iPhone and iPad

Five Apps And A Few Tips For Using Your iPhone While Driving

Bakari Chavanu 16-01-2012

using iphone while drivingIt’s not safe to use your cell or smartphone while driving, but we all know how convenient it can be to talk on the phone or send a text message, especially to inform someone you’re on our way or that you’ll possibly be late.


The key to using your iPhone while driving is to reduce the number of steps it takes to make a call, send a text message, or check driving directions.

The iPhone includes a few built-in features and apps that might be useful while driving, and there a few third-party apps that can help keep your eyes on the road.

Voice Activation

The Siri app available in iPhone 4S includes the most advanced voice activation features for making phone calls, sending text messages, playing songs, and much more. Using it while driving can enable you to keep your eyes on the road, instead of trying to type a phone number or send a text message, which you should never try to do while driving.

using iphone while driving

If you don’t have iPhone 4S, no problem, because the iPhone 3G, 3GS, and and 4G also feature enough voice control features that come in handy while driving. See my article, “Stop Tapping & Start Talking: Voice Control Your iPhone.” Stop Tapping & Start Talking: Voice Control Your iPhone You may not know that your iPhone has a few built-in voice command features that can save you the trouble of typing keystrokes. This feature indicates that we can expect even more and similar voice... Read More


iphone while driving


I never attempt to type a text message while driving, but I do use an app called Pasties ($1.99 or Free Lite version) to send preset, commonly used messages to my wife and a few other designated people. With Pasties, you set up individual common messages (e.g., “I’m on my way.” “I’ll be late.” “Call me later.”) you want to text or send via email.

iphone while driving

Pasties can also save you a few more taps because it allows you to set a  message to a specific person in your Address Book.  When you tap on the message it will paste it in a new SMS addressed to the assigned person, and then you simply tap again to send it. It would be great if the message were sent with only one tap, but at least it keeps you from typing messages while driving.


Face Dialers

I’ve never liked the Favorites list in the Phone app of the iPhone. It requires 2-3 taps to access, and if you have more than a few people on the list, it can be difficult to read and navigate especially while driving. So this is where an app like Face Dialer (.99 cents) comes in handy. It allows you create photo icons of people you call, text, email frequently, and initiate contact with a single tap.

iphone while driving

You can put all your photo contacts in one folder, or put the icon of the person you call the most on your homepage. By using this app you don’t have to hunt for a contact’s name in your Address Book or your Favorites list.

The ad supported Tatap Call free is another option that enables you set up phone icons for the people you call regularly. You can double-tap on an icon to make the call directly, or  a single tap will display menu for calling, texting, and emailing the selected contact. The add-free version is .99 cents.


iphone driving apps

iPhone Earphones

Also, don’t forget that the earphones that come with the iPhone are also useful while driving. If you must talk on the phone while in route, the earphones allow you to both answer a phone call and talk to someone using the mic button on the cord.

iphone driving apps

You press the button once to receive a call and press it again to end it. If you receive a call while talking someone else, you again press the button once to switch over to the new call, and press again to end it and return to the original call.


Voice Search

It’s not uncommon to need to search for an address or directions while driving, but again it can be a big distraction to do so especially if you’re trying to manually type a message. If you must do a search while driving, two handy apps, Google search app and Dragon Go come in handy.

using iphone while driving

Both of these apps have really good voice to text recognition features. And most often when you get search results, you can simply tap on the phone listing to make a call, or the listed address to open it in Map application or to get directions.

Five Apps And A Few Tips For Using Your iPhone While Driving dragonapp 3

See my article Dragon’s free mobile apps Dragon: Two Free Voice Recognition Software For The iPhone Read More to find more tips about voice to text recognition for the iPhone.

Let us know about the apps you find handy for safer driving while using the iPhone.

Related topics: Siri, Speech Recognition, Speech to Text.

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  1. Janet
    April 12, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    Vlingo and Evi are 2 great apps. Check them out.

  2. Adam McNutt
    January 18, 2012 at 3:27 am

    I use Vlingo. It works on iOS, Android, and Blackberry. Works great, and only one big button to hit. I used to use Siri and Vlingo, then Apple killed Siri and made it only 4S.

    • Janet
      April 12, 2012 at 2:08 pm

      Also check out evi. Does what Siri did. Only not text. I use vlingo to text

  3. Michel
    January 17, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    So you write a post about this, then agree with everyone who points out it's illegal in many places and dangerous everywhere. Don't you see the hypocrisy in that?

    • Bakari Chavanu
      January 17, 2012 at 5:50 pm

      Lol, Michel, as I pointed out in my article–the first paragraph–it's not always wise to use the phone while driving. The same could be said for eating a hamburger, playing music too loud, or not looking over your shoulders when you change lanes. However, if you must do anything of these things, like using your phone, try to do it as safely as possible. 

      I've been driving for over 35 years now, and am happy to report that I have never caused a car accident, though I have been slammed by two drivers–who by the way didn't appear to be using a phone while driving. They simply were not paying attention.

      As described in the article, I use a few of the apps and tips with my phone while driving, but I don't do it irresponsibly. I not really advocating that people use the phone while driving, but if they must, here's a few ways that might do it. 

      At the same time, readers might heed your warning or argument that they should never use the phone while driving. We all have to be responsible enough to make that decision. I'm not trying to be hypocritical. I'm just recognizing that there are two sides to the argument.

  4. Makaha
    January 17, 2012 at 12:34 am

    Seems to be missing the point about distractions/attention toward the road being the main factor behind problems with cellphones in cars. Just because you can look at it, doesn't mean you are paying the proper attention to it.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      January 17, 2012 at 7:08 am

      Good point. Great to post a argument against driving and using cell phone for any reason. 

  5. Webgalpat
    January 17, 2012 at 12:03 am

    In most states, it's illegal to wear headphones/earphones while driving since you might not be able to hear emergency vehicles or other cars.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      January 17, 2012 at 7:07 am

      Very true.

    • James Bruce
      January 17, 2012 at 10:09 am

      I'm not quite sure I follow that, logically. Shouldn't it also be illegal to have your radio really loud too then? (Or, is it??)

      • Bakari Chavanu
        January 17, 2012 at 5:51 pm

        Hmmm, I'm not sure. I've never heard of that law in California.

  6. 247disciple
    January 16, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    One of my favorite apps for "texting" while driving is HeyTell. Instead of sending a text, it sends a voice recorded message. I have a friend that uses it a lot to send me messages because he does a good amount of driving for his work.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      January 17, 2012 at 7:06 am

      Thanks for the tip.

  7. Lee
    January 16, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    I can't (and never will be able to) drive, but is it really that hard to just not use your phone while driving? How hard is it to just pull over to the side of the road, call or text whoever, and then start driving again?

    • Tonyd
      January 17, 2012 at 6:08 am

      You may not know how to drive but you know more about driving than I and most other drivers do and I've been doing it for 45 years. The danger with cell phones and driving is not what you're doing with your fingers but what you're doing with your brain. If you really are a thinking person there's no reason to read past Lee's post. If I were an editor I'd think twice about the liability of giving people advice about how to text and drive. A lot of this advice is illegal in many states. Driving with headphones (one of the suggestions) must be illegal pretty much everywhere I would think (or should be).

      • Bakari Chavanu
        January 17, 2012 at 7:11 am

        I'm not sure if it's illegal to suggest that someone use the phone while driving, but I certainly respect your position. Of course, car accidents can and do happen if when people are not suing a phone. But for the most part, I agree. It's not safe to use the phone while driving.

        • James Bruce
          January 17, 2012 at 10:08 am

          Well, people get killed even without guns, but that isn't a defence for not banning them.