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Geocaching® app & GPS

While we've worked with many different companies to develop apps, right now we only support the official Geocaching apps for Android and iPhone. If you have questions about any other apps, including c:geo, CacheSense and Geocache Navigator, please contact the app's creators.

1. Geocaching® app

1.1. Get started

Plan your geocaching adventures, find geocaches, and log your finds in the field with the Geocaching® app.

Find a cache

Tip: Can’t find the cache? Contact the cache owner or another player for help via the Message Center to ask for a hint.

Log your find

Tip: Add a photo or Favorite point to your logs.

Plan your cache outing

Tip: Plan your cache outing easily with Premium membership features.

1.2. Geocaching® app: Premium vs. Basic membership features chart

Feature  Available to all users
Search  Search for:
  • GC codes
  • Locations
  • Landmarks
  • Neighborhoods
GeoTours
  • Search for GeoTour caches by GT code
  • Access to GeoTour caches of all cache types and  D/T ratings  (normally a Premium feature)
Trackables
  • Search for trackables
  • Log trackables
  • View trackable inventory

 

Feature Basic membership Premium membership
Geocache types
  • Traditional Caches
  • Event Caches
All geocache types
Difficulty/Terrain (D/T) D2/T2 and below All D/T ratings
Map types
  • Street
  • Satellite
  • Terrain (Android only)
  • Hybrid
  • Street
  • Satellite
  • Terrain (Android only)
  • Hybrid
  • Trail maps
Driving directions Yes Yes
Logging Add photos
  • Add photos
  • Add favorite points
Draft logs Yes Yes
Personal cache notes No Yes
Message Center Yes Yes
Premium-Only geocaches No Yes
Sort search results Results are sorted by distance. Sort by:
  • Geocache names
  • Distance
  • Favorite points
Filtered search No Filter for:
  • Type
  • Size
  • Difficulty
  • Terrain
  • Filter out found and owned geocaches
Lists No
  • Add/edit lists
  • Auto-sync of Bookmark lists and Pocket Queries
Offline features No
  • Offline lists
  • Offline maps

1.3. Navigate to a geocache

Follow these steps to navigate to the posted coordinates of a geocache in the Geocaching® app:

  1. Open the cache detail page.
  2. Select Navigate.
  3. Orient yourself with your device to face the tracking line to the cache icon or select the compass icon in the top right to see the compass view.

  Cache Detail Page Select NavigateOrient yourselfselect compass view

Tip: Find out how to enter solved coordinates for a Mystery Cache. 

Track up vs. north up mode

The default navigation style is “track up navigation mode”. To change the navigation to north up mode:

  1. Select More.
  2. Select Settings.
  3. Toggle Keep map north up.

MenuSettingsToggle

Compass view

To navigate to a geocache in compass view, follow the orange compass needle until the distance units are close to zero.

Compass view

Screenshots are from the Geocaching® app on iPhone. It will look slightly different on Android devices.

1.4. Add a photo or Favorite point

Add a photo to a log

  1. Write your log.
  2. Select the camera icon in the lower left. 
  3. Select Choose From Library or Take Photo.
  4. Select Post in the top right. 

Add a Favorite Point

  1. Write your log. 
  2. Select the heart icon in the lower left to turn it green. 
  3. Select Post in the top right. 

Screenshots are from the Geocaching® app on iPhone. It will look slightly different on Android devices.

1.5. Draft logs

Save your logs as drafts in the Geocaching® app and finish them later. Drafts automatically sync to your drafts page on Geocaching.com.

Add a draft log

  1. Write your log.
  2. Select the Draft toggle in the lower right to turn it green.
  3. Select Save in the upper right.

Tip: Add a photo or Favorite point to your draft.

Select the Draft toggleTurn the toggle greenSelect Save

Access and edit a draft

  1. Select More in the lower right.
  2. Select Drafts.
  3. Select the title of the draft to edit your log.
  4. Edit your log.
  5. Select the Draft toggle in the lower right to turn it white.
  6. Select Post in the upper right.

Select Drafts Select the title of the draft Select the Draft toggle and Post

Screenshots are from the Geocaching® app on iPhone. It will look slightly different on Android devices.

1.6. Add a waypoint

  1. Scroll down, tap Waypoints.
  2. Tap the + symbol.
  3. Enter the coordinates for your waypoint.

Tip: Find out how to enter solved coordinates for a Mystery Cache.

Tap waypointsTap the plus symbolAdd new coordinates

Screenshots are from the Geocaching® app on iPhone. It will look slightly different on Android devices.

