With the end of the Geocaching Classic app fast approaching (it’s due to be retired on March 23rd), the question of which app is the best option for iOS users is a hot topic right now. I reviewed the Cachly app in April 2016, but since, then there have been lots of improvements made to this already great app. At the same time, the Geocaching® App has been built upon by Groundspeak, with some much needed features added.
Cachly was launched in December 2015 as a response to developer Nic Hubbard’s disappointment with the capabilities of geocaching apps available to iOS users. In May 2016, Groundspeak announced the renaming of the Geocaching Intro App to the Geocaching® App, and their intention to retire the Geocaching Classic app in September 2016. This date was pushed out to bring more much-wanted features in to the Geocaching® App but the definite end date for Geocaching Classic is now just around the corner.
To help you decide which app is for you, I have put together a comparison of features. It’s up to you determine which interface appeals more and what functions you absolutely must have, or even just quite like having while you’re caching!
A simple comparison here: Cachly costs $4.99/£4.99/€4.99 to buy at the App Store while the Geocaching® App is free. However, both apps have specific limitations for basic users, so for optimal use, a premium membership to geocaching.com is required. I know cost is a factor for some people to consider, so I wanted to mention it but not dwell on it, because I think when you see the pros and cons of both apps, you can make an informed decision based on your needs. If you’re going to use Cachly every week, five dollars/pounds/Euros is not really a big deal.
Conclusion: On the premise that free is better than not free, the Geocaching® App edges it here.
2. Offline Maps
It felt like a long time coming but the Geocaching® App finally has offline mapping capabilities. This was the major issue that users talked about repeatedly, and actually prevented most people from switching from the Geocaching Classic app. Of course, Cachly had this function almost from day dot and the app also gives you the option to download ‘lite’, more basic data, as well as choosing not to download all cache images, saving on time if you’re in a hurry and also on space, which is very useful if your phone storage is chockablock. Cachly also gives you the option to download vector maps to get an entire state or country map saved on your device.
Conclusion: With more options when saving to offline, Cachly is ahead
3. Route to Cache
Both apps have the ability to start navigating to the cache using various mapping apps like Apple Maps, Google Maps and Waze, though Cachly is compatible with many more mapping apps. This very nifty feature is intuitive to use in both. I absolutely love this function and use it all the time!
Conclusion: For more navigation app choices, Cachly is slightly ahead
Cachly has a translate function which links to Google Translate from within the cache description, hint and logs. This means less time spent before a trip copying and pasting cache descriptions, hints and logs. It really is an invaluable feature if you’re planning to cache somewhere outside your native language zone. The Geocaching® App does not currently offer translations.
Conclusion: Cachly is definitely ahead when it comes to language issues
Both apps have the ability to sort by specific criteria, however Cachly can sort by thirteen different parameters, while the Geocaching® App only has three. With both apps you can sort by distance, favourite points and geocache name. Cachly gives the additional options to sort by cache type, container size, placed date, last found date, difficulty rating, found date, GC code, whether it’s a premium member cache or not, terrain rating and trackable count.
Conclusion: Cachly has a lot more to offer in terms of sorting search results
With Cachly, you can view all your souvenirs earned; the Geocaching® App does not currently have this functionality.
Conclusion: With the Geocaching® App yet to introduce souvenirs, Cachly has this in the bag
7. Message Centre
This was one feature of the new Geocaching® App that users were overwhelmingly positive about. It’s similar to a messenger app like Facebook messenger and a lot easier to navigate around on your phone, compared to the alternative of using a browser. Cachly does not have currently have a message centre feature on the app (it’s not a feature that Groundspeak have extended to third parties to use).
Conclusion: Geocaching® App is the definite champion here
8. Advanced Search and Filters
The Geocaching® App will allow you to search by location, GC code, trackable code or GeoTour and also gives you the capability to filter by my finds, my geocaches, cache types, container size, as well as every possible difficulty and terrain combination.
Cachly has all of the above search options, excluding a search by GeoTour. However, it has the function to filter out inactive, archived, premium and ignored caches. It also allows you to filter to caches where you have corrected the coordinates.
