Mapless: a minimalist navigation app

Last night, I picked up pizza from Olio Pizzeria in Santa Barbara. The food is excellent but it’s not an easy restaurant to find if you’re not familiar with the area since the map apps don’t take into consideration the recent street closures that allow for outdoor dining. On top of that, parking wasn’t easy to find, so when I finally found a spot a couple of blocks away, I was all turned around.

I don’t know about you but whenever I use Google Maps for walking directions, I never seem to be able to figure out which way to go at the start. That’s why I whipped out my favorite walking map app that I’ve neglected for over a year. With this simple map, you will never be confused about which way to go.

Google Maps is without a doubt one of the best things to happen to traveling but I can never figure out which way Google wants me to start walking after I tap “start directions.”

That’s one of the reasons I love Mapless. Not only will you never walk in the wrong direction again but it’s simple to use. 

The iPhone-only app, which used to be free but now costs $2.99, uses a compass arrow to point you in the direction you need to go. 

All users need to do is input their destination and Mapless tells you the distance, how many minutes it will take to get there, and your estimated arrival time. That’s it! There’s no map. There are no turn-by-turn instructions. Without steps to follow on your phone, you can look around and enjoy your walk. As the app description says, you are in command of your journey with Mapless.

It’s perfect for those who just want to explore while always heading in the right direction. 

UPDATE:
The creator of the Mapless app commented on this post with some information that you’ll find useful and that answers some of the questions I received from readers. Thanks, Mike! See his comment below:

Hi Johnny, I’m the maker of Mapless and I’m so excited that you are enjoying the app! Thank you for mentioning it and writing about it.

There’s a big new update coming out soon, with Apple Watch support and lots of other new enhancements. I don’t have a specific release date but sometime within the next month is a pretty good guess.

To answer the questions that were asked in the comments:

1/ Sadly, no Android version is available and I’m not aware of any other similar Android apps. I’ve had a few requests and I’d love to make one, but I also want to make a really good app and sometimes that takes more time… stay tuned!

2/ “Dropping a pin” or marking your current location so you can easily get back to it is a feature that several people have requested. I’m not sure if it’ll make it in the next update, but it’s certainly something I’d like to add soon.

3/ Yes, Mapless works pretty much anywhere in the world. It uses data provided by Apple, which includes a variety of sources. The main source seems to be Yelp, which has global coverage.

I am especially excited about the Watch version because it lets you avoid looking like a tourist staring at your phone all the time while walking. 🙂 The direction and the compass work surprisingly well on the Watch and it’s very intuitive.
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18 Comments On "The iPhone Map App Every Traveler Needs To Download Now"
  1. Andrew Rein|

    Wish you had told us this is ios only on your recent mention of this on Leo’s Tech Guy show. I wasted several minutes searching for this for my Android phone. Thanks for all the other good stuff you do.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Sorry for the wasted time but I’m pretty sure I mentioned it was for iOS only. Will have to go back to the tape.

  2. Mark L Steele|

    Johnny, do you know of a android version of this ?

    1. Johnny Jet|

      There’s not

  3. Ram Suntha|

    One feature that I really like to have is a way to mark or designate a point (Coordinate) (That is a spot, like on a trail) where I am so that I I can return to.

    I have asked them but they never responded.

    Would you know how to do that?

    1. Johnny Jet|

      I don’t. Sorry

  4. Fred Manna|

    Is this app good throughout the U.S. and will it work in foreign counties and overseas?

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Hi! I’ve used it in Europe and I’m pretty sure it works everywhere

  5. Craig|

    Great idea. But for many of us, android only. It’d be nice for you to recommend apps that work on both devices.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      I did look but couldn’t find one for Android.

  6. Mi|

    Thank you so much Johnny, been using this over a year now thanks your recommendation. An absolutely invaluable app!

    To the Android users complaining that is not available…get an iPhone!

  7. Mike Sax|

    Hi Johnny, I’m the maker of Mapless and I’m so excited that you are enjoying the app! Thank you for mentioning it and writing about it.

    There’s a big new update coming out soon, with Apple Watch support and lots of other new enhancements. I don’t have a specific release date but sometime within the next month is a pretty good guess.

    To answer the questions that were asked in the comments:

    1/ Sadly, no Android version is available and I’m not aware of any other similar Android apps. I’ve had a few requests and I’d love to make one, but I also want to make a really good app and sometimes that takes more time… stay tuned!

    2/ “Dropping a pin” or marking your current location so you can easily get back to it is a feature that several people have requested. I’m not sure if it’ll make it in the next update, but it’s certainly something I’d like to add soon.

    3/ Yes, Mapless works pretty much anywhere in the world. It uses data provided by Apple, which includes a variety of sources. The main source seems to be Yelp, which has global coverage.

    I am especially excited about the Watch version because it lets you avoid looking like a tourist staring at your phone all the time while walking. 🙂 The direction and the compass work surprisingly well on the Watch and it’s very intuitive.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Great to know! Thanks for sharing and creating such an incredible app. Will talk about it next week on Leo Laporte’s The Tech Guy so get ready for some downloads

  8. Brian Askari|

    This app was outstanding for our 2019 trip to England and Italy. One strategy my wife and I used, she would enter our destination on Google Maps, I would enter it on Mapless. She would look at points of interest nearby that we might want to detour to while I always had a bearing of the correct direction and ETA to our intended destination. To your point, Google Maps can be confusing and lag when walking whereas Mapless always keeps you headed in the right direction. This was especially helpful in Venice which I found especially challenging to find my bearings. Side note, I downloaded this app from a previous recommendation from Johnny (thank you). I got it for free but would gladly pay the $3 for it.

  9. Janet H Braslow|

    Does Mapless work offline? I love traveling with my UlmonPro app. I can download a whole country or city map and never worry about needing or using data or wifi as I track my position. I have used Ulmon in Africa, Europe, South America, India and even Bhutan. I am excited to try Mapless as I am leaving soon for 2 months in Thailand, including 15 days of hotel quarantine.
    BTW my grandchild in Thailand loves Surfer Dude. The fabulously low rates now at resorts allow great long weekends at the beach.

  10. Larry J|

    Have you heard how this app works in Southeast Asian Country’s, where I might not pronounce the name of the site or Restaurant I want to visit?

    1. Johnny Jet|

      it works all over. for pronunciation maybe Google Translate

  11. Tim Scottious|

    Lovely apps! Thanks for sharing John! Will use these apps on my next travels!

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