myTracks for iOS
The main purpose of myTracks for iOS is the GPS logger functionality. Therefore the central aspect is the recording and organization of GPS tracks. The recorded tracks are managed within the track library and using iCloud the tracks can be synchronized between all your iOS and macOS devices.
During a track recording you can take photos which are saved together with your GPS track. If iCloud synchronization is active the photos are synchronized between your devices as well.
Normally you start and stop a track recording manually. Using the feature Short Track Recording you can start a recording for a fixed time interval. Additionally there is the Diary Mode. If the mode is active myTracks will create a single track for each day. With this mode active myTracks only records relevant locations. This mode does use the GPS chip very rarely and therefore it is very power efficient. Therefore you can leave the Diary Mode active all the time. For sure, you can start a regular recording while the Diary Mode is active.
The main feature of myTracks is the GPS track recording feature. You can start a track recording by tapping the Rec button in the lower left corner. Then tap Start recording and the recording starts. In the upper part of the map the current duration and length are shown and as the case may be the speed and direction of movement. The red dot shows the number of recorded track points. To center the map to the current location you have to activate the button with the compass icon in the lower bar.
The current track recording is shown as a line on the map. The current location is shown as blue dot. During a track recording you can move and zoom the map as you like. To always center the map activate the button with the compass icon in the lower bar. Usually the map is north-oriented. But in the settings of myTracks you can activate the compass which is then shown in the upper right corner of the map. If you tap the compass a small iPhone icon is shown. That means that the map is rotated based on the current direction of movement of the iPhone.
To stop a track recording tap Rec and Stop Recording. The new track will be added to the track library automatically.
To record a track you don't need an active internet connection. Even if you don't have a map available the recording will work. But if you want to see a map even without an internet connection please download on offline map for the corresponding country before.
The track recording will continue even if myTracks is not running in the foreground. That means, if you start a recording and switch off your device and switch to another app myTracks will continue recording. But if you stop myTracks manually (using the app switcher) the recording will stop.
The white bar atop the map shows some dates of the current recording. You can swipe this bar to the left to get more information. The second bar shows the most: duration, length, speed, elevation, minimal elevation, maximum elevation, ascent and descent. Swipe the bar again to get the speed profile and once again to get the elevation profile.
On the first bar you will find a button with the (i) symbol. Tap this symbol to get an overview of the individual segments of your track.
The view shows general dates of the track such as start time, duration and length. The section Details shows the individual segments of the track (this is called the segment view). A new segment starts when you create a new waypoint or take a photo. If you tap a single point in the list that point is shown on the map using a red pin. If you tap a segment that segment is shown as green line on the map.
As mentioned before the main feature of myTracks is the GPS recording. But the GPS chip of a mobile phone needs quite a lot of battery power. Therefore you can configure the accuracy in myTracks. Tap the Rec button and then Change accuracy. On the following page you can specify Location accuracy and the minimum time interval between two track points.
Only the accuracy setting GPS uses the GPS chip. All other settings uses available mobile cells and wireless networks to calculate the current location. These needs less battery bower but not as accurate as GPS. Therefore you have to find the best setting for your case by playing around with these settings.
The second value is the minimum time interval between two track points. It can be used to keep the track small in case you don't need that much track points. On the other hand it is no problem to record a track point each second. This settings does not have any influence on the battery usage.
myTracks uses the activity data of your iPhone to detect, whether the iPhone is moving. This information is only used to detect whether the GPS chip can be switched off to save battery power. That's the only reason why myTracks asks for access to the activity data.
During a track recording you can add waypoints to your track. A waypoint is mainly a named track point that is shown as pin on the map.
To create a new waypoint tap the icon with the flag on the lower part of the map. A new view will appear where you can enter a name for the waypoint. myTracks tries to find a name for the waypoint automatically based on the current location. However, you can change the name afterwards.
In the segment view the waypoints are shown as well. Using that view you can also delete waypoints.
During a track recording you can take photos that are stored with the track. You can take a photo by tapping the camera icon in the lower part of the map. The location of each photo is shown as small camera symbol on the map.
The photos are stored with the track. That means, if you delete a track the photos will be deleted as well. In the settings of myTracks you can specify whether the photos are added to iOS camera roll as well.
In the segment view the photos are listed as well. There you can have a closer look at the photos and even delete the photo. Photos in the camera roll are not deleted in that case.
Short time recording
You have to stop a regular recording manually. However, myTracks has a feature to start a time limited track recording. This is called a short time recording. To start such a recording tap Rec and then Start short time recording. Afterwards you can select the length of the recording. When the time is elapsed myTracks will automatically stop the recording.
