CoPilot Live 8 for iPhone (North America)


I’ve been doing a series of reviews of navigation software for the iPhone.  The folks at ALK (the makers of CoPilot) have released CoPilot Live into the market for a very nice price of only $34.99 (for the North America version).  At this price it will appeal to many people.  Here I’m taking a first look at CoPilot Live (with a full review to follow) and give some initial impressions.  So let’s get to it!


CoPilot Live looks a lot like CoPilot has looked for a long time.  Much as with TomTom applications there is a consistent look and feel to their product line.  That said, CoPilot has a large fan base due to it’s wide set of features.  CoPilot Live for the iPhone continues this tradition by offering a lot of features for a very low price.


The application started and ran smoothly, although not as fluid as Navigon or iGo, it’s behavior is very respectable.  Even screen rotation was reasonably snappy.  Full and clear audio navigation instructions are given while navigating, but full TTS (text-to-speech, road names) isn’t available.


Route selection seems on par with other applications, an POI (point of interest) data was up-to-date and nicely detailed.



CoPilot Live has a lot of depth in terms of the “extra” features that are added into the main navigation package.  CoPilot Live has a features that will show you the weather at your destination, an RV mode, live location sharing/messaging, and a whole lot of ways you can customize the display.


The overall appearance of CoPilot Live is bright, colorful, and friendly.  Menus, alerts, and buttons are all large and easy to use.  The multi-touch features of the iPhone, like pinch zooming, are supported.


CoPilot Live appears to be using TeleAtlas maps (or started from the same base) because they have the same map errors that all TeleAtlas-based navigation apps have in my local area.   UPDATE ALK has provided some clarification on this point and told me that they are using their own proprietary map data, not TeleAtlas maps.   I have to assume then, that both TeleAtlas and ALK started from the same map base since they both contained the same errors.  Most U.S. map sets started with what was called the TIGER data set (from the U.S. government and in the public domain) many years back.  I’m guessing the error was introduced back then and no one caught it.

Initially, CoPilot didn’t do as nice a job remember what it was doing when forced to exit then reenter the application as it’s competition did, but improvements in this area are promised soon along with improved GPS performance and real time (live) traffic (for a premium fee).


Overall, my initial impressions are positive – especially for the price.  Although CoPilot doesn’t quite have the high-resolution appearance of it’s competition, it is solid and friendly and easy to use and CoPilot should definitely be on your list when looking for navigation services for your iPhone, especially if you are working with a small budget.  ALK promises a map update soon, as well, so it can potentially be a really good value.

Be on the look out for our full review of CoPilot coming soon.  CoPilot is available from the AppStore for $34.99.

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About the Author

Christopher Gavula
Chris has been a COBOL programmer, a desktop support technician, network engineer, telecommunications manager, and even a professional musician. Currently, he is focused on deploying Voice over IP technologies in a large, corporate setting. He started working full-time at the tender age of 14, even before there were PCs, and will probably be working and trying to finish “just one more project” as he’s lowered into the grave.

6 Comments on "CoPilot Live 8 for iPhone (North America)"

  1. I’m still not feeling the love. Without multitasking it really makes your iphone a paperweight while driving (maybe a good thing?).

    When you get a phone call and are driving to a critical location you’ll have to ignore your call to use it.

    Navigation works great on a Palm Pre with multitasking, but if you own and iphone, spend $100 bucks and buy a dedicated GPS.

  2. Christopher Gavula | September 3, 2009 at 8:19 am |

    What you say is currently true for CoPilot, but you are incorrect if you generalize this way for all iPhone navigation apps.

    The iPhone OS IS capable of multitasking, Apple simply has not allowed 3rd parties to do so, but the phone application is an Apple application that does effectively run in the background. When a call comes in – the phone switches the display to the phone, then switches back to the navigation application. This works very well for most of the navigation apps I’ve reviewed so far and the folk at ALK expect to improve CoPilot’s handling of these types of events in the near future.

    So you do NOT need to ignore your phone call to use it. As a matter of fact, in most cases, once you answer the call, you can simply tap the home button, then re-tap your nav app icon to return to the nav app WHILE you stay in your phone call.

  3. I see these as more useful for “when in need GPS”. I have a GPS in my both my cars, but if I’m traveling or in a friend’s car that doesn’t have a GPS, these come in useful.

  4. Latest update, just released :)))

    “CoPilot Live will now also automatically resume following a phone call.”

  5. Some experience with the Windows Mobile version:

    Great for navigation if you know where you are going (such as a contact, address, or a saved favorite)! Nice new routing controls compared to CoPilot 6 or 7, and easy to terminate or hide the program on my AT&T Fuze (HTC Raphael) running WM 6.5.

    Current POI database is VERY patchy!!! In the US, NO NATIONAL STORE LOCATIONS such as Home Depot, Lowe’s, McDonalds, Burger King, Kentucy Fried Chicken, Staples, Home Depot, etc. As a stand-alone navigator without data access, the lack of a national POI database makes it less useable than a really cheap stand-alone GPS.

    The newly released Live Search kind of compensates for the bad POI database, but it means you have to have a data connection to find and route to any of these national destinations. If that is a requirement (data connection), there are several alternative means to find a destination, Google Maps, Telenav GPS, GPS Today, Bing, etc. One very strong point of CoPilot 5-7 was that it was very useful without a data connection.

    Hopefully an updated POI database will soon be available!

    CoPilot support is VERY GOOD!!! You won’t be disappointed.

    Be careful with their marketing, however, as it leaves something to be desired as a long-time user.

    ALK seems to leave out desirable features from a previous release if they are having licensing/development issues. For example, Full Text to Speech disappeared from CoPilot 6 to CoPilot 7 and has yet to appear back in CoPilot 8! Live traffic disappeared in the upgrade from CoPilot 7 to CoPilot 8 (a $5 upgrade discount) and will reappear as a $20/year “add-on” with Live Services in CoPilot 8 (no discount for previous users)! Text to Speech will undoubtedly be another “add-on”.

    I don’t have a problem with unbundling features to keep the price low, but it certainly would be nice to communicate up front with previous users what is going on in terms of pricing/feature sets/upgrades. Without good communication it feels like “bait and switch” marketing, and a $5 loyalty discount doesn’t cut it.

    Finally, if you look at the website it appears that CoPilot 8 has a feature similar to “lane assist” where it will indicate which lane you should go to make a turn on a multi-lane highway. When I called support, they said that this feature is only available in the UK as the US database does not have this data…maybe they should talk to Garmin, Sony, Dash, etc.? Again, not a big deal if the ads/website has a disclaimer, but to find out after a purchase make a user feel taken.

    That being said, my experience with CoPilot has been very good on the WM platform now for several years, starting with an HP IPAQ with external GPS to my current phone running WM 6.5 with an internal GPS.

    I hope the iPhone/Android platform users will have similar good fortunes!!!

  6. Oops, upgrade/loyalty discount is $10…sorry about that! Previous upgrade price from version 6 to version 7 was $99, though with “add-on” pricing, it might come near that price to re-enable all of the past “features”!

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