When it comes to navigating in the outdoors, serious hikers, backpackers, or survivalists know the importance of having a reliable compass in their hiking kits.
With the progression of technology, you can carry your phone into the backcountry and still have the convenience of a compass on your phone.
A compass app is a convenient, hassle-free, and easy way to track your route, distance, speed, and altitude. The app also helps you tell what direction you may need to head if you get lost on the trail.
While a compass app won’t replace the humble, accurate hand-held compass, it can be a great companion in the outdoors. Check out our top picks for the best Android compass apps.
Best Android Compass Apps
The Compass 360 Pro Free app combines ease of use and functionality with just enough extra features to make it stand out in the crowd. Unlike other compasses, which work well only in one hemisphere, the Compass 360 Pro Free app works anywhere around the world.
The app gives you degrees in decimal format making it easy to use especially if you don’t have much navigation knowledge. Plus, it shows bearings in either magnetic north or true north, which makes it a handy compass app for use with a topographic map or for general navigation.
You can use the app for hiking, camping, rowing, traveling, and other outdoor events. It orientates naturally and easily while providing detailed direction. The app is also multilingual and works offline, but requires location access and WiFi to work effectively.
The main downsides with the Compass 360 Pro Free app are that it only works with Android devices that have a magnetic sensor, uses a lot of battery, and comes with ads.
Digital Field Compass app is a simple app without all the fluff like fancy backgrounds or maps, making it light on battery use.
The app is free, accurate, and has an easy-to-use layout with a digital center panel that displays your heading in degrees, but requires access to WiFi for better results.
Plus, the app can tell if you’re having magnetic interference, and it’s great for digital orienteering on land. The app also includes pitch and roll fields so you can use it in a marine environment for boating or sailing.
You can adjust the declination of your current location manually, and use the Nighttime Mode to preserve your night vision.
Digital Field Compass app will complement the map app on your Android device. This makes it a great app for map reading training, walking, hill climbing, hiking, and general outdoor navigation.
3. Gyro Compass
The Gyro Compass app functions identically to a real-world compass. You can find your compass bearing, magnetic north, and your true north and the app will handle variation.
The app is free, easy to use, and a powerful navigation aid. Plus, it has a slope indicator, large numbers, and large rotating bezel so you can use it like a physical compass.
If you love classic navigation, the Gyro Compass app has a vintage compass design, and you can track your path and speed with an odometer. The app doesn’t offer voice navigation though, but it ensures that you reach your destination accurately with speed, and cover your distance in the right direction.
Gyro Compass app is useful for most outdoor activities including hiking, camping, travel, picnics, or boating, and works accurately all over the world. The app requires access to location and an internet connection (GPS or network-based).
The 3D Compass Plus app is a fun app to use and play with as it offers augmented reality view, GPS information, and map updates in real time. The app’s AR view uses your device’s camera to display a 3D map, compass, coordinates, speed, address, and time on an easy-to-read screen.
To get a bearing, you can point your camera toward an object, or take videos showing your path or course and share it with others to follow you. The app also adds a little extra flavor through geocaching, and is a great tool especially if you’re interested in orienteering.
The app is useful for teaching about the relationship between bearings and travel especially for people who are new to compass navigation. You can also take screenshots, and embed location EXIF tags, date, or time in the screenshot files.
3D Compass Plus app has a free version supported by ads, but you can upgrade to the PRO version and enjoy an ad-free experience.
For best results, the 3D Compass Plus app requires access to your location, camera, storage, microphone, and internet connection.
If you spend a lot of time hiking, fishing, often breaking trail and heading cross country, you’ll find the Compass Galaxy app to be pinpoint accurate and very helpful.
Compass Galaxy has outstanding graphics and easy calibration. Plus, it’s free of any errors so you can use it when you need compass navigation while you’re out camping, boating, or hiking.
The app is simple to use, and it doesn’t require unnecessary permissions like most apps do.
The GPS Compass Navigator is a fun compass app to use on trips, when fishing or hiking. You can save your position, for example where you parked your car or the hotel you’re staying at, and use the app to navigate back following the guiding arrow.
The app offers car mode to get correct bearing when driving, and a simple, user-friendly interface that’s optimized to save your phone battery. All these make the GPS Compass Navigator the best Android compass app for traveling, hiking, or other outdoor activities.
Other functions the app offers include voice navigation, map display, import or export GPX files, and navigation on lock screen. Plus, it shows the sun and moon position, and your current location in DMS, Decimal, or MGRS.
You can also view your speed, distance, current latitude or longitude, current address, estimated time of arrival, GPS accuracy and GPS altitude, magnetic field strength, and traveled path visualization.
The app can work offline with or without a magnetometer, but requires access to your device’s storage, location, photo/media/files, and internet connection.
Find Your True North
Poor visibility and indistinct landscapes can make navigation in nature very tricky. With all these choices and different compass apps for Android, you’re sure to find one that suits your exact needs. We recommend pairing your traditional compass with your compass app and a map app for best results.
Did your favorite Android compass app make the list? Tell us about it in the comments.