xGPS, iPhone’s first turn-by-turn GPS App

Author: Pico  //  Category: Apps, Jailbreak

BigBoss Edit: Excellent post Ranova. Added as rule #16 to why jailbreak.

Here’s another reason to jailbreak your iPhone 3G. Today, xWaves released the highly anticipated update to their GPS app for the iPhone: xGPS. xGPS features full turn-by-turn guidance through the clever use of Google Maps. It also features full voice directions (TTS – text-to-speech) that try to pronounce the upcoming turn in full detail (direction, street name, etc), a feature a lot of standalone GPS’s do not have. It does a pretty good job at pronouncing street names. A female voice (found in most GPS units) would sound a lot better than a robotic voice, but it is still decent.

Watch the demo of xGPS 1.2 in action.

My initial impressions of xGPS fare pretty well. On 30 mile commute back from work, I gave xGPS a whirl. I had set up my “Home Address” pre-emptively, so I click the little magnifying glass and a few options pop up:

Main Menu

From there, I simply chose “Go Home,” and it calculated the route and off I went. On the way back, I decided to go off-route to avoid toll roads, which Google Maps seems to love since it is the “easiest” way. After a few seconds of “WrongWay” flashing on the screen, it recomputed the itinerary. At first, it kept telling me to do a U-turn to get back on course of the original route. But after a few tries, it finally gave up and gave me a whole new route to go home. It finally got me home, and without weird off-roads that my standalone GPS likes to give when I choose not to go on toll roads. I pre-downloaded the area of the routes just in case I lost cell signal and it could not download the map area – and it seemed pretty smooth while I was driving.

Being the first working turn-by-turn version (1.1 was more of a demo that it could be done), xGPS 1.2 did better than I expected. It is fully functionaly and can be used in place of a standalone, but without all the special features a standalone has.

One notable problem is the volume of the TTS, it seems incredibly low. I had to connect my iPhone to my car sound system before I could hear it against all the snowplows and cars passing by. Playing music in the background (using the iPhone music player) makes the TTS voice also very hard to hear.

Another special feature is the maps downloading. You can download maps on your iPhone xGPS software or with software on your computer (Website). If you download the maps on your computer, you can setup a quick wireless transfer and transfer the downloaded Google maps straight to your iPhone. Quick tip: When you select the area of a map you want to download, you must select zoom levels. I find zoom levels 1 and 2 to be enough. So when it asks you for the title and zoom levels, you would enter in: 1,2. Zoom levels range from 0 (closest) to 17 (furthest). If you wanted the full range, you would enter in 0,1,2,3…17. Be warned, this will hugely increase the size of the maps. Entering in 0,2 resulted in a 650mb map for me, while 1,2 resulted in a 250mb map. The more detailed (lower numbered) maps are much, much larger.

xGPS Manager Main Window

Here is a breakdown of the Pro’s and current Con’s of xGPS 1.2:


  • Uses Google Maps routing and maps.
  • Works well as a standard turn-by-turn GPS device
  • Includes TTS to speak out road names and highways
  • Recomputes Itinerary when going off-course
  • Clean and simple interface
  • Can be laid out vertically or horizontally
  • Night-mode to dim the maps during certain hours.
  • Maps rotate in-relation to what direction your car is facing, making it easier to navigate.
  • Ability to pre-download maps from the iPhone or your computer and transfer it wirelessly between the two.
  • Maps will be as current as Google’s maps


  • Only uses the routes given by Google Maps – and these routes may not be the most cost effective or most time saving route.
  • Recomputing routes can be iffy at times
  • The need for a data connection to compute routes
  • POI “locations” search works, but there is no way to get directions to the POI yet
  • No large arrow showing what to do next, a common feature that most GPS units have
  • No “time left” estimation and estimated “time on arrival”
  • When playing music from the iPhone, you can barely hear the voice guidance system.
  • Bookmark system is pretty barebones and messy – it needs to allow to save a single destination and not require a starting point and a destination.

What it Needs to be a full-time replacement

  • Multiple route selections – this may be a limitation of google maps, but allowing you to select certain options for routing is standard in a lot of GPS units. For example: to allow or disallow Toll roads, road conditions, and traffic.
  • Large Arrow showing your next turn (and even the turn after that)
  • Time-left estimation
  • Estimated Time of arrival
  • Traffic reports from Google Maps
  • Working POI system, allowing you to get details of the POI (Phone number, website, etc) and directions there from current location
  • Lowering music volume whenever it has a voice prompt

Final Words

This is a huge step in turn-by-turn app development. This will lay all your concerns about whether or not the iPhone 3G’s GPS can do turn-by-turn to rest. It does it and it does it well. While this may not fully replace your standalone GPS unit, it can be definitely used as a standalone if you currently do not own one. If you have a jailbroken iPhone 3G, give it a try and donate to the developers! xGPS is currently free and the developers have stated they want it to remain free. I cannot wait for what they have in store for us in future versions.

