Tips for using a smartphone as GPS Bike

How to use a smartphone as GPS bike? What is the best app or best smartphone for GPS Bike? Continue reading and discover them in details.

The majority of nowadays incorporate a GPS device, like a typical GPS navigator such as Garmin or TomTom, and can be used in the same way. And if you are thinking of traveling with your bicycle, you are probably going to need a GPS for your route. This way you can take advantage of it on your next trip on two wheels. Most people are used to always have their data activated to use applications such as Google Maps, which downloads the maps simultaneously during navigation. However, there are a growing number of applications that allow you to download entire regions to your phone memory. So you can turn off all data during the trip and still use your smartphone to browse for free.
Tips for using a smartphone as GPS Bike
However, following the ranking of the best GPS bike and GPS watches for cycling, find in this article tips for using a smartphone as GPS bike.

Smartphone vs GPS dedicated bike: the comparative

The smartphone is a user-friendly solution for GPS navigation by bike or mountain bike. A smartphone offers several advantages over GPS bike:


This is the great advantage of the smartphone. Thanks to the touchscreen, it is very easy to display a map and zoom in on a place. The GPS apps for cyclists are always simple and intuitive while the dedicated GPS bike has a menu system oblique with a lot of useless features.

No need for a computer

On your smartphone, you can download all your maps directly from the App Store or Google Play.

Maps are up-to-date

All GPS navigation apps have up-to-date maps.

Speed and accuracy

It’s amazing, but the GPS chip of a smartphone is faster and more accurate than a Garmin Edge 820 for example. The A-GPS allows a first cold fix much faster (in practice, in 10 to 20 seconds generally). This system equips the vast majority of smartphones equipped with GPS and a GSM mobile connection.

The size of the screen

The screen of a smartphone is larger and easier to read.


A smartphone is not only a GPS but a phone, a camera, a web browser, etc.

Fast charge

It only takes an hour to charge the smartphone’s battery.

How to use a smartphone like GPS Bike

The use of a smartphone for GPS navigation is not the same as that of a GPS bike like the Garmin Edge. The smartphone is rather used as a paper map that can be annotated and consulted at the desired time.
In most cases, the smartphone is not really used for route calculation and navigation. It stays off in order to make the battery last and it’s just turned on occasionally to check a position.

The disadvantages of using a smartphone like GPS Bike

Battery life

The battery of the Garmin Edge 800 lasts approximately 20 hours. The battery of the smartphone lasts much less unless you have a battery case or a solar charger.


Touch screens are useless in rainy weather. We must also provide a waterproof shell to protect your iPhone.

Reading in full sun

It is sometimes impossible to see the map on the smartphone screen depending on the brightness.

The bicycle meter

A smartphone can serve as a bicycle counter but the battery does not last long in this case. It is recommended to use a conventional bike counter.

Solutions to recharge the smartphone battery

By using a smartphone as a paper card, the battery can hold a day depending on the number of times it is turned on and off. If you have access to a power outlet during the day, you will be able to charge the smartphones in one hour.
There are several ways to charge the smartphone’s battery from anywhere without electricity:
– A battery hull
– A solar charger
– An external backup battery

The smartphone bike stand

We often talk about Quad Lock bike mount on this site. It is well designed, super thin, resistant and simple.
It is one of the best bike racks for smartphones. The Quad Lock bike mount is on our list of the best bike holders for the smartphone. The supports in our list are made of metal alloy or composite materials. They can withstand intensive use. These are the media with the best quality/price ratio.
Otherwise, there are many poor quality bike racks on the market that are made of cheap plastic and do not really protect the smartphone.

The solution of the waterproof smartphone

It is possible to buy a fairly robust and waterproof Android smartphone to be used as GPS bike. The waterproof protections for smartphone are often quite heavy and reduce the sensitivity of the touch screen.
Samsung has released a reinforced phone. It’s the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus. It’s the same as the Galaxy S8 but with a reinforced design. It is resistant to water and dust. However it is not completely waterproof (IP68 standard). The Galaxy S8 Plus is perfect for outdoor sport sessions and especially for bike outings.
Sony offers the Xperia Z3 which is waterproof up to 1.5m with an IP65-IP68 standard. Apple does not offer a reinforced smartphone, but there are waterproof protections for iPhone 10.


For simplicity, reliability and durability it is always better to go with a specific autonomous GPS, but if you have time to “entangle” with some applications, it is not a bad idea to give them an opportunity and make an attempt at home to make a decision before leaving. . If you like to navigate with a combination of paper maps, notes and GPS, the smart phone option could be the perfect tool for your next bicycle trip.