Besides the regular track recording myTracks provides the Diary Mode. While this mode is active myTracks creates a single track for each single day. To safe battery power myTracks does not use the GPS chip but only the cellular and wireless networks to calculate the location. This is an iOS feature called Significant Location Changes. Every time iOS detects a new significant movement myTracks is activated or started in the background and it adds the new location to the current diary track.
While the diary mode is active you can also record a regular track. The diary mode has an own bar atop the map. That bar has a diary book icon and shows the date of the current diary recording and the number of recorded track points. If you tap the (i) button you will get more information of the diary track.
You can also add waypoints and photos to the diary track. First you have to bring the diary bar to the front. When you create waypoints or photos they will be added to the diary track instead of the regular recording track.
The diary tracks are also added to the track library. They are located in a special folder with sub folders for the year and the month. You can change the name of the top level folder in the settings.
The tracks recorded by myTracks are organized in the track library. The library consists of all your tracks and nested folders. To open the track library tap the button with the folder icon in the lower bar.
All top-level tracks and folders will be shown. Tap a track to open it, i.e. to view it on the map. Tap a folder to open that folder.
Open a track
When you tap a track in the track library it will be opened, i.e. it will be shown on the map. Additionally a new bar appears atop the map. It shows the name and the length of the track. This bar also contains a (i) button. Tapping this button will open the view with more details and the segment view. The bar shows a small x in the upper left corner. Tap this x to close the track, i.e. it will no longer be shown on the map. If you open a new track from the track library an already opened track will be closed. That means, only a single selected track is shown on the map. Additionally, a recording track or the diary track may be shown at the same time.
Speed and elevation profile
You can open the speed or elevation profile view for an opened track. First tap the button with the (i) icon in the upper bar and then tap either the button with the mountain or with the speedometer.
You cannot really edit the recorded tracks on iOS. But you can use e.g myTracks for macOS for that or any other application for editing GPS tracks. On the iPhone you can change some properties such as the name, the description or the color. Open the track first and then tap the button with the (i) in the upper bar. In the next view tap the (i) again. A view with the properties will appear. Here you can edit the name, the description, the tags, the color and the timezone.
To move a track to a folder you have to open the track. Then tap the button with the (i) in the upper bar. In the next view tap the button with the folder icon. Now you can tap an existing folder. The track will be moved to that folder.
You can create a new folder directly within the track library. Open the track library view or an existing folder. Then tap the + button and specify a name for the new folder.
The list of GPS tracks can be sorted using different criteria. To sort the track library or a folder open it first. Then tap Edit and afterwards Sort. Now you have to select the sort criterion. You can also sort the tracks manually. Activate the edit mode first. On the right-hand side of each track you will find a handle. Use the handle to move the track to the new location.
To delete a track you can swipe over a track from right to left in the track library. A button with the text Delete will appear. Tap this button to delete the track.
It's also possible to delete multiple tracks. Activate the edit mode in the track list by tapping the Edit button. Then select the tracks you want to delete. Finally tap the button with the trash symbol.
You can export tracks either as GPX or KML files to use the files in other apps such as Mail or Dropbox. There are different ways to export one or more tracks. If you have opened a single track tap the (i) in the upper bar. On the following page tap the export symbol (rectangle with arrow).
It's also possible to export one or more tracks using the track list. Activate the edit mode in the track list by tapping the Edit button and select the tracks you want to export. Then tap the export symbol.
It's even possible to export all tracks of a folder. Open the folder first and then tap the export symbol.
After tapping the export symbol a new dialog will appear where you can configure the export:
- Include Photos: If this option is activated myTracks will not only export the tracks but also the contained photos.
- Include Subfolders: If this option is activated myTracks will also export the contents of selected folders.
- Use Google Format: As a default myTracks uses the GPX file format to export GPS tracks. GPX is a file format that was developed for storing GPS information and therefore it can be processed by nearly every application that handle GPS data. If ever possible you should use GPX files. As an alternative you can use the KML file format developed by Google. But KML is not really a standard for GPS data and therefore every application uses a different dialect of KML and some application may not understand the KML written by another application.
myTracks will export each track as a single GPX or KML file. In case you export more than one track myTracks will create a ZIP file containing all the tracks as individual files.
Both GPX and KML files cannot contain photos. Therefore photos have to placed next to these files. In case the Include Photos option is activated myTracks will always create a ZIP file and adds the photos next to the GPX files. In case Use Google Format is activated myTracks will create a KMZ instead of a KML file. From a technical point of view a KMZ file is a ZIP file that contains a KML and additional files.
