Where would we be without our smartphones? Literally. In addition to making calls and updating our status on Facebook, the navigation function on our smartphones helps us find our way. That said, it’s a fair statement; many people would have no idea where they are without their smartphone. The device has also infiltrated our automobiles, with more manufacturers incorporating smartphone interfaces for entertainment and accessing various functions of our cars. Predictably, independent app developers were quick to recognize the potential of automotive applications and have developed quite a few. Here are 10 of the best iPhone automotive apps we’ve seen.
10 Best iPhone Automotive Apps
10 Best iPhone Automotive Apps: Craftsman Garage Door App - Free
How many times have you gotten halfway down the block and had that nagging feeling you left the garage door open, only to turn around, drive back home and find you remembered to close it after all? Frustrating—right? The Craftsman Garage Door App can fix that. Designed to work in conjunction with the Craftsman AssureLink Internet Connected DC Chain Drive Garage Door Opener, this app will allow you to see if the door is closed, simply by looking at your smartphone. It also gives you the ability to open the door from anyplace there’s a cell phone signal. Got a package coming from FedEx, and you don’t want to have to wait until the driver arrives? Give FedEx your phone number, the driver calls you upon arrival, you open the garage, driver places the package, you close the door. And you can do it from wherever you are in the world—as long as there’s a signal.
10 Best iPhone Automotive Apps: Gas Buddy - Free
With gas hovering near the four dollar a gallon mark, finding the most inexpensive gas station you can is certainly a worthwhile endeavor. Yeah, you could drive around and look, but by the time you do that, you may well have burned up whatever savings you’ll have reaped from eventually finding a lower price. Gas Buddy, thanks to the power of crowd sourcing and aggregate reporting, knows where the cheapest gas is in pretty much every state. Users plug in prices as they go about their day-to-day, and when somebody needs to know where to go, they simply consult the app to see what’s up. Or actually, in this case—what’s down.
10 Best iPhone Automotive Apps: GoPoint - Free
Don’t you hate it when the check engine light comes on in your car, and you have to stop what you’re doing and take the car to the shop, just in case the light’s telling you your engine’s about to experience a cataclysmic melt-down? Then, when you get there, your mechanic says something like, “Oh, your gas cap was loose, just tighten it and you’ll be fine—no biggie.” Arggggh!!! The GoPoint application frees you from that anxiety. Yeah, you do have to buy the GoPoint cable to interface with your car ($100), but plug that baby into your car’s on-board diagnostic port (if your car was built in 1995 or later, you’ve got one), and you’ll know exactly what its problem is. If you’re lucky, it’s something simple like that gas cap. But if it isn’t, at least you’ll know what the deal is before you get to the garage.
10 Best iPhone Automotive Apps: Honk - $0.99
Picture it; you exit the mall, hands full of packages, and suddenly you remember you forgot where you left the car. Or, let’s say you parked at a meter in downtown, shoved a couple of coins in the meter and wound up needing to stay longer than you expected. With this app you simply drop a GPS pin when you get out of the car, pay the meter, start the timer and go do your thing. Honk will then let you know if time is running out, before the meter expires. It will also keep track of where your car is in relation to where you are when you check the app to find the information. What’s more, Honk can tell you where to find things close by like coffee houses, ATMs, and gas stations. Yeah, you’re still walking around with your hands full of packages, but at least you know where you’re supposed to be going now.
10 Best iPhone Automotive Apps: iOnRoad - $4.99
These days, new high-end cars are coming with features like collision alert, lane departure warnings, and proximity alerts. Thing is, you’re looking at a pretty sizable chunk of dough to cop one of those rides currently. Yeah, the price of that stuff will eventually come down and those features will be found in nearly every car. Until that happens though, you can still take advantage of the technology. iOnRoad uses the camera in your smartphone, along with the accelorometer and the GPS sensor to keep track of what’s going around you when you’re out on the road. Somebody stops short in front of you, the application will give you an alert. If you start drifting out of your lane, it will pull your coat to that as well. iOnRoad also provides nav information, monitors your speed, records evidence in the event of accidents, and helps you find your car in parking lots.
