If you wear your traveling pants more often than the lounging pants or if you, your boss, friends, or family are a stickler for being on time, I have an excellent app recommendation for you. ETA-Live Traffic Alert iPhone app helps you navigate your favorite destinations with precision, whether you drive, walk, or use public transport.
But in the world of ever-advancing, feature-packed traffic apps like Google Maps and Apple Maps, why should you pay heed to ETA? Because it’s different. Check out how in this hands-on review of the ETA Live Traffic Alert app.
ETA – No more estimation; get the real-time deal
ETA means Estimated Time of Arrival, and that’s precisely what this app gives you. It takes distances, routes, and current traffic into consideration and quotes an almost accurate arrival time. Nice, but so do other apps! So, why exactly is ETA different?
Because instead of being a jack of all trades, ETA has concentrated on mastering this particular feature. And has been doing so since 2014; you might as well call this app the pioneer of tracking live traffic conditions.
The minimal, simple-to-use interface and set of limited yet pertinent features favor the commuters; let me show you how.
Dashboard to all your favorite location
Usually, when you use Maps, the ETA for the currently selected location shows up. As and when you switch locations, the ETA for them comes up. Here’s where this app changes the narrative; it shows you the real-time arrival for all your favorite locations.
Honestly, I was skeptical of the concept at first. Why do I need to see ETA for all my regular locations at once? Moreover, why should I download an extra app for it? But once I started exploring the app, it felt like a feature that I never knew I needed.
For one, it’s fun. But more than that, it could help you plan your day-to-day itinerary better, from the best time to leave for office or can I squeeze in that doctor’s appointment or temple visit.
It even boasts green, orange, and red dots over the ETA to give you the feel of the current traffic. The app also has some underlying sass; check out the comments you get in the above screenshots.
Time of arrival – Yes, but no directions?
It might come across as strange at first. The app does not give out directions for the route; it just shows ETA. And while I might have called this a fatal flaw for any other navigation app, this one makes it work.
All thanks to its integration with all major navigation apps, from Apple Maps, Google Maps to Citymapper, Transit. You just have to tap the arrow from the bottom left to get directions from the chosen apps.
Remember the jack of all trades comment? Well, it comes into play here. The developers of ETA have chosen to invest and build an app that will help you track traffic and the time taken to reach a destination.
Instead of taking up the endless task of collecting data for routes and presenting a mediocre app, it has left the massive task of navigation to the masters. And with the intuitive power vested in me, let me guess the question currently brimming in your mind, does the app do anything else?
Bunch of controls at your fingertips
Apart from showing the ETA of all our favorite locations at once and re-directing to a navigation app for directions, the app also lends you many smart controls.
Your choice of transportation mode
You can choose or switch the mode of transportation between car, walking, or public transport (in selected areas) for any location at any given time. From the main dashboard, hold the location card and swipe left to change the mode quickly.
Or tap the location card → settings (gear) icon → Transportation mode → select an option.
Add buffer to ETA
So the route to my office takes about 12 minutes, but between parking, waiting time for a lift, and the walk to and fro from the lift, my punch-in usually gets delayed. And while my employers are chill that way, not many have the luxury.
Thus, very smartly, ETA Live Traffic Alert allows you to set up a buffer of up to 30 minutes individually for each location in your dashboard.
Customize the display as per your liking
Whether you want to display ETA in hours or minutes or the actual time, you’ll reach. Or if you want the ETA to be displayed on the right or left side of the screen. Plus, the app also boasts a few themes and icons to choose from.
iOS integrations at their best
A great thing about ETA is that it has evolved with iOS. When Apple launched a new feature, the app has jumped the wagon and incorporated relevant features.
Note: If you’re interested in the complete timeline of the app’s growth, they have an interesting history page that shows their advancements through the years.
Why type and message the ETA to your friends and family when you can tap the message button in the ETA app and share an interactive iMessage card with them. You can also set a default contact for each location, allowing seamless sharing every time.
You also get a handy iMessage app to share your current location or other saved or unsaved locations. The contact can review the travel card to check your arrival time and if they have the app, share theirs.
Now, isn’t this the whole point of having such an app, reaching your appointments or meetings on time, every time? Thanks to Calendar Sync, the ETA app automatically shows your arrival time for all major or minor events.
It matches the calendar data with locations in your dashboard or auto-searched a new one and plot the time accordingly. Moreover, you can set advanced preferences like buffer time, location alias, and more for each location.
Widgets for handy access
Why waste time opening the app and checking out the ETA when you can get all the info you need on the Home Screen? The ETA boasts an impressive array of widgets; you can view real-time arrival for an individual location.
Or see all your favorite locations at once, and tap any to open it in the preferred maps app directly.
Apple Watch app
Remarkably, ETA has also made the shift to the Apple Watch. Thanks to it, you can leave your iPhone home or in the bag and still keep an eye on the time of arrival. You are also privy to a complication that’ll display travel time on your watch face. Pretty amazing, right?
Is ETA the right navigation app for you?
Value for money
While I love apps that bring many features to your disposal, I also appreciate an app that does what it promises pretty well. The ETA is one such app; it doesn’t shy away from integrating with better navigation apps like Apple or Google Maps while contributing its bit in simplifying your navigation needs.
It is a perfect companion for someone who commutes across the city a lot, an entrepreneur, contractor, medical rep, salesperson, and more. By looking at the live conditions of every place, they can re-route or re-arrange meetings to save time and get work done way faster.
That being said, apps like Google Maps have incorporated features like a reminder to leave, cycling directions, etc., for free, which gives them a heads up. So, this one is a great app; I do feel the need for more related features.
- Simple and minimal UI
- All locations on one dashboard
- Smooth Siri integration
- Great widget options
- Thoughtful features
- Need more features in comparison to other apps
- Lack of transportation modes
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A self-professed Geek who loves to explore all things Apple. I thoroughly enjoy discovering new hacks, troubleshooting issues, and finding and reviewing the best products and apps currently available. My expertise also includes curating opinionated and honest editorials. If not this, you might find me surfing the web or listening to audiobooks.