Maps, GPS and sat nav
You won't get lost with our handy guide
GPS or global positioning systems
- GPS pinpoints your location by connecting your phone with satellites orbiting the earth. Once it's done this, it shows you where you are on a map.
- Some phones have A-GPS or Assisted GPS. These devices use mobile phone masts to get a quick (but slightly less accurate) idea of your location before the data from GPS satellites loads.
- GPS is free - it doesn't use the web. But if your phone downloads maps from the internet to display your location, you might be charged. Talk to your network for more info.
- To use GPS you need to buy a device with GPS built in - it's not something you can add afterwards.
Satellite navigation or sat nav
- Sat nav on a phone works just like the sat nav in your car. It uses GPS to pinpoint your position and then plans a route to where you want to go. It tracks your location as you move and gives you directions when you get to turnings.
- You need to pay a subscription for some sat nav programs - others such as Nokia's Ovi maps are free. You might also be charged for using the internet when you search for places using sat nav - talk to your network for more info.
- Sat nav is only available on phones with GPS.
- Lots of phones come with maps pre-installed. If they don't you can download map apps for free.
- Most map apps let you plan routes for walking or driving, search for local landmarks like museums or restaurants and save your favourite locations so you can find them again quickly.
- Maps are often free, but you might be charged for internet usage when you install or use them. Talk to your network for more info.
There are hundreds of free map apps. Here are a few of the most popular:
What's the difference between GPRS and GPS?GPRS is a way of connecting to the internet on your phone. It's got nothing to do with maps, but it often gets mixed-up with GPS. Find out more about GPRS on our mobile internet page.
If you'd like help buying something, give us a call on 0800 049 6248^
^Calls to this number may be free from a landline. Prices of calls from other providers may vary and from mobiles may cost significantly more. Calls may be recorded and/ or monitored. Visit this page for opening hours.
Did this page help?