Mar 27 2012

5 Apps that Use Your Phone’s GPS in Ways You Never Knew

4148638505 723becc078 n 5 Apps that Use Your Phones GPS in Ways You Never Knew

We all know the iPhone can do amazing and wondrous things, but one of the coolest features of the iPhone is the fact that it takes its own internal functions and expands on them.

Your GPS, for example, is oh so much more than your every-day GPS that you can plop up in your car. No, your GPS on your iPhone is a magic wand in and of itself that can do amazing and mystical things. Well, maybe not quite – but it can be used in some pretty cool ways you never knew about.

All you need are these apps.

Find My iPhone

Sure, you’ve probably heard of this app as it’s most commonly used to locate your iPhone or iPad when it gets lost, forgotten somewhere or stolen. But guess what else it can do?

Spy on your family members. That’s right – all you have to do is register each phone in your household with a Find My iPhone account, and you’ll have constant acccess to their exact locations no matter where they go with their own phone.

That means that if your teenager says they’re going to the library to study on a Friday night, but you have your suspicions, you can actually confirm that they have, in fact, snuck out and gone to that party on the other side of town. Or if your spouse says they’re going to the grocery store but have been gone a while, you can find out what they’re actually up to by spotting their exact location on this app.

Find My iPhone is also used in emergency situations, though, too. Maybe a family member is in a car accident and can’t access their phone to call for help – if they’ve been gone a while and you haven’t heard any notice from them, just locate where they are and head out to find them.

Oh, and it’s free, so why wouldn’t you download it?


This is a cool app that’s great for so many safety reasons. It’s an emergency alert system that’s at your fingertips anywhere you go at anytime, just in case anything ever happens or you find yourself in a dangerous situation by accident.

With this $1.99 app, you can send out an emergency text message, email and phone call to all of your most important contacts (which you select within the app) with one push of a button. And now, with the recent app update, you can even post your alert messages and location to your Facebook wall to alert everyone you know that you are in danger.

That’s where the GPS function comes in, too – you can send your exact location to your emergency contacts along with your alert messages. So the GPS on your phone could literally save your life if you’re ever in a dangerous situation.


If you’re in a job that requires you to drive a lot and keep track of your mileage, this app is exactly what you need to stay organized and make sure you’re turning in a correct report of your mileage.

That’s exactly what Automilez does – it uses your GPS function to keep track of how many miles you drive while you’re travelling for business. Not only does it log your miles, though, but you can also enter notes and comments on where you went, your reason for going and how much you should be reimbursed.

Oh, and the app does that for you, too – calculates how much you should be reimbursed based on the miles you have driven. And it stores your trip information on the manufacturer’s website so you can access it from your desktop or laptop, too.

It’s totally free and can be useful in organizing and archiving your mileage logs for your business.


SmartDating is a borderline creepy app, but can be used in some pretty cool ways to meet singles right nearby your exact location.

As far as dating apps go, it’s pretty standard – you can send and receive private instant messages, see who "checked you out," browse other users’ profiles,integrate with Facebook and send little virtual "gifts" to people that you like. But this app does more than any normal dating app – it uses your phone’s GPS function to tell you the exact location of singles you’re looking at who are nearby your location.

For example, there was a story in the news recently about a 25-year-old man who was at a baseball game browsing through SmartDating when he came across a girl’s profile. The girl was also in the ballpark according to the app, and the guy thought her picture was cute, so he messaged her. They ended up meeting for a drink at the park and spending the game together.

It’s as easy as that – this app literally makes it easier than ever to look for and actually find other single people looking to date. Just beware of dangerous stalkers. Seriously.

Star Char

This is one of those gems that’s just $2.99 and can do a million and one cool and different things. It’s basically like having your own astrology book in your pocket, anywhere you go, that you can pull out and use to identify what stars, planets and constellations you’re looking at in your night sky.

This app uses advanced GPS functionality to calculate in real time the location of each and every star that you are seeing. That means that all you have to do is point your iPhone in the direction you are looking, and this app will identify the stars or constellations you see.

It even produces 3D images of not only the constellations themselves (so it literally looks like you’re wearing a pair of glasses when looking at your iPhone – it sees exactly what you see), but it can also generate detailed artwork to fill in the constellations and give you a picture of what it is supposed to represent. Then it gives you detailed information on what you are looking it.

Perhaps one of the coolest features of this app – if you point your iPhone directly toward the ground, you can see the stars (or sun!) on the other side of the world.

Laura Green is a freelance writer who loves finding new uses for her phone. The likes the GPS function because you can search, by region or geographic focus, for things and places that you know you like and can’t find without any help otherwise!