How To Use Google Maps Offline
Like most Google services, Google Maps requires a constant connection to Internet. You don’t even have to save any data on your mobile device manually, it’s automatically downloaded and synced from the cloud.
But on the road, there are always dead spots with no connection at all.
Frequent travelers may visit countries with no roaming available where their data plans are so easy to max and using the Internet in usual way would cost an enormous sum. So it’s necessary to use a navigation tool in offline mode. And Google Maps has this feature though it’s not that obvious.
Of course, you’ll have no access to cloud features and updates, but offline maps will do for searching objects, finding ways and building routes. But if you have some spare space in your phone memory, why not use it to save your data?
Obtaining data for offline navigation
Like other map apps, Google Maps caches the data it needs to function. So you can use this trick for not having to re-download maps:
- Open Google Maps app while online
- Find locations you need
- Tap the hamburger menu
- Select Offline areas (at the bottom of the top section)
- Tap the + symbol in the lower right corner
- When prompted “Download this area?” select Yes
- Select the area you want to navigate offline with a rectangle tool.
Use zooming gestures to adjust the size. You can encompass larger or smaller area, depending on what map you need. The largest area you can cover is 120 000 km2.
- After you have selected a domain covering the area you need, tap Download.
- Give the selected area a name it will be saved under in your local storage.
After these steps, the downloaded map will be accessible locally and you’ll be able to activate it via Offline Areas line in your menu. And since then you’ll be able to search for objects in this area by names and addresses, locate yourself, and even build routes.
There’s a necessary warning. This map will be stored for 30 days and then it will be deleted. Of course, there’s no updating suggested. If you don’t want your offline treasure to turn into a pumpkin, you’ll have to repeat the whole procedure. Well, if you download the map for a short travel, you won’t have to re-download it.
Of course, due to massive volumes of data to download we recommend you do it via Wi-Fi connection.
While adding offline mode Google had to consider its limitations. Some of them are defined by technical abilities. So, the max size of the cache is limited to 1.5 GB because of natural memory limitations. So you can’t download the whole country’s map, even if it’s Luxembourg or Ireland, let alone Canada or China.
There are also limitations of another kind. Some areas are not available for download due to unsupported local languages, some have unsupported addressing format, some countries’ laws restrict access to certain territories.
But in most situations offline maps are the easiest way to enjoy Google Maps functionality without wasting your data.