Back to list
Battle of the navigation apps
by Mackenzie M. • October 16, 2018


I think we can all agree: navigation apps have changed our lives - for the better. Can you imagine going back to the days of printing out MapQuest routes, pulling out your index map book (gasp) or just straight up winging it? With our devices pinned to the dashboards of our cars, getting to our destinations has never been easy. However, the one thing that we all can’t seem to agree on is: what is the best navigation app? Between Waze, Google maps, Apple maps, and what seems like 100 other options available in the iOS and Android stores, it can be hard to decide which one is truly the best gps navigation app of them all.

If you were to ask friends and family about which app they prefer, most likely, you will hear some very firm answers and strong opinions. Hello controversy! We decided to ask around the Canvas office in San Francisco to find which app was the most popular. Google Maps came in at first place with 65.63% of votes. In second and third place, Apple maps had 18.75% of the votes and Waze had 12.5%, respectively. 3.12% of Canvas employees voted for “other”. Though Google maps was the most popular navigation app in our office, is it truly the best? How do you know which navigation app is really best for you and your driving needs? We’ve rounded up the three most popular options and their pros/cons to help you decide which navigation app might be for you:

If you value data-driven accuracy: Google Maps

Google Maps is definitely a great go-to navigation app for those looking to optimize their driving time. One of the best parts? You can even use the mobile app without internet connection.

  • Pros:

    • Great navigation technology

    • You can use the app without the internet.

    • Provides detailed information on public transport options (including bike-friendly roads)

    • Diverse language options

    • Street view option

  • Cons:

    • Slow loading time

    • Limited route options

    • Isn’t 100% accurate all the time (doesn’t show roadblocks)


If you are looking for a community centered way to get around: Waze

Though some might find Waze a little cluttered and confusing, it has some pretty sweet features. Waze is currently owned by Google, so it definitely has some good technology behind it.

  • Pros:

    • Great for avoiding traffic and seeing traffic conditions

    • Police detection

    • Gas station prices shown for gas stations around you

    • Allows users to add friends

    • Real-time traffic updates

    • Can connect with Google Calendar

    • Shows your speed limit

  • Cons:

    • Loads a little slow (but still slightly faster than Google Maps)

    • Cluttered user interface

    • Difficult to use

    • Includes ads

    • Doesn’t allow you to put in multiple stops

    • Can’t download maps (for offline/airplane mode use)


If you’re looking for something simple and to-the-point: Apple Maps

Less can sometimes be more. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a gps navigation app without all of the bells and whistles. If you have used iOS devices over the years, chances are, you’re probably already familiar with Apple Maps.

  • Pros:

    • Integration with Siri

    • Clean interface with no distractions

  • Cons:

    • Doesn’t allow for offline use

    • Does not warn users about road conditions


Other options:

If Google Maps, Waze, and Apple Maps don’t suit your gps needs, no worries. There are tons of other great navigations apps out there for you to try. A few we’d recommend checking out include, Mapquest, and Here we Go.

The final verdict?

While some (or many) may argue that Google has the best technology and the most accurate maps out of all of the navigation app options, it’s important to find the app that really works best for you and your needs! So whether you are looking for something efficient, something fun, something simple, or something completely different - there are so many great navigation apps to choose from to save you time and get you to where you need to be!