Conclusion: Cachly is far ahead in terms of search and filter options
9. Log Images
If you are logging using your phone and want to upload images, the Geocaching® App restricts you to one image per log, so you’ll have to go the website to upload additional images. Cachly allows you to upload multiple images with your log.
Conclusion: The ability to upload multiple log images gives Cachly the advantage
10. DNF icon
Something arguably quite trivial but very well-liked is the blue frowning face on the Cachly app, denoting a DNF. It is very handy to see at a glance which caches you have tried and failed to find on a previous occasion, particularly if you’re geocaching in an area you are not regularly in. The map on the Geocaching® App doesn’t currently differentiate between caches you’ve previously DNFed, and caches you have not yet looked for.
Conclusion: Cachly has turned my frown upside down with the inclusion of this emoticon
11. Bookmark Lists
Both apps show all your saved bookmark lists and both allow you to easily download an entire list for offline use. You can also add caches to any of your bookmark lists from within both apps.
Conclusion: The two apps make it easy to utilise bookmark lists
12. Map Options
Cachly has quite a number of map options to choose from, so you’ll really be spoiled for choice! The app has Apple Maps, Google Maps, OS maps, Open Maps, Thunderforest and ArcGIS. With the Geocaching® App, you can get Apple Maps and trail maps, which are the maps available offline.
Conclusion: If you like lots of map options, Cachly edges ahead here
13. Basic Membership Restrictions
Since Cachly is an official live API Partner of Groundspeak, there are limitations to what basic members can access via the app. Viewing of full geocache details is limited to just three caches per day. Searches are limited to traditional and event caches only, however, basic members can view other cache types provided they have the GC code, although there is still a limit to three a day.
The Geocaching® App also restricts basic members in relation to cache types, as well as DT ratings, and there is no enhanced filtering or searching which the Cachly app still allows for basic members.
Conclusion: Both apps restrict basic members, so premium membership is a huge advantage to get the most out of both
14. Pending Logs
The Geocaching® App will only save a log as pending if it can’t connect to the internet; otherwise, it will send immediately and without an option to log your trackables as ‘visited’ or to change the date you found the cache. The app allows you to log a find, DNF or to write a note.
Cachly, on the other hand, gives you the option to change the find date and to save the log locally to send later on. You can also drop/visit trackables when sending your logs, as well as encrypt your log, should you wish. With Cachly, you can log needs maintenance or needs archived; something the Geocaching® App doesn’t currently offer. Both apps give you the option to add a favourite point as you’re logging.
Conclusion: Cachly gives the user more options and edges ahead
15. Log Templates and Keywords
Cachly gives you the option to save a log template which will automatically appear when you go to log a cache. This is a nice way of appending a ‘signature’ of sorts to each log that you write. Additionally, you can insert keywords like the cache name or the time you’re logging at automatically while you’re logging. The Geocaching® App does not currently have this functionality.
Conclusion: This unique feature gives Cachly an advantage
16. Pocket Queries
Pocket Queries (PQs) can be accessed via both apps: Cachly shows them under a separate menu in the ‘more’ section, while the Geocaching® App combines PQs with bookmark lists under the ‘lists’ tab.
Conclusion: PQs may be accessed in different ways on each app, but both functionality is intuitive and useful
17. Import/Export GPX files
Cachly has the capability to import GPX files from iTunes, Dropbox or email. This is a great feature if you’re at an event with as yet unpublished caches and you’re not using a GPSr. The GPX file can be emailed to you and you can import it to Cachly! The Geocaching® App does not currently support this.
Conclusion: Cachly has the advantage on this
Cachly lists all attributes for each cache, while the Geocaching® App doesn’t have this functionality at present.
Conclusion: Cachly edges ahead here too
When Cachly and the Geocaching App are considered side-by-side, it’s easy to see how far ahead Cachly is in terms of what you can do with the app. There are features to both apps that I really like: having the Message Centre in mobile format is a big plus for the Geocaching® App, but Cachly‘s more extensive functions are very attractive. For now, I use both apps for various things and this seems to work for me.
What app do you use? What features are the most important to you? Let me know in the comments!
© 2017 | Sarah Murphy | All Rights Reserved
*I have not received compensation from any app developer for this review. All views are my own and impartial.