I’ll be the first to admit it; I have a horrible sense of direction. Back in the day I used to lug around that big book of Thomas Guide maps in my back seat, but even then you’d have to know where you were to be able to find directions to where you were trying to go.
Luckily for me technology has progressed to the point where our phones have some of the best turn-by-turn navigation available. Unlike most factory navigation units your phone will have the most up to date maps, plus added features like displaying traffic. But on the flip side, using your phone for navigation requires you to use your cell phone data plan.
The Great Apple Maps Data Experiment
So getting down to brass tacks, how much data does using turn-by-turn navigation on your phone really use? Using an iPhone 7 with iOS 10 connected to a Pioneer AVH-4200NEX to use Apple Maps with CarPlay, we reset our data usage counter and set off on the routine commute to work with a mix of freeway and local driving.
20 minute drive for 10 Miles
Data Used: 3.1MB
25 minute drive for 12 Miles
Data Used: 11.3MB*
*Construction caused a re-route
The Bottom Line
Apple Maps utilizes a GPS signal for turn-by-turn navigation and not your cell phone data. The largest source of data usage is actually your phone downloading the maps for the area you are traveling in. In the case of Trip B using almost 4 times the amount of data was due to Apple Maps constantly have to download the map to find a new route.
While data use will vary from person to person this quick experiment shows that using Apple Maps shouldn’t be a cause for concern for those worrying about data overages.