive side of this is that drivers don’t have to switch between apps to accept requests and complete trips. However, many Uber drivers and couriers are still opting to use outside maps due to their far greater reliability, since the company still doesn’t have enough data to fully compete.
That said, we recommend using Google Maps or Waze when driving for an Uber service, as Uber allows these navigation apps to be set as your preferred platform. Uber navigation is primarily useful when driving at events they’ve partnered with, where the company has first-hand information about road blocks and designated pick-up locations.
3. How does Lyft’s in-app navigation compare to the listed navigation apps?
Lyft’s in-app navigation is actually just Google Maps integrated with Lyft branding and functions, rather than a feature developed directly by the company. Using Lyft’s in-app navigation on trips will get you the same accuracy and logical routing that you’d expect from Google Maps. However, some drivers still choose to use the external Google Maps app simply because it provides better customization options, and also allows you to add stops beyond your pick-up and drop-off locations. This is useful if you need to stop at the gas station, eat lunch, or go to the bathroom before you continue accepting requests.
Find the Smartest Routes to Your Destination
With our selection of the best GPS apps available on both the Google Play store and the App Store, you’ll be able to find smart routes for any situation. Every GPS navigation app has its perks, so making your selection based on your needs and preferences will help you drive more efficiently than ever. There’s no point in wasting time in traffic or rerouting due to road hazards when so many solutions are available for you.
Brett Helling is the owner of Ridester.com. He has been a rideshare driver since early 2012, having completed hundreds of trips for companies including Uber, Lyft, and Postmates. In 2014 he acquired Ridester.com to share his experiences with other drivers. His insights are regularly quoted by publications such as Forbes, Vice, CNBC, and more. He is currently working on a book about working in the Gig Economy, expanding his skill set beyond the rideshare niche. Read more about Brett here.