8 Best Compass Apps For 2022 [Biking and Hiking]

Are you looking for the best compass app that is now a necessity for outdoor activities? The need for compass apps arises when you’re performing an activity away from your usual route, so it can be tough to get back using traditional compass methods. Compass apps use your phone’s internal sensors, including a magnetometer and accelerometer, to provide accurate readings of direction, bearing, speed, etc.

They also have additional features such as waypoints and electronic versions, which work even if the phone has no reception or hardware.

Although these have similar features, the usefulness of each one varies with factors such as usability and interface design. With hundreds of these available in the Google Play Store, finding the best compass app that suits your requirements can be difficult.

To simplify things for you, we’ve created a list of useful apps for hikers/campers, electric compasses (which work even if you don’t have required hardware), and navigation apps with augmented reality views of your surroundings. A similar list of best running apps can also help you if you are into different outdoor activities.

We’ll also recommend a few with creative uses that’ll make your camping trip fun. Please note: We tried our best to be unbiased in this article, but some are more popular than others, so their rankings may be biased.

So without further ado, here is the list of best compass apps that you should consider:

ViewRanger GPS Hiking and Mountain Biking compass app

  • Price: Free / Varies according to in‑app purchases
  • OS Requirement: Android 4.0+
  • Version Reviewed: 1.9.3 (latest version as of now)
view ranger the best compass app for hiking and mountain biking

Notes: This compass app can be used for both hiking/biking and mountaineering activities. It displays your location on a detailed map, tracks your route using headings, elevation data, shows map shortcuts/icons for mountains trails, public transport stops or points of interest (POIs), and waypoints such as campsites or peaks.

This compass app shows a trail’s distance, ascent/descent, and waypoints from your location. The compass always points north at the top of the screen, which is great for bearing corrections. You can also change settings to use bearings instead of the phone’s compass, so you don’t have to hold your phone flat in front of you all the time.

ViewRanger doesn’t provide compass headings when navigating between two locations, but it does list them on pre-defined trails that you can download from their website.

Smart Compass + GPS Pro

  • Price: Free / $1.99
  • OS Requirement: Android 4.0+
  • Version Reviewed: 1.5

Notes: This app displays compass headings using a compass needle on the edge of your screen with an accuracy of ±2°. It works even if you don’t have hardware available on your device.

bestandroidcompassappforfree

This is one of the best compass app has two modes – compass mode and gyroscope mode. The needle in the gyroscope mode is more responsive, but it remains locked at the current orientation when not moving, while the needle moves according to physical laws. Both modes make use of your phone’s magnetometer, accelerometer, GPS receiver/network location provider, and Google Play Services for accurate positioning information.

You can set custom colors for both needle types (compass & gyro), customize push notifications ( compass calibration notification or magnetic declination notification), and customize settings such as update frequency, cardinal point notifications, etc. This also lets you add markers automatically so that you always know your present location or direction of travel manually without having to turn on the GPS.

Compass & Map

  • Price: Free / $0.99
  • OS Requirement: Android
  • 4.2+ Version Reviewed: 1.5

Notes: If all you need is a simple compass with your device’s magnetic and true north readings, then this will do just fine. It displays both types of compass readings on its circular interface with an accuracy of ±1° (true north) and ±4° (magnetic). The compass always points north at the top of the screen, and it can also show headings when navigating between two locations.

This lets you search for your location (latitude/longitude) on a map, add marks manually, use augmented reality to get readings using the camera, and measure distances using a bearing or straight-line distance. This doesn’t provide compass headings during navigation, but it does list them on pre-defined trails that you can download from their website. It’s also worth mentioning here that there is a paid version ($0.99) of this compass app with no ads and additional features for measuring areas more accurately and determining whether certain peaks in the area are above or below sea level.

This compass app has a view screen with readings for both acceleration and rotation. It shows your device’s heading as well as degrees. You can also tilt the map to change your bearing. And it’s free!

Also, this doesn’t have a GPS mode, so you will need to use your device’s compass alone – but this is fine if you want only magnetic/true north readings, and you don’t need an extra GPS service draining your battery.

