Sky Map stargazing app review

Free and easy to use, the Sky Map app is a great option for those interested in trying out stargazing for the first time.

Sky Map app open on a smartphone pointed towards a dusky sky.
(Image: © Lloyd Coombes)

Space Verdict

Sky Map is a solid stargazing app that will particularly appeal to beginners. Although it lacks the more technically impressive features found on some other apps, the fact that it's free makes it well worth checking out for budding stargazers.


  • +

    Free to use

  • +

    Easy to navigate

  • +

    Doesn't require a powerful phone


  • -

    Interface is underwhelming

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    Lacks more impressive AR features

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    No iOS version

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There are plenty of stargazing apps out there, but few have the price tag offered by Sky Map — or lack thereof. The app is completely free, and while it does lack some of the more impressive features offered by newer contenders, it's still a great way to identify stars and planetary bodies.

Sky Map app: Specs

Operating System: Android (Android 8.0 and up)
Size: 10MB
Price: Free

We actually found Sky Map's old-school appearance a little endearing, and it located just as many stars as more premium apps like Night Sky in our testing. In fact, it has the advantage there, because none of its data is obfuscated behind a paywall.

It won't win any design awards, but Sky Map is well worth a look, especially with some pretty basic system requirements and around 10MB install size.

Sky Map app review

Sky Map app: Pricing and Subscription

Sky Map app planetarium page open on a phone resting on wooden slats.

Sky Map may look a little dated, but it's got all you need. (Image credit: Lloyd Coombes)
  • Free to download
  • No further payment required
  • Lacks features of other, more expensive apps

One of Sky Map's biggest perks is that the app is entirely free to use. And that's not just for a trial period, there really is no price tag attached at all.

That makes it an easy download for anyone even remotely interested in identifying stars and other objects in the night sky, although what's on offer is barebones compared to the likes of Night Sky or Stellarium Mobile.

Sky Map app: User Interface

Main page of the Sky Map app showing constellations and gridlines.

You can turn off various elements with a tap on the sidebar. (Image credit: Lloyd Coombes)
  • Looks a little dated
  • Accurately identifies stars and more
  • Easy to filter skywatching views

Sky Map arguably doesn't give the best first impression, with an opening splash screen that's not even HD, but once you're in you realize that's part of its charm.

With stars, planets, and constellations splayed out across the screen, each categorized by color coding, it'd be fair to say it's not the sharpest-looking stargazing app we've used. But some may appreciate the more retro look, and given that it debuted in 2012, it's perhaps not surprising.

Still, it's easy to use, with planets, stars, constellations and gridlines that can be turned off by tapping on the left-hand side of the screen to show or hide each individually. This adds a pleasing granularity to things and also lets you add or remove each until you get the layout as simple or complex as you'd like.

Screenshot of the Sky Map app showing dark mode with the text in red on a black background.

How the Sky Map app looks in dark mode, with red light to protect night vision. (Image credit: Lloyd Coombes)

We liked the addition of a dark mode, which dims the screen and turns the icons to dark red — after all, it's not easy to see the skies if your phone is lighting up everything around you. This is toggled with a tap on the 'eye' icon at the top.

There's also a search bar (more on that in a moment), and while the app can be controlled using gyro movement to look around, you can opt to move through the galaxy with a tap or swipe instead — ideal for those with disabilities.

Sky Map app: Key Features

Screenshot from the Sky Map app showing how it creates a circle round your target in the night sky (in this case, Mars).

Sky Map can help you locate whatever you’re looking for with its search bar. (Image credit: Lloyd Coombes)
  • Lacks AR features of some rivals
  • Useful planet gallery
  • Time travel function

Sky Map's antiquated user interface isn't the only way the app has been left behind by many of its contemporaries in the stargazing app space.

While many of its rivals have embraced AR as a means to convey the scale of our universe, and the ones beyond, Sky Map's planetarium view remains flat. This may be expected given the lack of paid membership, but when other options let you open a portal to Mars and beyond, it's worth noting.

Screenshot from the Sky Map app showing Mars as it appears in the planet gallery.

The gallery feature lets you get a closer look at the planets. (Image credit: Lloyd Coombes)

Thankfully, you can see planets in the 'gallery' view. This lets you get an idea of the scale of each planet, and you can use this to pinpoint each of them in the sky by following the arrow. It adds a fun dimension knowing there's a planet to be found, and following the directions is something that's likely to be great for teaching younger stargazers.

Screenshot from the Sky Map app showing a view of constellations from 2017 in time travel mode.

The time travel mode lets you see where constellations were or will be in the night sky. (Image credit: Lloyd Coombes)

There’s a fun 'time travel' option as well, with data from both past and future included. Sky Map does a good job of recommending events such as eclipses so you can check them out at your leisure, too.

As mentioned before, you can use the search bar at the top to identify planets, stars or anything else and be guided to them.

Should you download Sky Map app?

Sky Map, despite its 'classic' design (and that may be generous), is definitely worth downloading. It's free, it's powerful and it packs plenty of data into an easy-to-filter design.

It's also got very modest system requirements, which makes it the kind of app you can install on your kid's first phone and they can use it with ease.

If Sky Map app isn't for you

If you're on an iPhone, you'll need to look elsewhere because Sky Map is only available on Android devices. In that case, we'd recommend Night Sky in that case since it offers much of what's on offer here, but with additional premium features that may be worth looking into.

SkySafari 7 Pro is another alternative that packs a huge roster of features in one app.  In our review, we noted its impressive new LiveSky and SkyCast features. Plus it can control Celestron StarSense telescopes.

Not sure if either of those apps are right for you? Check out our roundup of the Best stargazing apps in 2024.

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Lloyd Coombes

Lloyd is a long-time freelancer specializing in computer and gaming tech, with a particular focus on all thing Apple. You'll find him regularly testing the latest iPhone or iPad, and you can also find him writing about video games all over the internet. He also has an interest in virtual reality, which he has written about extensively. He's currently the Editor in Chief at