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Top GPS Apps for the iPhone - 2013 Edition

Apple Maps just doesn't cut it for everyone, so there is a rich market of GPS alternatives for the iPhone. Many are good. In this review we test Google Maps for iOS, Navigon USA, Gokivo, MapQuest, Scout, Nokia HERE Maps, Waze and even Apple Maps.


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Current location
Gokivo is an interesting GPS navigation app for iOS from Networks In Motion. The last major update the app got was back in 2009. Since then, the app has changed a great deal, and for the better I might add.

Gokivo offers both basic and 3-D turn-by-turn navigation on your iPhone, offering both spoken directions and street names as well as real highway signs and road views. Its monthly and yearly subscription prices for both its basic and enhanced 3-D navigation include automatic provision of updated maps via your carrier's data plan or local Wi-Fi signal.

The app supports social networking features via Facebook. It will post your location via FB check in to your Timeline. Like FourSquare, this is good and bad, as it lets others – read your local criminal element – know that you aren't home, so exercise caution when posting data of this type. It's also not a great idea to network on Facebook while you drive. If you must check in somewhere, please do so after you are done driving.

The app has support for local search so that you can find movie theaters, gas stations, local events, etc., near your current location. Gokivo can do this via text as well as voice input. Though it does local search very well, that's not the app's strongest point. The app is very good at multitasking, giving you the ability to control and listen to your favorite audio app while continuing to receive audio directions in either English or Spanish.

I found the app and its 3-D navigation interface to be a bit clunky, however. I really hate the cutesy car icon that it uses to illustrate your location. I was much happier with the blue dot in other screens.

The app also REALLY wants you to stick to the route it plans for your trip, using the data it has. If, for example, you're on a road that is close to, but not part of its current map, the app will only reroute you so many times before it finally assumes you're off road and don't want to go to your destination. The app doesn't quit, but will cancel your planned route, leaving the displayed map on your iPhone's screen.

This was the app's fatal flaw for me. Any app that I use, especially a GPS app, shouldn't assume that I want to cancel a trip whether I'm on route or not. Even a GPS app that delivers Maps on Demand may not have the latest road schematic, especially in newer residential areas. Making an assumption that I'm off-road and don't want to go to my planned destination and auto killing the navigation session isn't acceptable.

Click here for Gokivo on iTunes
Price: App is free, Basic Navigation is $0.99/mo. or $9.99/year; 3D navigation is $4.99/mo., $19.99.year
App Type: Maps on Demand

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Next Page: MapQuest

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