Compass Gallery

  • Price: Free / Up to $4.99
  • OS Requirement: Android 4.1+
  • Version Reviewed: 1
  • Requirements: Requires compass hardware on the device

Notes: The Pro version of this app ($4.99) adds compass headings when navigating between two locations, readings in Google Maps, mark trails (marks on pre-defined paths with start and endpoints), use compass views as a wallpaper on the lock screen, and a widget that can be used for quick access.

This provides the following compass modes – magnetic mode (for magnetic north readings), true mode (for true north readings), bearing/orientation mode, and augmented reality mode. It also has an altimeter that shows your current altitude along with atmospheric pressure. This app calculates your location based on your device’s compass hardware and GPS or from pre-defined locations if you’re indoors without any sensor support. During my tests, I found that the compass readings were accurate within about 1°.

There’s also a map that shows your location and destination (you can add more locations or start from scratch), but it doesn’t have a headings function during navigation.

This has an annoying calibration issue – every time I closed the screen and reopened it, it would read my current compass heading incorrectly by 180°. So opening this compass app would either show north as south or south as north, depending on how you move your device and where the calibration data is stored in memory.

And removing all marker data reset my device’s compass once again to point in some random direction even though I returned to the same place with nothing around me changing. This compass app also has wallpaper capability, widget function, and theme support.

Compass & Level by Pavlin Mavrodin

  • Price: Free / Up to $3.99
  • OS Requirement: Android 4.1+
  • Version Reviewed: 1
  • Requirements: Requires compass hardware on the device

Notes: This provides the following modes – magnetic mode (for magnetic north readings), true mode (for true north readings), bearing orientation, augmented reality mode, and leveling/angle measurement mode.

It can show different angles like slope angles measured in degrees or percentage grade, elevation angles measured in degrees or percent of incline/decline, and pitch/roll angles measured between two points. You can also switch views between a view and a map.

This isn’t as accurate in my tests as other compass apps because it used the device’s internal accelerometer for determining readings instead of using the device’s magnetic field sensor combined with the GPS (which is more reliable). But this was consistent after closing and reopening and didn’t have any calibration issues like Compass Gallery, or True North Compass Lite had. It won’t show you your current location on its map unless you tell it to use your device’s GPS, but if you only need a compass heading, then it will do just fine.

TrueNorth Lite

  • Price Free / $1.99
  • OS Requirement: Android 4.1+
  • Version Reviewed: 1
  • Requirements: Requires compass hardware on the device

Notes: This compass app provides the following modes – true mode (for true north readings), magnetic mode, bearing/orientation, and navigation orientation. It also has a compass map screen that shows your current location (based on GPS) along with headings for all markers you’ve set in the past.

This may be one of the most accurate I’ve tested so far. However, it still wouldn’t show my current location using GPS unless I left it open for over 10 minutes, which drains my battery faster than usual. So if you need quick access to a compass heading, this will do just fine. But if you need accurate readings with your current location using GPS, then you’d be better off using a compass app with pre-defined locations instead.

Smart Compass (with map)

  • Price Free
  • OS Requirement: Android 2.2+
  • Version Reviewed: 1
  • Requirements: Requires compass hardware on the device

Notes: This app provides the following modes – magnetic mode (for magnetic north readings), true mode (for true north readings), and bearing/orientation. It has a map screen that shows your location along with headings for all the markers you’ve set in the past, but it doesn’t show any further detail like roads or routes.

This app does not have calibration issues that apps using its internal compass hardware had, making it more accurate and stable than Gallery or True North Lite. It doesn’t have as much functionality as the other apps like Smart Compass Pro (see review below), but it will work just fine if you need a heading with your device’s current location. And the compass map screen is displayed in landscape mode by default, but you can change it to portrait mode under settings.

Compass Pro

  • Price $0.99 OS
  • Requirement: Android 2.2+
  • Version Reviewed: 1
  • Requirements: Requires compass hardware on the device

Notes: This app provides the following modes – magnetic mode (for magnetic north readings), true mode (for true north readings), and bearing to destination. It also has a compass map screen that shows your location along with compass headings for all the markers you’ve set in the past, but it doesn’t show any further detail like roads or routes.

This app was accurate when tested alongside Smart Compass (see review above) on my Motorola Droid Razr M running Android 4.1.2. Since I haven’t noticed any issues while using this app, it will probably work just fine with other hardware on other devices. So if you need quick access to a heading with an accurate reading, this best compass app will do just fine.

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