Lastly, you iPhone 2G users are not out of luck. You can purchase a seperate GPS module that attaches to the iPhone 2G/iPod Touch that will allow this turn-by-turn app to work. No details on this or how much the module will cost.

So what are you waiting for? Go in cydia and download it now! Please Digg this submission to help spread the word of xGPS!

xWaves Development Team Blog

Screen of xGPS

BigBoss Authors: Mark Bruce & Kory Lee

Tags: , ,

46 Responses to “xGPS, iPhone’s first turn-by-turn GPS App”

  1. Miguel Says:

    I tried this app today. Let me tell you it’s way better than the previous version 1.1. the widescreen support is awesome. My only minor complaint is the voice that guides sounds too robotic for me. But guys I wanted to congratulate you for this great app.

    Good Job!!!!

  2. Fable Says:

    Just a correction to a point made above. When downloading maps, to get the full range you must enter all numbers between 0 and 17 seperated by commas, 0,17 will only download those 2 zoom levels.

    Also I tried this when I walked to work this morning without much success, only recomputed once but the rest of the time it just killed the route completely, I had good 3G signal

  3. Benny Says:

    The GPS Modul can be found on http://store.xwaves.net/?inc=products, it cost ~50€,
    but it is sold out.

  4. jmpgray Says:

    I used it on the way to work this morning and it computed the route perfectly. Volume level and voice definitely need work but, hey: it’s free! If it continues to work I will be donating – it can only get better!

  5. Bilal Says:

    Excellent app. But i wish there was turn by turn gps more like the one implemented in the appstore app G-Map. In this one you get a 3d angled view, large turn arrows, and a point of interest directory. And the entire west coast fits in the 900 mb app(granted it doesnt have very detailed maps in terms of street names for the smaller roads).

    For this app i cant ask them to use a truer tom tom style map, as they use google maps but i suggest a better voice, large turn signs, and maybe implementation of a poi system.

  6. asa Says:

    Amazing is all I can say….Really great work…Working for me in Thailand even….awesome

  7. crazyquay Says:

    iPhone/iTouch GPS unit can be purchased here…

  8. Pelaez Says:

    I tried it, but I’m in Mexico, and since Google doesn’t support driving directions in Mexico, neither does this app… I hate Google… I mean, Yahoo already supports driving directions in Mexico!

  9. Clem Says:

    I’ve tried to DL a map now, on 2 different Macs, Intel/non-Intel, and the app hangs.
    Wazz up?

  10. Haze Says:

    I got a problem, whenever I try and put in an address or hit the go home button it get an error that says “Unable to get the GPS Position, The GPS is not currently giving any position information” I turned on the GPS in the program, but I can’t figure out why it doesn’t work.

  11. Jay Says:

    Go to settings…. >GPS> then change it from xgps module to iphone 3g!!

  12. Bharath Says:

    Great app will try in SIngapore

  13. omar Says:


  14. Rick Says:

    As #9, my app hangs as well. I am only doing zoom levels 1 and 2 of the state I live in, and it hangs.

  15. William Says:

    I tried 3 times to download it and all failed.
    It said “Mismatch” something.

  16. William Says:

    Edit : MD5Sum Mismatch

  17. DW Says:

    It works pretty good for me, but I don’t hear any voice when a turn is coming up. In fact, I’ve heard nothing.

  18. masky Says:

    Is it possible somehow to transform the maps from garmin to this gps software?? it would be essential for me as only garmin has the detailed maps for macedonia

  19. Anonymous Says:

    for me the while downloading the prog freeze … try 7 times in vain … any tip

  20. Cysco Says:


    I`ve got the same problem like William.

    William Reply:
    March 6th, 2009 at 4:11 am

    Edit : MD5Sum Mismatch

    Can somebody help us?

    (Iphone 3G FW 2.2, Jailbreak with quickpwn 2.2.5, but not SIM unlocked).

  21. grabejud Says:

    ive used the 1.1, and the current version is alot better, where you can just download it via pc then sync to your device, awesome..

  22. Larry Says:

    I had the same problem downloading v 1.2 (MD5Sum Mismatch). For me it worked to remove V1.1 and then download v1.2 and it worked great the first time.

  23. NAVI Says:


  24. Bobby Says:

    For all you guys looking helplessly at the hanged app while downloading maps for offline use. the following worked for me:
    1: when you first choose the maps and zoom levels for download – it may take many minutes for the computer to calculate the download size. You may choose to download your maps in small chunks giving each a unigue name, that will speed the download and the app will merge the maps seamlessly after wireless transfer to your iPhone.
    2. If the download hangs while downloading – kill the app thru task manager, restart it, mark the map again and redownload it – the app will pick up at roughly the same place and complete the download.

  25. a12chi3 Says:

    every time i try to use driving directions it keeps prompting an error, “No driving direction can be computed using your query”, why is that. I am currently in Japan right now.

