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Five Walking Guide App Myths….

Tens of thousands of people enjoy using the iFootpath App and other walking guide Apps to successfully follow great walks in the UK whether the walks are nearby to where they live or further afield. They gain the confidence to find & enjoy wonderful hikes and strolls by themselves or with family & friends. Often, however, we hear that many people are put off using a walking guide App because of Myths about what an App can or can't do. We've presented below some answers to the more common worries that people have mentioned to us through email and social media...

So, if you are reluctant to use a walking guide App have a quick read through... if you do not find the answer to your worry or fear about walking with the help of an App please contact us and we will try our best to help.

Myth 1 – Because you always need a mobile phone signal or internet connection the walking guide App will not work in remote areas

We hear this one quite a lot via emails and social media. Usually in the form of "… your App maybe great in the cities but we like to walk in a remote area so it will not work." So, here's the rub…. Apps are created so that you do not need a constant connection to a mobile phone signal or internet connection. If that were the case then we may as well stick to a website. Apps are just little pieces of software Claire Holding iPhonethat run happily on the device's operating system (Android or iOS). You will need an internet connection (WiFi or 3/4G) to download an App from the App store, register and download specific content like the iFootpath walking guides But once these are on your device you will not need to reconnect.

Tip: To make sure you always have a full map of the walk on the iFootpath App open your chosen walking guide and navigate to the map. Open this and zoom in and out a few times to see the map appear when connected to the internet. This will then cache (temp store) onto your device.

Myth 2 – You have to have Ordnance Survey Maps on an App to find your way.

Ordnance Survey (often called OS maps but they should not be confused with Open Source Maps) are a great way to navigate and show (depending on the scale) all Public Rights of Way (public footpaths, bridleways, etc.). However, we have found that the most important part of a good walking guide is the GPX track of the route (plotted on to the map within the App by the walkers that created the walking guide). With the iFootpath App, you will then see your exact location relative to the route. The hybrid Google-powered map that the iFootpath App uses also shows road names, landmarks as well as an aerial view of the landscape. The combination of Google map information, the satellite view, iFootpath GPX track and your exact location (from GPS technology) means that you can quickly get back on track should you take a wrong turn. You may also find that in some areas such as forests and parks Google maps, in fact, show you more information than an Ordnance Survey map. We don't use Ordnance Survey maps on the iFootpath App as they cost a lot of money to buy (for the App user) and for us to maintain.

Tip: Your device will allow you to run more than one App at a time so can use an App that has Ordnance Survey maps (you will need to purchase a subscription) at the same - just flip between the two.

Myth 3 – Apps use all your battery and then you cannot make an emergency call.

It is, of course, true that an App will use the battery on your device - but then what's a smart device for if it's not to run Apps? I guess the real fear is that you could end up in a remote area with no battery to run your navigation App and no way to call anyone… Battery technology is constantly improving so devices released in the last couple of years rarely run low on battery power if you start the day with a full battery. Here's a few suggestion to mitigate the fear if you do have battery concerns.Battery pack for phone
1 – Take a hard copy of the map and the walking guide with you
2 – Take a backup battery for your device, they can be purchased for a few pounds and are also light and small to carry
3 – Take a spare phone. Lots of us have spare phones at home following an upgrade so you could get a pay-as-you-go sim card for it. 
4 – Take measures to manage battery life – close unwanted Apps, resist checking emails, turn down the screen brightness, etc.
5 – Charge up your device before you go on the walk

Tip: In addition to the suggestions above why not take an old phone with you too. If you have an old smartphone you may be able to download the iFootpath App and follow the walk even if your device does not have a sim card. (See Myth 5)

Myth 4 – Free Apps are the best… …..you do not need to pay for a great walking guide App

There is an old saying that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Indeed, many Apps that look free require in-app purchases to unlock the content. Check to see what you get before investing a lot of time and effort on free Apps. There are of course lots of good free Apps too. Many are created by big companies such as Nike and Fitbit, they make the money through selling other products like sportswear, fitness bands, etc. So take advantage of what they offer for free.

But, don't expect a company to create and maintain hundreds of walking guides just for love. There has to be an income somewhere…. Many like Viewranger charge for some of the walk downloads and also for extra maps. Others like Walkingworld and Go Jauntley have a subscription model.

At iFootpath we charge a one-off fee of £1.99 for the App and then you can enjoy all the current and all future walks for free.

Tip: Before downloading an App, read the App description and pop along to the App website to find out more.

Myth 5 – If I change my phone/device I will have to buy the App again

So, this can be true…. but normally once you have paid for an App you will not need to buy it again when you upgrade your phone or tablet. The iFootpath App is sold through App stores that include the Apple/iTunes App store (iOS), Google Play (Android), Amazon App Store (Android) and Samsung (Android). You purchase the App through the App Store and the App Store manages the payment. The payment information is not passed to the App provider e.g. iFootpath. The App is associated with your App store account and as long as you keep that App store account you will always have the App. If you delete an App from your device, you can re-install it whenever you want. Now here's the thing…… if you have more than one device with the ‘same' account you can install the App on all of your devices – there is no limit. If you have devices with different App store accounts, you will need to buy the App for each account. As the account is App store specific you will always have to buy the App again if you have an Android device and an Apple device. There is nothing that the App provider can do. 

Tip: With Android devices check which App store you used to download the App and if you are using Google Play open the Play Store and then tap the menu at the top (to the left of the search box) and you will see your account email address that you have logged in with.

So, there we have it, five walking App myths. If you need any help with iFootpath or the iFootpath App just get in touch and we will do our very best to answer any questions or problems that you may have....

Resources

Walking Apps

iFootpath  - Google Play - Amazon - Apple App Store

ViewRanger - Google Play - Amazon - Apple App Store

iWalkCornwall - Google Play  - Apple App Store

 

Things to take with you

Phone battery packs

Ordnance Survey Maps

 

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Comments

Jane on Friday, 07 September 2018 22:21
So true

I have done exactly this - myth 3. Having recently upgraded my phone, I now use my old phone, without any sim for my walking apps. Of course you need to download any walk over wifi before you go out. But once you are out and about, all you need is a good GPS connection and it will work anywhere. In fact the amount of battery used by this phone, in full use with the app, is usually far less than my actual phone. This is because, on some of the more remote countryside walks, the phone may lose signal. Constantly searching for a new stronger signal, can drain the battery rapidly. Using a separate phone for the walking app means I can either turn my actual phone off altogether to preserve battery, or put it into ultra stamina mode. Mind you, I always carry a mini power pack as well.

I have done exactly this - myth 3. Having recently upgraded my phone, I now use my old phone, without any sim for my walking apps. Of course you need to download any walk over wifi before you go out. But once you are out and about, all you need is a good GPS connection and it will work anywhere. In fact the amount of battery used by this phone, in full use with the app, is usually far less than my actual phone. This is because, on some of the more remote countryside walks, the phone may lose signal. Constantly searching for a new stronger signal, can drain the battery rapidly. Using a separate phone for the walking app means I can either turn my actual phone off altogether to preserve battery, or put it into ultra stamina mode. Mind you, I always carry a mini power pack as well.
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