Gransnet forums


Using a phone as a SatNav

(21 Posts)
jeanie99 Thu 12-Sep-19 08:30:23

I'm sure there are many people who can advice on this but I am confused.
Our old SatNav which doesn't need Internet is not working properly now it's some years old.
My husband and I have I Phones, I have been told we can use these as SatNav BUT we do not have much data on our phones contracts.
Do we need an internet connection to use them as a SatNav or not.

M0nica Thu 12-Sep-19 08:37:23

I use my phone for sat nav in the car. No idea how it works, presumably through the mobile phone connection, which means data.

I admit I do not do it often, I prefer maps but it can be very convenient for fine tuning the last mile or so of a journey.

NanaandGrampy Thu 12-Sep-19 08:57:59

Yes you do need an internet connection to use your phone as a sat nav if you want it to update as you go, for instance regarding traffic issues , so it will you use data.

I think you can find a route whilst at home on your wifi and save that and then use it as you go but it will not update so if the traffic situation changed you wouldn't be aware of it.

bikergran Thu 12-Sep-19 08:58:28

I believe if you download the maps before you leave the house(use your home wifi to do the bulk) then you click on the map you have downloaded once in the car and it uses less data.
Not used it myself but maybe give it a little try see how it goes.

sodapop Thu 12-Sep-19 09:04:14

I have used my phone's sat nav but don't find it easy. My children and grandchildren use it all the time with no problems.

Davidhs Thu 12-Sep-19 09:08:13

I’m not sure how much data they use, they certainly use a lot of power as a satnav, so make sure you have a charge cable with you
I’ve had to resort to my iPhone several times when the car satnav got it wrong

B9exchange Thu 12-Sep-19 09:20:23

Waze is an app that you can download from Apple or the Play Store, it is free, more accurate than most paid for SatNav software, and if you don't mind Google knowing your whereabouts, the way to go if you don't have a built in Satnav in the car.

For 1 hour driving in 3D mode, it consumes up to 4MB and in 2D mode, it takes up to 2MB, so you can work out if your data allowance will cater for it.

As others have said, download your route at home before you set off to save on data usage. and do get a reliable phone mount for the dashboard or screen, the number of times mine fell off the screen at a critical moment was one of the drivers to move to a car with SatNav built in! grin

Missfoodlove Thu 12-Sep-19 09:23:40

Yes to load the journey you will need WiFi.
Once loaded at home the information is stored on your phone.
Trial it by going to google maps, type in your destination, you may have 1 or 2 options. Click directions making sure it’s by car not public transport or on foot! Off you go 🚗🚗

Teacheranne Thu 12-Sep-19 09:33:42

My old iPhone 5 screen is too small for me to use it as a Satnav when driving! So I look at a map before setting off then stop if I need to refresh my memory.

For long journeys I write down the route and stick the paper on my dashboard.

My next car will definitely have a built in Satnav!

fizzers Thu 12-Sep-19 09:40:54

I used Google maps on my Android phone recently for a 100 mile journey and it hardly used any data

NanaMacGeek Thu 12-Sep-19 16:21:56

I don't have current experience of using in-car satnav, only hearsay from friends. I have used Google maps on my Android phone but don't like driving with it, it is illegal to interact with a mobile phone while driving and I don't have a good way of securing my phone so I can see it on the windscreen.

My friends' built-in car satnav is out of date, they need to get their main dealer to update it (at a cost). It doesn't seem to be very useful in rapidly changing traffic or tell them about delays ahead and, where there are new builds, they haven’t a hope of finding them.

I have a satnav that has a built-in phone SIM. I paid a one-off cost. I regularly update it using wifi at home and it uses live traffic information to keep me informed throughout my journey. I'm not a fan of sticking the device to the screen with a suction pad but haven't found anything better. The interface isn't as simple as I would expect but it works well with my mobile phone which adds functionality.

However, the live updates are fantastic and so is the on-screen layout. If I'm planning ahead, I will look at Google map's streetview because a postcode and a house number is not always available.

There are choices, I'm still to be convinced that built-in car satnav is flexible enough and can be simply updated. Mobile phone apps are pretty good too but I prefer a dedicated satnav device.

Granarchist Thu 12-Sep-19 16:33:32

Google maps on an iphone gives verbal instructions so you dont need to look at a screen. I used it recently on a 600k bike ride across France and it was brilliant - although the pronounciation of French place names was a bit insane.

Marmight Thu 12-Sep-19 16:59:44

I use Google maps on my mobile most of the time. It’s quicker than using the car’s sat nav which is quite complicated. Occasionally it loses connection but soon gets going again. The ‘ voice’ is very polite but bossy and forever telling me to make a U Turn. I tell her what to do with her U Turn 😂

TwiceAsNice Thu 12-Sep-19 17:27:17

I use my iPhone as a sat nav when not sure where Im going . I have a holder in the car and can see it easily but I can’t seem to find out how to get it to talk to me when in the holder. Can anybody help with that?

NanaandGrampy Thu 12-Sep-19 17:37:26

Granarchist that made me chuckle , we drive a Spanish brand car and I swear 'Jose' struggles with Norfolk place names :-)

jeanie99 Sat 14-Sep-19 10:06:19

Just a big THANK YOU to everyone I have read everything to my hubby so we'll have a go together before our next journey.
We have the thing which sticks to the windscreen with a holder on it.
Our phones have small screens but fingers crossed we can see it and with the help of the speaker find our way.
I have arranged a move to another service provider for my phone and I get 2.5 GB instead of the 250mb I had previously so this should be alright for the Internet use.
Thank you again.

toscalily Sat 14-Sep-19 11:17:23

OH has no sense of direction what so ever and always uses the Sat Nav. He can get lost even with the Sat Nat, drives me mad so we argue more (often!) when he is driving somewhere he does not know. I am a map person, always have been and travel widely without the use of sat nav, with the exception of busy towns where one way systems and no entries here, there & every where mess up even my sense of direction. It will drain your battery so you definitely need to have an in car charger and it will use your data. Might be worth checking if you can get a better phone package deal from your provider. If you have the speaker on you should be able to follow the spoken directions even without the looking at the map which I think is a bit dangerous when the screen is quite small.

chelseababy Sat 14-Sep-19 11:29:10

I note you do have a holder but I believe it's illegal to use your phone as a sat nav without one.

Marmight Fri 20-Sep-19 14:41:40

It’s not illegal to use your phone as a satnav without a holder so long as you don’t touch/look at it. I set my destination, have it on loudspeak and leave it on the passenger seat or lodged on my bag. I don’t need to look at the map if I am being given detailed voice instructions!

Farmor15 Fri 20-Sep-19 14:58:15

I use Google maps frequently in the car. It uses very little data and like Marmight says, I let it talk to me. If you have a passenger, they can look at screen and also give you warning of turns coming up.

Farmor15 Fri 20-Sep-19 15:02:00

Another useful thing is that travel time is more accurate with Google maps than SatNav as it uses live updates of traffic and seems to know what average speed is like on different types of road. Useful if planning a trip for following day- though traffic will vary day to day.