Among the many helpful things our phones do for us these days, maps are one of the most useful – and as our helpful guide shows, you don’t need a mobile data or internet connection to use them.
Gone are the days of paper maps. Once a mainstay of the glovebox or traveller’s backpack, the awkward A-to-Z of yesteryear has been well and truly replaced by considerably more pocket-friendly digital apps.
Of these, Google Maps is by far the best and most popular. But there’s one drawback: it usually needs a data connection to work.
Most of the time, this isn’t a problem. But if your data allowance is running low, or you’re travelling abroad, it might become an issue – and the last thing you need is to be stuck without a map in some far-flung corner of the globe!
Helpfully, though, the app lets you download maps to your phone or tablet for offline use well in advance. Here’s how:
Whether you use an iPhone or Android phone, the process for using Google Maps offline is the same. We’ve provided screenshots of the iOS process here – but you should see more or less the same thing on your Android phone. As ever, you can get in touch with a Team Knowhow expert if you're having any trouble.
Tap the Menu icon in the upper left – it looks like three horizontal lines.
Tap Offline maps.
If you have location services enabled, you can tap Local to automatically select a map of your current area. Otherwise, tapping Custom map lets you pinching and pan on the screen to select the area you want. Android users might see ‘Select your own map’ rather than ‘Custom map’, but it works the same way.
Finally, just tap Download. The size of the download will vary, but offline maps are typically more than 200 MB in size. By default, you’ll need to be connected to Wi-Fi to start the download – but you can enable downloads over mobile data by tapping the cog icon in the upper-right part of the ‘Offline maps’ screen.
Once your offline map has been downloaded, you don’t need to do anything different to use it: just open the Google Maps app and use it as normal.
You’ll be able to zoom right in for easy navigation – but currently, route planning will only work for car-based journeys. Pedestrian and public transport journeys aren’t currently supported, so be sure to plan ahead if this is likely to affect you.
You can view your stored offline maps, and how much space they take up, by visiting ‘Offline maps’ from the menu again. Tap a stored map and you can either delete it to free up storage space on your phone, or update it if you're connected to the internet. Note that offline maps will be automatically deleted after 30 days if they haven't been updated.
Hopefully that's all you need to start using Google Maps offline, whatever platform you're on – but if you need any further help, get in touch with one of our Team Knowhow experts.