Friday 5 September 2014

GPS voice navigation: Not for Sailfish, Android apps work

Update: Jolla will not provide offline navigation for Sailfish OS, at least not for a while

This is the most wanted feature among Jolla owners, unfortunately the news are opposite.

However, there are many Android apps, both free and paid, offering this feature and running well on Jolla.

Offline voice navigation for Jolla phone

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Update September 4, 2014:

Jolla has finally informed their users about the navigation feature. Unfortunately these news are not what we wanted: Currently Jolla is not working with navigation feature for Sailfish OS, and such will not be introduced in the close future as a native solution. At least not before January 2015, being unsure also after that. However, they aspire to offer it in the shortest possible time.

As the reason for this they've shared that they have selected a different service from Nokia: HERE Online maps (tm) instead of HERE Drive (tm), latter being offline client including the navigation feature. You might ask why? Well, looking at the size of Jolla and comparing it to some other companies, we can easily get the point of Jolla's comment: "We are not Sammy."

However, there are several Android apps providing the needed navigation features. NavFree, guided to install in this article below, is still one of the best choices for offline voice navigation. I'm a happy user after 9 months, and I've been using it too. Also OSMAnd has been very famous among Jolla owners, proven to work as well.

There's no network connection needed when using NavFree, so you could actually install it to any supported phone model and use that phone just as your navigator without the need of SIM card.

Original article, December 12, 2013

While waiting for updates to HERE Maps features, here's a simple HowTo for installing offline GPS Navigation to your Jolla smartphone. Voice navigation included, tested to work myself.


  1. Register a Jolla account (needed to access Jolla store in the phone)
  2. Open Jolla store and install Android Support (close the store)
  3. Open your phone browser, go to address* Install Aptoide store (close browser)
    UPDATE: Aptoide is currently available for install directly at
    Jolla Store > external marketplaces. However, I prefer the old method.
  4. Open Aptoide store and search Navfree. Install the application (close the store)
    UPDATE: Click on "available versions" and find version 2.1.14 before installing.
  5. Open Navfree, follow the instructions and install your country map into the phone. WLAN recommended - road map files are huge
Update January 21, 2014:
Navfree above version 2.1.14 might not get GPS lock on Jolla

Recommended not to update above the version 2.1.14, which seems to be the latest fully working one. You can browse at Aptoide store, mentioned below, to find this working version. The reason for latter versions not working is suspected to relate to Google Play services.


  1. Enable Location in your Jolla settings
  2. Start the app, wait for GPS lock and you're done. On to the road!


  1. User inteface works perfectly. Navfree has a nice set of settings.
  2. Supports voice navigation, POI's, speed cameras, speed limits (in selected countries) etc.
  3. Full offline support. To navigate, no connection or SIM card needed.
  4. Sound was loud and clear, instructions ok too. No need to use with max volume.
  5. In my first time, driving was shown in reverse on the map. Restarting the phone fixed this.
  6. If you navigate without internet connection, the phone might ask for it. This doesn't prevent the navigation app to talk, but the question screen hides the map. Tap to remove the question, but it might appear again soon.
  7. You can drop the app to your home screen (swipe from left/right). Voice navigation should keep on running, but the map doesn't update the cover screen. Tapping the active cover opens the app and updates the map.
  8. Landscape mode works well, even when dropping the app to home screen.
  9. If you close your screen yourself (swipe from up), navigation stops talking. I haven't tested if it stops talking when the screen is closed automatically.
  10. Navfree offers free map update download 4 times a year
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Source for the September 4 update
Published: December 12, 2013
Updated: September 5, 2014 13:56 UTC