Best iPhone and iPad apps for getting around the London Underground

Best iPhone and iPad apps for getting around the London Underground

If you live in, or visit London at any point, there's a higher than average chance you'll use the infamous 'Tube' to get around the city. It's busy, it's cramped, but it's still the quickest way generally of getting from A-to-B and avoiding the horrendously congested roads. But what if you don't know how to get where you're going, or just generally want to keep the latest Underground information at your fingertips? The good news is there's some great apps for your iPhone and iPad to help you get around on the Underground.

Tube Map

This has been one of my own go-to apps for a long time now, partly because the developers have the exact same app available on the other mobile platforms, and partly because it has literally everything on hand to help you get around the Tube. If you want to set up notifications for certain lines, you can, as well as viewing full status of all the different lines, live departures, and plan your route anywhere around the city. There's a couple of in-app purchase options, one to remove ads and one to add first and last train times, but otherwise this is free, and a fantastic choice for anyone using the Underground.

Tube Map Live

Tube Map Live serves a distinct purpose, but it serves it very well. Instead of focusing on routing, what this does is show you live, real-time information on where the trains are as they move around the network. It uses official Transport for London data, but if you tap on any of the trains shown on the map, it'll tell you where that train is headed as well as showing its position on the line. The colored circle around the outside of the train icon tells you which line that train is on, and the ticker across the bottom continually scrolls through with live line status information.

This one is perfect for anyone who knows where they need to go, and how to get there, but needs to know where the trains are, what lines they're on and how the service is running. Oh, and it looks pretty fantastic as well.

Citymapper

Citymapper goes far beyond just Tube travel, it's a complete one-stop shop for all your London travelling needs. But the Underground aspect is done particularly well, with a full offline map on board alongside the expected routing information, line statuses and live departure information. One particularly neat trick Citymapper has is that it'll tell you what it's going to cost for your proposed journeys. Just for that extra touch.

It looks amazing, too. It's a gorgeous app to look at and to use, and is perfect for anyone who needs their Tube information sprinkled with a little bit of all-round travel planning.

Tube Tracker

Tube Tracker is actually from the same developer as Tube Map Live, and that's not cheating because they're two very different apps. Tube Tracker is a more full featured Underground travel app, and mixes gorgeous design with live departure boards, a full map, offline route planner, notifications, and the same visual train tracking that Tube Map Live enjoys. If the simplicity of Tube Map Live isn't for you but you still want that feature, then Tube Tracker is the one to get.

Tube Exits

This one's a Tube Map with a little twist. Sure, you can use it for routing and all that jazz, but Tube Exits has a party piece. It will tell you where you need to board the train so as to be able to get off at your stop as close to the platform exits as possible. And that is some damn fine information to have in your pocket. You don't want to be getting off the train at the extreme opposite end of the platform. Not at all.

Your picks

So, there are a few of our choices, but what about yours. There are so many different apps with London travel in mind it'd be easy to get bogged down, but these are genuinely some of the ones we consider the very best. If you have a different choice, be sure to drop us a line in the comments and let us know what you like about it!

Richard Devine

Senior Editor at iMore, part time racing driver, full time British guy

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There are 5 comments. Add yours.

stephenrobles says:

Tube Deluxe was very useful when I was over there. And a few other London travel apps: http://stephenrobles.com/blog/2013/6/5/apps-to-use-in-london

LozBlanko says:

I use Tube Deluxe for tube-only journey planning and City Mapper(reviewed above) for full multi-transport journeys. Both are excellent. There's another interesting one called Station Master that includes 3D maps of the stations, cross passages, staircases, escalators, entrances etc. but it's not a journey planner.

Ninotschka says:

Tube Tracker, Tube Exits (great when lugging a heavy suitcase) and Commuter (best journey planner, can be upgraded to include nation wide live rail timetables).

Michael Duke of Kent says:

The most popular london commuter app is London Tube Map and doesn't appear on this list, but in my opinion it's still the best due its speed and simplicity. It's available on all the big OS's too.
http://londontubemapp.com

peter_long says:

Another popular iOS app is Tube Lines, check out the following Youtube clip to see it in action, http://youtu.be/k15VZhByZ2A. This shows the live position of tube trains. The free version is at the App Store here https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/tube-lines/id651647671?mt=8&uo=4&at=10l3... or the paid for version can be found here https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/tube-lines-pro/id654107086?mt=8&uo=&at=1...