In the age of connected things, the car is no exception. With cars like the Tesla — a car that allows drivers to download updates to their vehicle as if they were updating their smartphone — to services like Apple’s CarPlay, those of you who love technology can certainly get your fill of dashboard gadgetry. We realize that not all of you own a car that is compatible with these services, though, so we’ve put together a list of the best car apps for the iPhone, each of which make your daily commute far more tolerable.
With accident and real-time traffic condition reports, Waze is a must-have when it comes to navigation. What makes Waze so neat is that you can use it to send your location and estimated time of arrival to friends or colleagues with a simple tap. The app also has a sense of community, as you are encouraged to contribute and get other people’s reports on traffic conditions. In addition to having great up-to-date maps for navigation, you can use Waze to find the nearest gas stations and information on places of interest and businesses.
Here’s an app that takes navigation to the next level. It aims to be the go-to app in your car by offering one-tap calling and music, in addition to navigation. Open Road costs $2 to purchase and it doesn’t have an ad-supported version that you can try. The good news is that you will get all the premium features for that up-front price. What makes this iPhone car app different is that it tries to be comprehensive, so you can use it while driving with one-tap shortcuts to your favorite contacts and playlists. This app is compatible with Spotify, and it even has its own Find My Car feature.
We’ve all had car trouble, and My Mechanic lets you keep track of your vehicle’s health and diagnose issues. This app will even work with an OBD-II telematics device to diagnose your car, and then help you find a good mechanic in your area. You have the option to purchase the Mechanic Advisor Connection Key from mechanicadvisor.com that will connect to your car, and through this app, you will be able to see exactly what issues your car has. This app is a great tool to help you keep your car in good health, and put you in touch with the best mechanics nearby.
If you don’t already have a camera on your dash, then the DashCam app may save you from insurance fraud or bad traffic tickets, or provide the right information to the police in case of an accident. The app will also record helpful information like your route and your average speed, and it stores the video locally within the application. You can also share a video on YouTube, send it through email, or play it back through an AirPlay enabled device. This app supports both landscape and portrait mode.
With over 60 million users, GasBuddy will help you find the cheapest gas anywhere you are. If you’re on the road, you can use GasBuddy to find a gas station by price, but also by distance if you’re almost running on empty. The app encourages you to participate and report on prices. You can even enter the daily competition to win $100 in free gas. This app is compatible with iMessage and the Apple Watch.
If you’re planning a long drive, or just like to listen to audiobooks on your way to work, then you may want to take a look at Audiobooks.com. You can download the audiobook straight to your iPhone without having to sync it with your computer, or you can just choose to stream it over Wi-Fi or through your data connection. The app also has a selection of featured samples that you can listen to and a huge library of over six thousand free books. As a nice bonus, this app is also fully compatible with your Apple Watch and CarPlay.
Here’s an app — that’s very easy to use — for listening to shows and podcasts from NPR and local public radio. You’ll have access to the shows that you already follow, and the app will also let you listen to any news that you missed with its Catch Up section. The more you use the NPR app, the more the app will learn what you like and bring you the stories that matter most to you. From news to podcasts, NPR One has something for everyone. This app is also fully compatible with the Apple Watch and CarPlay.
If you like baseball, you’re probably already familiar with this app. MLB.com At Bat has everything you need to know about baseball. One of the standout features of the app on iPhone is the ability to watch videos. You won’t be able to watch videos while driving, but you can listen to any games available through the radio feature. You’ll have access to stats, breaking news, schedules and more. Subscription prices are $3 per month or $20 per year, and you need to subscribe to access the radio feature. This app is also compatible with the Apple Watch and CarPlay.
When it comes to music, Spotify is one of the most popular music streaming services. If you’re not one of the 20 million subscribers who chose Apple Music, then you should check out what Spotify has to offer. When you open the app in your car, you’ll have three sections on top to access your library, browse, and radio. You can listen for free with ads, or if you want to get rid of all ads, you can opt for Spotify Premium. The premium service costs $10 per month, $5 per month for students, or $15 per month for a family package which includes you and up to six other people. This app is also compatible with CarPlay.
Pandora’s app is as simple as they come. You just open the app, choose the station, and it will start playing your music. The idea of this app is that it will evolve with you and your listening tastes. Because Pandora learns from you, it will keep playing music you enjoy without needing input from you while you drive. An app that you can just set and forget is ideal while behind the wheel. If you want the experience to be free of ads, you can subscribe to Pandora Plus which costs $5 per month. For even more features — like downloading songs to listen offline and higher quality audio — you can subscribe to Pandora Premium for $13 per month. This app is also compatible with CarPlay.