1.7. App settings

Change distance units (miles/kilometers)

  1. Open your Settings.
  2. Toggle Use metric system.

Cache proximity notification

  1. Open your Settings.
  2. Toggle Vibrate when close to geocache.

North up navigation

  1. Open your Settings.
  2. Toggle Keep map north up.

(If your device has no compass, the default is north up and cannot be changed)

Screenshots are from the Geocaching® app on iPhone. It will look slightly different on Android devices.

1.8. Log trackables

Trackables are traveling geocaching game pieces that move from geocache to geocache and can be logged through the Geocaching® app.

Log a trackable from your inventory

  1. On your profile, select Trackable inventory
  2. Select Log to log a trackable
  3. Select from the log types Drop, Visit, or Write Note
    For Drop and Visit, select a geocache from the map
  4. Write your log and (optionally) upload a photo.

Select Trackable inventorySelect "Log"Select "Drop", "Visit" or "Write Note"Select a geocache from tha map

Log a trackable from a geocache

  1. From the cache details, scroll down to select Trackables
  2. Select Log to log a trackable
  3. Enter the tracking code then select from the log types Retrieve, Discover, Grab, or Write Note
  4. Write your log and (optionally) upload a photo.

Scroll down to select "Trackables"Select "Trackables"Select "Log"Enter tracking code and select log type

Search for a trackable to log

  1. Select the Magnifying Glass icon in the top left
  2. Select Trackable to search for trackable
  3. Enter the tracking code and select Search
  4. Select Log Trackable
  5. Select from the log types Retrieve, Discover, Grab or Write Note
  6. Write your log and (optionally) upload a photo.

Select the Magnifing GlassSelect "Trackable"Enter tracking code and "Search"Select "Log Trackable"Select log type

Screenshots are from the Geocaching® app on iPhone. It will look slightly different on Android devices.

1.9. Create, edit, and delete Lists

Premium Members can create Lists to organize their geocaching adventures. Lists on the Geocaching® App automatically sync with your Lists on Geoaching.com.

Add a cache to a (new) List

  1. Select a cache.
  2. Select the (...) icon on the top right corner.
  3. Select Add Selected to List.
  4. Select a List or select + to create a new List.

Select a cacheAdd to listSelect list or create new list

Add multiple caches to a (new) List

  1. Filter and search for caches.
  2. From the map view or List view, select the (...) icon on the top right corner.
  3. Select Add All to List.
  4. Select a List or select + to create a new List.

Map viewAdd all to listSelect list or create new list

Delete Lists

  1. Select Lists from the bottom of your screen (for Android users: from your profile).
  2. Select the (...) icon and select Delete List.

Select ... iconSelect Delete

Screenshots are from the Geocaching® app on iPhone. It will look slightly different on Android devices.

1.10. Offline Lists

Offline Lists are a Premium feature in the Geocaching® app. Download your lists and use the Trails map to navigate to geocaches without an internet connection!

Download offline Lists

When you download offline data for a geocache List, offline maps are automatically saved to your device. These maps show the location of caches in your List. Here’s how it works:

  1. Go to the Lists section in your Geocaching® app.
  2. Tap the ellipsis (...) next to the List that you want to download.
  3. Select Download Offline Data.

Tip: Offline maps are saved in the Trails map type. When you’re geocaching without an internet connection, switch to Trails to see your offline maps!

1. Select *Lists*2. Select ellipsis3. Select *Download Offline Data*

Refresh offline Lists

When you edit a List on Geocaching.com that you previously downloaded for offline use, refresh the List on your Geocaching® app to sync the changes.

Maps don’t change very often. For this reason, offline maps aren’t updated when you refresh data for a downloaded list. If you need to update maps, remove offline data for the related list and download it again.

Remove offline Lists

To delete the downloaded data from an offline List, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Lists section in your Geocaching® app.
  2. Tap the ellipsis (...) next to the list that you want to remove.
  3. Select Remove Offline Data.

WiFi and cellular data

The Geocaching® app uses offline maps before it tries to pull data from the internet. But offline maps are not designed to replace an available internet connection. If you don’t want the app to use cellular data, switch to WiFi or Airplane Mode.

Tip: To save cellular data, switch to WiFi before you download geocache Lists!

Screenshots are from the Geocaching® app on iPhone. It will look slightly different on Android devices.

1.11. FAQ: Offline maps in the Geocaching® app

Why offline maps?

The best adventures are off the beaten path—and rarely come with complimentary internet. Offline maps let you navigate to geocaches without an internet connection!

