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GPS with iPhone

This may be a stupid question but.... I am planning to hire a car during Scotland trip once outside of Edinburgh. I want to use the maps app on my phone - would this incur charges?

Posted by
5677 posts

You would be using data and so yes, would incur charges. You can set it up to just use wifi, but I think you would find that this is not feasible in the highlands. I would suggest a good map as a back up. If you are in Edinburgh, Waterstones probably will have some.


Posted by
7 posts

Thanks Pam... For the info ...have a good map I think but have been totally spoiled by my Siri guide leading me...

Posted by
2615 posts

many cars now have built in GPS, just check with the hire company. I had a people carrier (van to you in US) last weekend for a trip to a family wedding , built in GPS was included and very useful as we were visting a part of the country I had never been to.

Posted by
6113 posts

If the car doesn't come with sat nav, then most car hire places will offer you this option for a fee. You don't say where you are going, but note that mobile phone coverage can be intermittent/non-existant in some rural parts of Scotland.

The Copilot app once installed doesn't use data, so this maybe cheaper than hiring a sat nav.

Posted by
9079 posts

You would be using data and so yes, would incur charges.

Depends on who your carrier is. Tmobile USA includes international coverage at no extra charge. So under that scenario it would be free.

If your carrier charges extra, a work around is to download an offline mapping app (maps2go)which already puts mapping data into your iphone's memory. There would be no data charges.

Posted by
4363 posts

We found in France, with no phone or data service at all, we still got live GPS location on a zoomable streetmap. You don't need data or service for this. And no, I don't know how it worked, but I can guess. There's always a GPS locator active on the iPhone (unless you turn it off), and it works without service. And there must be built in maps saved in the memory for somewhat common locations, although I wouldn't have thought western Normandy would have been a pre-loaded map on an iPhone.

Posted by
9079 posts

If you don't have cell phone service available, an Iphone uses satellite, and WiFi GPS to determine your location.
Whenever you enter a new locale the Apple and Google map Apps download street data when you are connecting to Wifi, and it remains in the memory of the Iphone.

Posted by
824 posts


If you don't want to go the local pay-as-you-go SIM route for your phone, I suggest you have a detailed conversation with your home-country cellular provider. Most cellular plans from the USA charge VERY steep data charges when used overseas.

Another alternative is to download the Maps with Me (Maps.Me) app from the app store. This mapping app works a lot like a GPS in that it displays a real time map and allows you to perform simple routing searches. What sets it apart from iMaps and Google Maps is that it works without a cellular or WIFI connection. You can put your phone into airplane mode and it will still work. The one caveat - you should spend some time BEFORE your trip downloading the high resolution maps while on WIFI at home. A couple hours of playing around with it will make you a power-user...

You don't state what model of iPhone you have but as I understand it, all iPhones in the USA since version 4S came with support for GSM quad-band and the GSM radio was "unlocked" for non-USA SIM cards. I have used a 4S, 5 and 6 in England and Italy with great success.

Posted by
271 posts

I'm a little late to this but for what it's worth...we drove around France this summer using our iPhone 6's built in GPS and an app from Garmin (Garmin StreetPilot Western Europe) with downloaded maps. No wifi. No cell/data plan. It had the usual sat/nav information about where the nearest gas station, market, etc. is. We were doing a house/car exchange and our exchange partner's car didn't have sat/nav. We try to get to Europe for three weeks every year so the cost is spread over many years for us.

BTW - A few years ago, we rented a car from Avis at Heathrow, declined the sat/nav, and found it built into the car anyway.