Perform the export
After configuring the export you finally have to perform the export by tapping the export symbol again. Afterwards the iOS dialog for sharing files will appear. Now you have to following options:
- AirDrop: In case an AirDrop enable device is detected an AirDrop symbol is shown. Select the device you want to transfer the file to.
- Apps: In the middle part of the dialog all the apps are listed that directly support the file format. There you will find apps such as Mail to send the files via email.
- Open in: In the lower part you will find additional services. There you will find an entry call Open in. When you tap this entry a new dialog will appear that selects more apps such as Dropbox. Some apps directly appear in the apps list mentioned before. For some apps you have to use the feature Open in. Just try it.
- iTunes: In the lower part you will also find an entry called iTunes. When you tap this entry the files will be copied to a special location on your iPhone that can be accessed using the iTunes File Sharing. To access to files on your Mac or PC please connect your iPhone to your Mac or PC using USB. Then start iTunes and select your iPhone. Afterwards open the app list, select myTracks and go to the pane File Sharing. There you will find the exported files. From there you can copy the files to any location in your hard disc. It is save to delete the files with iTunes. myTracks will no longer need them.
myTracks uses maps provided by OpenStreetMap. This map is not developed by a company such as Apple or Google but is maintained by volunteers. Nevertheless the OpenStreetMap data is very accurate and available for the whole world.
myTracks uses Vector Maps which brings a lot of advantages in comparison with pixel based maps:
- Smooth zoom
- The map data can be used for all zoom levels. There is no need to load new data for each zoom level.
- The vector maps needs less memory on your iPhone then pixel based maps. Therefore it is possible to download maps for complete countries.
- The data is searchable for locations and POIs (points of interest). You can even use it offline.
- You can change the visual style of the map without loading new data from the server.
- It's possible to rotate the map with having text turning upside down.
Older versions of myTracks used pixel based maps. But the current release uses a technology developed by Skobbler.
After starting myTracks for the first time it will load the map data for the visible area automatically from the servers. Therefore you need an internet connection to load the data. The data is cached to some amount so that areas you visited before are still available in the cache. However you can download offline maps for complete countries so that everything is available directly on your iPhone without any internet connection.
Each available offline map in myTracks is for a single country. It is a complete map with all details for all zoom levels including data for offline search. To download a map please tap the button with the earth symbol. An alphabetically sorted list with all available maps will appear.
To download a map please tap the download symbol (cloud symbol with an arrow). You need an In-App-Purchase for a map. If you bought a map once you can download this map as often as you want and all your devices as long as you use the same Apple ID on all your devices.
After confirmation of the purchase the download will start. A progress bar shows the percentage for the current download. Please do not switch to another app and do not lock the iPhone because in that case the download will be canceled. You have to leave the download screen open. In case a download is canceled for whatever reason you can start it again at a later time. But in any case you will never be charged twice for the same map.
After successful download of the offline map myTracks will automatically use the map. Even if you install more offline maps there is no need to switch between these maps. myTracks will handle this automatically.
If you want to check which offline maps are installed tap the button with the earth symbol. The maps without the download symbol are available on your iPhone. To delete an offline map just swipe over the name and tap the Delete button. Later you can download the map again without being charged again.
Change map display
Using the settings of myTracks you can change the display of the map. Tap the button with the three dots to open the settings page.
In the settings group Map you can change the following settings:
- Style: Here you can change the visual style of the map. Actually you can select one of the following styles: Day, Grayscale, Night and Outdoor.
- Compass: As a default the map in myTracks is north oriented. If you activate the compass in the settings a compass is shown in the upper right corner of the map. Now you can rotate the map using two fingers. If you tap the compass symbol a small iPhone icon is shown on top of the compass. That means that the map is automatically rotated based on the current movement of the iPhone. Tap the compass symbol again and the map will be north oriented again.
- Local Names: If this option is activated names of cities, streets etc. are shown in the countries local typography. But the international names are shown as well.
- Bicycle Lanes: If activated bicycle lanes are shown on the map.
myTracks provides a search feature for finding addresses and POIs (points of interest). In the lower bar tap the button with the magnifier and the search view will appear. In the lower part of the view you can select whether the search for addresses or for POIs.
The address search is available for all your offline maps. After entering an address or a search term into the search field myTracks will show the results in the list. Tap an entry and the map will move to the corresponding location.
To search for an POI you have to select one of two modes: You can search for an POI around your current position (Current Position) or you can search around the currently visible map area (Map).
Afterwards you have to select a category to search for or select All to search for all POIs. In the following view you can enter a search text to filter the result. Typ an entry to show the POI an the map.