Who can use offline maps?

Offline maps are available to Premium members. Upgrade to Premium to get offline maps and other advanced geocaching tools!

How do I download offline maps?

When you download offline data for a geocache list, offline maps are automatically saved to your device. These maps show the location of the caches in your list. Here’s how it works.

How do I know which maps I’ve downloaded?

Go to the My Lists section of the Geocaching® app. Your downloaded lists have a green checkmark. Each downloaded list has a set of offline maps.

Downloaded list with green checkmark

How do I use my offline maps once I’ve downloaded them?

Offline maps are saved in the Trails map type. When you’re geocaching without an internet connection, switch to Trails to see your offline maps!

I don’t have an internet connection, but I see maps when I open the app. Are these my offline maps?

Maybe. To make sure that you’re using offline maps, switch to the Trails map type. Google Maps and Apple Maps may automatically cache maps that show the area near you. These cached maps appear in the Geocaching® app when you don’t have an internet connection. But cached maps are not related to your geocache lists.

How do I refresh geocache data for a downloaded list?

This process is not automatic—here’s how to manually refresh a list.

Refreshing a list does not update offline maps, it only pulls new cache data like activity logs.

How do I refresh my offline maps?

Maps don’t change very often! For this reason, offline maps aren’t updated when you refresh a downloaded list. If you need to update maps, remove offline data for the related list and download it again.

How do I remove offline maps from my device?

To delete a set of offline maps, remove offline data for the related list.

Should I use the website or the app to create my lists?

Either way! Lists that you create on Geocaching.com automatically appear in the Geocaching® app, and vice versa. No matter how you create a list, you can download it in the app to get offline maps.

How do I log caches that I find while geocaching offline?

If you are able to view cache details, you can post a cache log. However, your log exists in a pending state until you have an internet connection. You can see your log, but other players cannot. To finish posting your log, open the Geocaching® app when you have an internet connection again. The app will automatically publish your log so that others can see it.

Will downloads use up my cellular data?

We recommend that you switch to WiFi before you download lists. If you try to download a list using cellular data, the Geocaching® app will warn you before the download starts.

Does the app use my offline maps, even if I have an internet connection?

Yes. The Geocaching® app uses your offline maps before it tries to pull data from the internet. But offline maps are not designed to replace an available internet connection. If you don’t want the app to use cellular data, switch to WiFi or Airplane Mode.

Screenshots are from the Geocaching® app on iPhone. It will look slightly different on Android devices.

1.12. View cache owner and log photos

View photos uploaded by the cache owner

  1. Select a cache and open the cache page.
  2. Scroll down and select Photos.
  3. Scroll to the right to see more photos

Tip: The cache owner might also have added photos to the cache description. Check out Web View to find out

Select PhotosView photo

View log photos

  1. Select a cache and open the cache page.
  2. Select Activity.
  3. Scroll to a log that has a photo attached.
  4. Select View Photos.

Select Activity tabSelect View PhotosView log photo

Screenshots are from the Geocaching® app on iPhone. It will look slightly different on Android devices.

1.13. Web View

Web View allows you to see the geocache description as it appears on our website. It includes photos and HTML styling that is not optimized for mobile applications. Web View can provide important information when solving Mystery Caches or searching for Multi-caches.

  1. Select a cache and open the cache page.
  2. Select Description.
  3. Select Web View.

Select DescriptionSelect Web View

Screenshots are from the Geocaching® app on iPhone. It will look slightly different on Android devices.

1.14. Message Center

With the Message Center you can send and receive messages from other geocachers. This makes it easy to chat with other geocachers and geocache owners while you’re out adventuring.

  1. For iPhone users: Select Messages from the bottom screen.
    For Android users: Select Messages from the side bar.
  2. Select New to start a new message.
  3. Enter a username and select the geocacher you want to contact.
  4. Write your message and select the paper airplane icon to send.

Select newSelect geocacherWrite message and sent

Screenshots are from the Geocaching® app on iPhone. It will look slightly different on Android devices.

Block another geocacher

You can only block another geocacher via the Message Center on our website. If you block another player, those messages will still appear in the mobile app but you will not receive any further messages from that player.

If you hide a conversation via the Message Center on our website, those messages will still appear in the mobile app.

Screenshots are from the Geocaching® app on iPhone. It will look slightly different on Android devices.

1.15. Find a GeoTour

GeoTours are collections of geocaches that create self-guided, themed tours around historic sites, parks, cities, and more. GeoTours are often sponsored by local tourism boards, historical associations, or national park services. Local experts pick out the best places to hide new geocaches. 