  26. rezwan Says:

    i have just downloaded this and i am wondering if anybody knows if i need a “wifi” connection to use this app? thanks

  27. msueltz@gmail.com Says:

    help i need a user manual or user guide to setup this app
    using an iphone 2g….having problems setting up the home address

  28. evangelos Says:

    Hi, i am a new iphone owner. I have downloades cydia to my phone, but i can’t find nowhere the xgps. Can anyone help me please. Thank you in advance.

  29. Anonymous Says:

    I have the same problem using the xgps in South Africa. I’m using a 2G iPhone with a succesfully downloaded xgps. It works only with addresses in Europe. Is it because of my location or I need to download driving maps, which I’ve tried to do (the downloads are just too slow!) Any answers?

  30. Dan Says:


    i just downloaded xGPS on my iphone 2.1
    when i open the app, all i see is a blue dot. i have no map in the background? can anyone help me out here? so odd. i dont know how to fix it?

    will be stoked if someone can help me out.


  31. Leo Says:

    I have an error saying MD5SUM Mismatch!
    I am running iPhone 3G. (16GB)

  32. andre Says:

    help!! ive downloaded maps and even calculated the route while online. but when i got offline mode it doesnt track my movements or my speed. im using os 3.0 version 1.2 xgps and igps360 on a 2g. help anyone!

  33. Don Bowen Says:

    Regarding the download of maps and the question of “wireless only” file transfer…

    Use the XGPS manager program within windows. Upgrade java if necessary, click on download a map, instead of adding a region, right click on the map. This will create a red dot. You will create 4 dots to highlight the desired area. You will then be allowed to indicate levels and download the data rather quickly.

    Regarding wifi transfers, it can sometimes be problematic, especially in Windows. What if you don’t have wifi? You can use USB transfer such as “Iphone Browser” or similar program or browser based file transfer utility as found in Cydia. These are free programs.

    You will need to locate your downloaded map data. It is a file called “XGPS_map.db”. It is located in c:\Documents and Settings\Usernm\My Documents\XGPS Manager. This file will need to be sent to the iPhone at /var/mobile/Library (overwrite the current one if it exists).

    Now you are good to go. (You may have to adjust map magnification to reach one of your downloaded levels.)

  34. Ben Says:

    Thx Don Bowen. U Help Me A Lot. =)

  35. Styler Says:


    I’ve been using XGPS 1.2.7 on my Iphone 3G Ver 3.0 for the lat 2-3 days. I have downloaded maps of my City in all zoom levels and transferred them to my Iphone. I am in New Delhi. The XGPS works well. I get driving instructions from Current Position to a searched place.

    I’ve looked all over and can’t find the following :

    1. How do i bookmark my current position ? It seems you can bookmark only the Points available in Search. I haven’t figured out how to bookmark anything.

    2. How do I set my current position as Home ???
    In Settings-Driving Directions – Home Address You can either Search or use a location from the Address Book Address.

    My current position outside my house is shown perfectly on the map. Now how do I bookmark this and make this my Home Address
    I might be dumb, cause i’ve looked all over and can’t seem to find any way to do this.

    I tried to save my current position to my Name Entry in the Phone Book in the default Maps App in the Iphone 3G
    After this In XGPS when I set the Home Address by choosing my Name in Phonebook, the home address points to the Cellular Tower near me, not my house.

    Any help will be appreciated.
    Thanks to the developers of XGPS for the wonderful Application.


  36. guru Says:

    how did u do it for delhi .i too want it can u please help me wid dat

  37. Gabe Says:


    I am looking to remove xGPS however for some reason it doesn’t show in cydia anymore. Can anyone help?


  38. gnid Says:

    there is a remove module in cydia called cydelete or something. from bigboss. it can remove installation from cydia like normal app from appstore. hold the icon and a “X” will appear. all cydia apps will appear in red and normal one will show in black

  39. Uncle Sam Says:

    I have tried XGPS driving directions for Iphone on Zambians roads. It does not work. anybody with a solution?

  40. RCH Says:

    Hi I have downloaded the maps and set GPS as IPHONE 3G GPS.I have set the home address also.But i get a message that no internet connecting when i press the go home button.Since i have downloaded the maps and is’t is supposed to work with out internet conncetin.Are there any other settings.I have tried with offline mode on/off with no success

  41. deepanshu Says:

    Hi, i m using xgps but it doesnt show my gps location and when ever i click on “go hom button” it show the same eroor that “Unable to get the GPS Position, The GPS is not currently giving any position information” and m using iphone 3g firm 3.1.2.plz help me wid this. thank u

  42. RCH Says:

    @deepanshu..Go to Iphone settings->general->Location services should be ON.This will enable the GPS device in your Iphone

  43. Babiegurl Says:

    I have downloaded this app on my iphone 3G successfully. I see the map and it looks like its working properly, but I cant here the voice! Can someone tell me why I am not hearing the voice navigation?

  44. Anonymous Says:


  45. Calvinalibra Says:


  46. dlo Says:

    I am having the same problem I have turned on location services on the iphone settings and I have also switched the xGPS-> gps setting to iphone 3gs, but i still get the same problem

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