With myTracks iCloud support you can synchronize your tracks between all your devices (iOS and macOS). You can activate the iCloud support in the settings view within myTracks. If you activate the iCloud support myTracks will automatically copy all tracks to iCloud. These tracks are available on all your devices running myTracks with iCloud support active. If you later record or import tracks on your iOS device they will be copied to iCloud automatically.
If you have a Mac and work with myTracks on the Mac as well your tracks will also available there as long as iCloud support is activated.
If iCloud support is active and you delete a track this track will be deleted on all your devices. Apple does not really provide a way to backup and restore files from iCloud Drive. Therefore the track will be deleted definitely. If you rename or edit a track or move it to another folder then information will be synced to the other devices as well.
From a technical point of view myTracks uses iCloud Drive. Therefore iCloud Drive has to be activated in the iOS settings. Otherwise you cannot use iCloud support in myTracks. However, the tracks will neither appear as files in your iCloud Drive app on the iPhone nor in the iCloud Drive folder on your Mac. myTracks needs the full control over these tracks and therefore they do not appear as files. If you want access to your tracks in other apps then please use the export feature.
One of the main features of myTracks is track recording. However, it is also possible to import tracks into myTracks. If you have another app that can export GPX files (such as Mail, Dropbox or other tracking or routing related apps) then please use the Open in feature of that app. A view will appear where myTracks is listed besides other apps. Tap on myTracks. myTracks will be opened and it will import the GPX file. The imported track or tracks will not be shown automatically but only added to the track library. Therefore open the track library manually and select the imported track to show it on the map.
myTracks is not designed for navigation. However, you can use it to drive along a recorded or imported GPS track or route. As explained before you can import tracks or routes from other apps using GPX files. There are also a lot of online services the provide download features for GPX files.
You can import such a track or route and let myTracks display it on the map. You can open such a track even during a track recording. So you have that track and your current recording visible at the same time. You can even configure the color if you like.
Besides the settings mentioned before there are some additional settings available:
- Units: You can configure whether length and speed values are shown using the metric system or using miles.
- Appearance of the track recording: You can configure the color of a track recording to better distinguish it from opened tracks.
- Appearance of current location: You can configure whether the current location is visualized using a blue dot or using a blue needle. You will find this setting at Track Recording > Appearance > Current Location.
- Diary View: You can configure how to visualize the current diary recording on the map. It can be visualized either as a track, using green pins or not at all.
- Diary folder: Here you can configure the name of the folder where myTracks will place the diary tracks in.
In the settings app of iOS you will find myTracks as well. Here are the settings and their meaning:
- Location: You can select between Always and Never. However, as myTracks main feature is the track recording you should select Always in order to be able to record tracks. Some other apps also provide a setting When in use. However, When in use allows an app to fetch location data only when the app is visible. As myTracks will record tracks even in the background this setting doesn't make much sense for myTracks.
- Photos: You have to activate this setting if you take photos using myTracks and want to let myTracks copy the photos to your iOS photo roll.
- Motion & Fitness: myTracks uses motion data to detect whether the iPhone currently moves. If the iPhone does not move myTracks will automatically disable the GPS chip and enable it again when the iPhone moves again. This will save battery. myTracks will work correctly even when this setting is deactivated. But it will need more battery.
- Camera: You have to activate this setting in order to take photos using myTracks.
- Mobile Data: To be able to load data using the mobile network you have to activate this setting. It will be used to load missing map data and to search for POIs in case the corresponding offline map is not available. However, in order to record GPS tracks this setting need not to be activated.
The tracks and the photos are stored as internal files in the document area of myTracks. Therefore, these files are also part of an backup. That means, if you create a backup using iTunes this backup will contain both the tracks and the photos. If you restore such a backup this will also restore the tracks and photos. But be careful: newer tracks will be deleted when you restore an older backup.
If iCloud support is active the situation is different. In that case the tracks and photos are no longer stored in the document area but in the iCloud area. Therefore the tracks and photos are not part of an iTunes backup.
Therefore there exists another way to create a backup of your tracks: You can simply export all tracks. To export all your tracks please open the track list by tapping on the folder button. Now tap the export button and the export view will appear where you have to activate Include Subfolders and optionally Include Photos. Please do not activate Use Google Format because in that case KML files will be used and these files do not contain all the information. Now tap the export button again. Depending on the number and size of your tracks this step will take some time. It can even take some minutes. Please leave myTracks open until the next dialog appears. Afterwards you can place the file to any location you like. E.g. you can place it in Dropbox or in iCloud Drive. myTracks will export all the tracks as GPX-Files into a single ZIP file. There exists no feature to import such a ZIP file into myTracks. However, this is a good way to backup your tracks from time to time in order to not loose any tracks.