You can also translate several lines of characters at once, which is a clear time-saver when you’re tackling a menu, be it a Western or Chinese cuisine. Your first 100 translations are free (each individual line of text counting as one translation), after which time you’re limited to 10 per day. If that’s not sufficient, then you’ll need to upgrade to the paid service, a one-off payment of GBP 11 ($18). An Android version has been promised for sometime, but isn’t available yet.
Real-time bus tracking is not available, unfortunately, but you can at least get a better idea of how long you’ll have to wait. It works in more than 300 cities nationwide and is available for free on both iOS and Android.
Didi Dache and Kuaide Dache
Baidu Maps and Google Maps
Baidu Maps‘ user interface only comes in Chinese, but in my experience it is more accurate and up-to-date than Google Maps. If what you’re searching for has an English name, Baidu will still usually return relevant results. It also does fairly well with pinyin for those who don’t have Chinese input installed on their phones. For me, the GPS seems more reliable than Google Maps. Baidu Maps is available on Android and iOS.
Google Maps is generally my second resort after Baidu Maps. It might not be as detailed or up-to-date, but the interface, street names, and landmarks are all in the English alphabet. It’s also available on both iOS and Android.
Metro and subway map apps are a dime a dozen and can be found for any city with a simple Google search. For Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Beijing, I suggest the Explore Metro apps for iOS and Android, which have straightforward subway and metro navigation with route planners, train times, and a street map of the area nearby each station. Subway lines are of course included in Baidu and Google Maps, but a separate map makes things more clear.
Pleco or Hanping
It’s always good to have a dictionary on hand in a pinch, and both Pleco and Hanping are solid choices. The free versions are limited, but camera recognition and handwriting input are available on both for a price. They are far more detailed than Google Translate (see below) when you’re looking for relevant correct words. Search in English, pinyin, or Chinese, and you’ll get a list of results followed by near-matches in case you mistyped something. Pleco works on both Android and iOS, but Hanping is only for Android.