The 8 Best Driving Apps To Make Your Commute More Fun

Turn your phone into a dashcam, have it entertain you while you drive, and more!

Listening to audible during commute
MarioGuti/iStock

Commutes don’t necessarily have to be so stressful, even if you’re the one behind the wheel. In fact, the best apps for driving can help maintain safety, productivity, and/or fun while you’re stuck on transportation. Ready to improve your week? Check out these driving apps for Android and iOS devices (listed in no particular order).

01
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Android Auto

The Android Auto app shown on a vehicle dashboard screen and a smartphone
Android Auto offers a simplified interface and large buttons for easy switching between navigation, media, and calls/messages. Android Auto

What We Like

  • Completely hands-free with Google Assistant.

  • Lets you pick the navigation app used for directions.

  • Connects to services like your calendar and reminders.

  • Sends and receives messages.

What We Don't Like

  • Works with Android only.

Distracted driving is a growing concern, so those who want to maintain safe driving while accessing smartphone tools would do well with the Android Auto app. Android Auto app benefits users by offering a simplified interface and large buttons for easy switching between GPS navigation, media, and calls/messages.

What’s great about Android Auto is its compatibility with over three dozen apps — you’re not stuck to some default choice. Use either Google Maps or Waze for GPS directions. Listen to audio through Pandora, Spotify, Overdrive, Podcast Addict, jetAudio music player, and more. Connect with others through SMS, Facebook Messenger, Skype, WhatsApp Messenger, and more, all of which can be operated through voice actions.

Available on: Android

Price: Free

02
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DailyRoads Voyager

A screenshot of the DailyRoads Voyager app
DailyRoads Voyager offers many important navigation and recording features in a simple interface. DailyRoads Voyager

What We Like

  • Provides an easy-to-use interface.

  • Records video continuously.

  • Lets you customize the features.

  • You can pay for more features like no ads.

What We Don't Like

  • Doesn't work with iOS.

Dashcams are more than just a passing fad for posting YouTube videos. These tools help drivers stay safe and ensure accountability for self and other drivers on the road (i.e. a video recording of an accident can be decisive when it comes to insurance claims/fraud). But if you want the functionality without having to purchase another gadget, there are mobile apps that let smartphones do double-duty as dashcams.

DailyRoads Voyager offers many important features in a simple interface: continuous video recording, timestamps and geotags on video/photos, screen brightness adjustment, a built-in file manager/browser, and more. The app also hosts a list of settings to fine-tune and customize the experience.

Available on: Android

Price: Free (offers in-app purchases)

03
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MileIQ

Screenshots of the MileIQ app
MileIQ uses your device’s system clock and GPS to automatically track and log each of your trips. MileIQ

What We Like

  • Works with both iOS and Android.

  • The simple interface makes following along and understanding easy.

  • You can pay to have it track unlimited drives per month.

What We Don't Like

  • Has problems not catching every trip.

  • The free plan limits tracking to just 40 trips every month.

For many, commuting goes hand-in-hand with business driving expenses (i.e., write-offs used for tax deductions and/or charity). But if you’ve had a busy and/or exhausting day, it can be easy to forget to write down accurate logs on paper. Thankfully, smartphones with apps like MileIQ can handle all that work for you.

MileIQ uses your device’s system clock and GPS to automatically track and log each of your trips. It accurately notes the start/stop times as well as total miles driven (down to a fraction of a mile). You can quickly categorize trips as business, personal, or charity, and the data can be quickly exported as (IRS compliant) expense spreadsheets.

Available on: Android, iOS

Price: Free (offers in-app purchases)

04
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GasBuddy

Screenshots of the GasBuddy app
The GasBuddy app shows gas station results with filters for price, brand, location, and amenities. GasBuddy

What We Like

  • Works with iPhones and Androids.

  • Supports filtering the results.

  • Includes competitions to win free gas.

  • It's community driven.

  • Includes other features specific to your vehicle.

What We Don't Like

  • Might drain your phone's battery.

Fueling up is part and parcel when it comes to owning and driving a vehicle. Anyone who has spent enough time topping off tanks understands that a even few cents per gallon certainly makes a difference. And then there’s that rub of looking across the street after your tank is full, only to see another station offering cheaper gas. If you want to make sure that you never overpay again, GasBuddy will be your pal.

GasBuddy has been around for years, thanks to the massive community of users that report/update local gas prices in real-time. The app shows results with filters for price, brand, location, and amenities. Not only will you know if there is a better deal right around the corner, but you can read user-submitted reviews (i.e. extra savings may not be worth a filthy bathroom or terrible service) to help you decide.

