Guide to 6 iPhone GPS Map Apps in Malaysia

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Navigation applications (apps) for iPhone are very popular, as they provide search, traffic mapping, and turn-by-turn navigation features. These map apps for for the iPhone in Malaysia mainly come under 2 categories – on-the-fly maps and on-board maps.

The on-board maps can take up a lot of space (about 1 GB or even more) as they store the entire map and point-of-interest data on your phone.

The on-the-fly maps take up less memory and are easier to update. The recently released Google Maps app has been very popular with great reviews by users, but unfortunately it has not been released in the Malaysian market yet. The Malaysian iPhone users have some other options.


The Waze app is like combination of a map and social network applications. It gives iPhone owners a lot of user-generated information, which can be incredibly useful. It features a social layer, so people can publish public messages and chat. This means, as a user, you can read a lot of real-time information about traffic accidents, traffic jams, or even police roadblocks. This is fairly accurate, and typically the more reports you see about an incident, the more trustworthy the information is. If you only see one report, then it could be a pranksters giving you potentially wrong information.

The app encourages users to add new roads and other information by giving them points for doing so. This on-the-fly map allows you to add a photo to your road report and ranks the top reporting contributors. Waze aids you in finding gas stations en route to your destination. The app is integrated with social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and FourSquare.

Additionally, this map application provides turn-by-turn directions. You don’t need to keep looking at the map and checking you location. Instead the app will give turn indicators, checkpoint distances, and voice communications to give you directions as you drive. (Note: make sure to not rely on this completely, as it does sometimes make mistakes. Therefore, if something doesn’t look right, apply logic!)

Waze is considered one of the best map apps available in Malaysia today, with hundreds of positive reviews giving it a rating of 5/5.

iTunes Store Rating: 4.5 / 5

Type of Map App: On-The-Fly

Size: 27.4 MB


Price: Free

Apple Maps

Apple has its own map app, simply called “Maps”. Originally iOS’s default map application was Google Maps. The Apple Maps has been criticized quite a lot, but is not actually all that bad in the urban area. Additionally, the app has a warm and userfriendly interface and integrates well with iOS.

The main flaw with this application is that it does not work as well in Malaysia as it does in the US and traffic information is poorly displayed.  There is some missing information in the app.  It  also assumes that you want to take a particular road rather than actually asking you. This app is typically directly compared to Google Maps, which has spent years refining and improving their product. Naturally, it will take time for Apple to catch up.

It’s best to not be totally dependent on this app and use other applications if you’re going to be outside urban areas.

iTunes Store Rating: (Comes with iPhone)

Type of Map App: On-The-Fly

Price: Free

TomTom South East Asia

TomTom is used by over 45 million people worldwide and is now available in Malaysia through iPhone. The TomTom app is well known for its extensive map coverage and accuracy. It does not require a data plan or mobile signal to navigate towards your destination or browse the map. TomTom also makes intelligent use of iPhone features like the Retina Display giving the routes better visibility. The app also lets you take hands-free calls simultaneously with navigation. You can even navigate to your destination by selecting photos from your gallery or contacts from the address book.

You can also make changes to the maps on the app and get map updates. The app claims that all its updates are verified and only then offered to the users free of cost.

It should be noted that some have complained in the iTunes store reviews section about getting unreliable global positioning signals when using the Map.


iTunes Store Rating: 4.5 / 5

Type of Map App: On-Board

Size: 346 MB

TomTom App Price: US$ 49 (RM 150+)

Malaysia Map by Streetdirectory

This Malaysia Map app provides you up-to-date maps of Malaysia and comes with offline maps that are free of cost. The information about taxis and buses is not currently available through this app in Malaysia and is only available in Singapore. You can a get information about local businesses like restaurants through Malaysia Map. The app is not widely used in Malaysia with only 8 reviews in the iTunes store (in comparison, Waze has 7,749 reviews at the time of publishing this article).

iTunes Store Rating: 3 / 5

Type of Map App: On-Board

Size: 30.2 MB

Price: Free

Papago! GPS Navigation SG&MY

Papago has has strong brand in regards to its map quality for Malaysia.  Papago is used a lot with GPS device, but it also has apps for several Southeast Asian countries including a Malaysia+Singapore version.  Papago is a simple app for navigation that is easy to use and you can switch viewing between 2D and 3D. It supports both portrait and landscape display modes. Users of Papago in Malaysia can also enjoy the images it displays as it takes you to your destination. It should be noted that this app has 618 reviews and the majority of them were unfavorable.  Many people complained about the poor directions Papago would provide to reach a destination.

iTunes Store Rating: 2.5 / 5

Type of Map App: On-Board

Size: 433 MB

Price: US$ 24.99 (RM 75+)

Sygic Singapore & Malaysia: GPS Navigation

This Sygic app makes use of TomTom maps stored in your iPhone and is capable of using GPS without the internet.

It features a turn-by-turn navigation, which is voice guided and gives you spoken street names so that you can focus on driving. The app provides you up to three alternate routes to your destination and lets you choose the best. It offers you a variety of search options including Google Local Search and geo-tagged-photo search. The graphics of this app are optimized for your iPhone’s Retina Display and can be integrated with your car audio through a cable or Bluetooth.

You can also make this app personal. You can import your point of interests, customize the navigation screen, share road incidents with others, and have customized spoken warnings. The app contains maps of both Malaysia and Singapore. Sygic is not a free app and does cost you money. While you can save money by running it on GPS (rather than internet connection), you will lose battery life soon as is the case with any app that relies on GPS.

It should be noted this app only has 7 reviews submitted in Malaysia, and they seem split between full praise and extreme dislike – not many in the middle.

iTunes Store Rating: 3.5 / 5

Type of Map App: On-Board

Size: 368 MB

Price: US$ 29.99 (RM 90 +)

Choose the App that Suits your Needs

You should download the app that suits you best only after looking into your specific requirements. In all likelihood, the free apps can be more than sufficient. If you have no issue with accessing the internet and using data, then Waze can be a great choice in Malaysia.

What map apps do you use or do you recommend for the iPhone? Post in the comments below.  Also, stay in touch with us by registering for our  free e-newsletter here.


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The best bet for a good GPS on iPhone would still be Garmin (I’m a bit biased on this app because I hv used it before on a standalone unit). Sygic is OK but maps are a little outdated compared to garmin but both come with a hefty pricetag. Both apps does not require internet connection to use.

Ben Hock Seng

Many thanks for your comment! That’s good insight. We’ll look into that further.

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