10 Best iPhone Automotive Apps: Parker - Free
Honk is a great app, once you’ve found a space. But what about finding a space in the first place? That’s where Parker comes in. Currently operating in New York, Dallas, Los Angeles and Boston, Parker’s parent company, Streetline has installed sensors capable of monitoring parking spaces and transmitting information about open spots to smartphones using the Parker app. To run it, simply choose a participating city, and find an area with the parking sensors. On your screen, you’ll see a map showing the number of open spaces within a specific area, along with color-coded icons to guide you to the open spaces. Parker will also show you what expect in the way of parking fees. Further, the application has the capability of accepting payment for certain lots and meters. Yes, you can even use Parker to pay for parking. Parker also keeps track of the time left on your meter, and can even give you a rough estimate of how long it will take you to get back to the meter from your current location if your travels have taken you some distance away from where you parked the car.
10 Best iPhone Automotive Apps: Trapster - Free
Another app harnessing the power of crowd sourcing and aggregate reporting, Trapster’s 20 million users plug in information about known speed traps and red light cameras. Hey, they’re watching us, nobody said we couldn’t watch them too. With hundreds of thousands of known speed traps and infraction cameras in its database, when you have the app activated on your iPhone and your car approaches one of the locations, the Trapster application is capable of delivering voice alerts to let you know you’re wandering into a monitored situation. The app is also familiar with speed limits and can warn you when your car is exceeding them. Further, Trapster can alert you to the presence of accidents and road hazards. Becoming a Trapster reporter is optional, but obviously the more reporters the app has, the more detailed its information will be. If you get it, join up and share the load. The money you save just might be ours.
10 Best iPhone Automotive Apps: WAZE - Free
How long does it take to get from here to the border? What border? North, south, east, or west; it really doesn’t matter, Waze knows. It also knows where there are accidents, traffic jams, speed and police traps, and it can update roads, landmarks, house numbers, and etc. Further, Waze also identifies the cheapest fuel station near a user or along their route. Want to know about real-time, community-curated points of interest, including local events such as street fairs and protests? Waze knows that too. In addition to turn-by-turn voice navigation, real-time traffic, and other location-specific alerts, Waze simultaneously sends anonymous information, including users' speed and location back to its database to improve the service as a whole. Crowd sourcing enables the Waze community to report navigation, mapping errors and traffic accidents simply by running the app while they are driving. You can even use it to co-ordinate meeting times with other friends. If both of you have the Waze application running you can know exactly when you need to leave to get to the destination at the same time. In other words, when it comes to your travels; if you’ve a need to know, odds are Waze knows.
10 Best iPhone Automotive Apps: Witness Driving - $0.99
This application turns your iPhone into a dash cam. While it’s recording the view forward, Witness Driving also keeps track of your speed, GPS location, and the G-forces applied to your car so you have a solid record of your travels. It records what happens as you drive, marks your position on a map, keeps a record of accidents and other incidents, and even provides an accident management screen to walk you through gathering the necessary information in the event of an incident. It can also store your insurance information so you can transmit it to another driver simply by emailing it. Further, the application can be configured to email relevant data to any address you choose in the event of an incident. It’s like having the perfect witness in the car with you at all times. Hey, you never know when something might jump off. Of course now, Witness Driving can work against you too. If you’re out there doing stupid stuff, the app can be used to rat you out—best chill.
10 Best iPhone Automotive Apps: XLR8 - $0.99
OK, so let's say you got a Prius or a Mitsubishi iMiEV, or even a Tesla Model S, and you’re bored with hearing basically nothing when you drive. Well fellas — and no, we’re not being sexist here, we just think most women really don’t care if their Prius sounds like a Lamborghini Gallardo—there is, as the saying goes, most definitely an app for that. The XLR8 iPhone app uses the accelerometer built into your iPhone to deliver the sounds of acceleration, deceleration, and the gear changes of a truly powerful and exciting car as you drive along in your putt-putt. You can choose from among the likes of a Ford GT40, a NASCAR stocker, a Ferrari Italia, the aforementioned Lamborghini, or a number of other highly coveted aural signatures. You do have to buy the soundtracks once you get the app, but at roughly $2.99 each, it’s a lot cheaper than buying a Gallardo—plus you still get the gas mileage of your Prius.