Available on: Android, iOS

Price: Free

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Citymapper Transit Navigation

Screenshots of the Citymapper Transit Navigation app
Citymapper aggregates all local transit data and computes the fastest route to a destination. Citymapper

What We Like

  • It's really easy to understand.

  • The app can run on iOS and Android.

  • Very responsive and smooth.

  • Works without an internet connection (in some areas).

What We Don't Like

  • Doesn't support every city.

  • Requires more space than similar apps.

Not all commuters sit behind a wheel when going to and from work. Many — particularly those in larger cities, such as Chicago, San Francisco Bay Area, New York, Seattle, and more — use public transportation and/or walk and/or ride a bicycle. Some may have to do a combination of each! If this sounds familiar, then Citymapper Transit Navigation may end up being the best app you could possibly have on your smartphone.

Citymapper aggregates all local transit data (e.g. departures and stop locations) and computes the fastest route to a destination. The app factors in bus, subway, train, and ferries as well as taxis, car sharing, Uber/Lyft, bicycling, and/or walking. You can receive real-time alerts for delays/disruptions in transit lines, and offline maps allow you to navigate when you can’t get a steady data signal.

Available on: Android, iOS

Price: Free

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Audible

Screenshots of the Audible app
The subscription to Audible includes a credit for one free audiobook each month. Audible/Amazon

What We Like

  • Massive collection of content.

  • Very much a hands-free experience.

  • Free for a limited time.

What We Don't Like

  • Limits you to three titles every month.

Those who have long commutes might find themselves regularly grumbling about all the hours that end up lost each week. But that time doesn’t have to be left to waste, not when listening is the new reading. If it’s been a while (or never) since you’ve enjoyed a good book, then Audible will completely change your perspective on those trips to and from work.

The subscription to Audible includes a credit for one free audiobook each month (regardless of price) — these books are yours to own forever. Audible (an Amazon company) offers the largest collection of audiobooks, essentially guaranteeing something for everyone. Don’t like a book or its narrator? You can swap it for free anytime.

Available on: Android, iOS

Price: $14.95/mo (subscription)

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Pocket Casts

Screenshots of the Pocket Casts app on smartphones
The Pocket Casts interface is organized and easy to use, making it a breeze to subscribe to and browse through all your favorite podcasts. Pocket Casts

What We Like

  • Provides curated suggestions.

  • Clean design that's simple to navigate.

  • Runs on Android and iOS devices.

What We Don't Like

  • Missing the option to download episodes in bulk.

  • There isn't a free version.

If you are interested in recorded radio, internet, and/or TV shows/episodes, then podcasts may be more appealing than audiobooks. The types of podcast genres available cover news, sports, entertainment, business, science, education, politics, interviews. opinions/rants, and more. So if you want to catch up on favorite content without the interruption of ads, Pocket Casts is the way to go.

The Pocket Casts interface is organized and easy to use, making it a breeze to subscribe to and browse through all your favorite podcasts. The app automatically checks for new episodes (you can choose to receive notifications) and also offers auto-downloading for offline playback. Settings allow you to customize playback so you can focus more on listening and less on fiddling with controls.

Available on: Android, iOS

Price: $3.99

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Headspace

Screenshots of the Headspace app
Headspace guides users through mindful meditation techniques. Headspace

What We Like

  • Has a fun user interface that's easy to use.

  • Downloads quickly.

  • Offers multiple ways to pay.

  • Provides original content.

What We Don't Like

  • You have to make a user account.

  • Many features are missing in the free plan.

Sometimes, there’s no amount of music, audiobooks, or podcasts to help ease the end of your day. If you often find yourself white-knuckling (e.g. steering wheel, handlebars, balled fists, etc.) and/or experiencing road rage on the way home, then reducing stress and increasing calm will do wonders for safer driving and overall well-being. All it takes is a few minutes with the Headspace app to elevate your mental state.

Headspace guides users — those who are more experienced can opt for unguided — through mindful meditation techniques. The app offers a wide variety of sessions, grouped under broad topics of happiness, health, brave, work/performance, sport, and student. A brief session before you start driving (it’s not recommended to meditate while driving) can greatly improve your commute perspective. Riding public transportation? Feel free to delve into any exercise that sounds good in the moment.

Available on: Android, iOS

Price: Free (offers in-app purchases)