If you find 100-percent of the caches on the GeoTour at that time, you will earn a GeoTour souvenir for your profile, and perhaps even a geocoin or other prizes. Keep in mind that the exact number of caches on a GeoTour may increase or decrease over time. 

Tip: Both Basic and Premium members can find and log GeoTour geocaches of all types and D/T ratings! See the Premium vs. Basic membership features chart.

Search the GeoTour directory

  1. From the map view, select the magnifying glass icon at the top of the screen.
  2. Select GeoTour.
  3. Enter a GT code or select See all GeoTours.

Select magnifying glass iconSelect GeoTourEnter GT code or select See all GeoTours

Discover a GeoTour from the map

A cache that is part of a GeoTour will say “GEOTOUR” above the cache name. Follow these steps to see the full GeoTour:

  1. Select a GeoTour cache from the map.
  2. Open the cache detail page.
  3. Select VIEW GEOTOUR.
  4. Begin your GeoTour!

Select cacheSelect cacheView GeoTour

Screenshots are from the Geocaching® app on iPhone. It will look slightly different on Android devices.

2. GPS

2.1. Download geocaches to GPS device

There are several ways to download geocache details to your GPS device. Each GPS device is different, so instructions may vary.

Download from cache pages

Below the listed coordinates of a cache select the Download GPX button to download the geocache to your computer or GPS.

Download from map preview

Search for a cache on the map, toggle a geocache, and select the GPX file button from the map preview to download the cache to your GPS or computer


GPX file

This file type is available to both Premium and Basic members.

The file contains:

Send to Garmin

This functionality is available only to Premium members. Instructions how to use it can be found here.

Download via Pocket Query

Premium members can download groups of up to 1000 geocaches via Pocket Query. If you download a cache via Pocket Query, 5 logs will be included. Learn more about Pocket Queries.

*If you have specific questions, please contact the manufacturer of your GPS device.

2.2. Upload drafts (field notes)

Follow these steps to upload drafts from your GPS device or computer to Geocaching.com:

  1. Connect your GPS device to your computer.
  2. Go to your Dashboard.
  3. Select Drafts on the left hand side.
  4. On the Drafts page, select Upload drafts.
  5. Select the drafts file from your GPS or computer to upload.

Tip: Follow the directions for your GPS device to locate the correct drafts file. Drafts files have a .txt file extension, for example: geocache_visits.txt.

2.3. Garmin Express

Thanks to a partnership between Geocaching HQ and Garmin, Premium members can send geocaching Lists to their supported Garmin GPSr .

Initial setup

  1. Download Garmin Express Version 6.7.1 or higher.
  2. Select Add a Device to add your Garmin GPSr .

Tip: If you run into questions while setting up Garmin Express, visit Garmin’s Help Center.

Send a List to your Garmin GPSr

  1. Visit My Lists.
  2. From the (...) menu on the right, select Send to Garmin.
  3. Go geocaching!

2.4. GPS buyer guide

You don’t need an expensive or elaborate GPS device for geocaching. Your device should be easy to use, accessible, and durable. You can browse GPS units at Shop Geocaching and other online retailers.

Tip: Many geocachers use their smartphones instead of or in addition to GPS units. If you have an iOS or Android phone, download the Geocaching® mobile app.

GPS features

The features below are important to consider before you buy a GPS unit.

Basemaps Basemaps are included with some units. They usually consist of major highways and coastlines. They are good for overall orientation, but not much else.
Add-on maps Some units allow you to install add-on maps. You can buy map packages for specific regions from GPS manufacturers and third-party websites. Some third-party maps are even free.
GLONASS compatible Some units are compatible with GLONASS (Russia’s satellite navigation system). This allows you to pick up GLONASS signals as well as GPS signals.
Memory Memory allows you to load additional maps and waypoints onto the device. Higher-end devices usually accept a memory card for storage.
Power source Your device should support external power, such as a cigarette lighter power cable. It should also support standard batteries (AA or AAA) for easy replacement on the trail.
Waterproof Your device should be water-resistant or have an IPX7 designation.
Geocaching features An increasing number of devices have specific features for geocaching. Look for a device that can store pocket queries and Drafts (field notes).

2.5. GPS Help

Geocaching HQ does not produce GPS units or provide customer service on GPS unit issues, however we have collected some resources that may be helpful.

2.6. Garmin Communicator Plugin no longer supported

Most browsers no longer support plugins.

To send geocaching information to your GPS device, select one of the following options: