How to use Google Maps offline

Google recently updated its Maps application to include navigation for offline usage. Many stand alone navigation units have taken advantage of the Global Position System for years now which is owned and operated by the U.S. Department of Defense, and does not require a data plan for a smartphone. Maps are loaded onto navigation systems, and all they need to function is the free GPS locations from the satellites orbiting the planet.

It was only until late November and early December when Google finally enabled navigation for offline usage. If you want to learn more about GPS you can head on over to Wikipedia. But for the non technical people who just want to use their Android devices for navigation, here are the instructions on how to take advantage of the latest features from Google Maps.

How to use Google Maps in Offline Mode:

If you’re going where the Internet is slow, mobile data is expensive, or you can’t get online, you can save an area to your device and use it when you’re offline. Here’s how:

  1. Open the Google Maps app
  2. Make sure you’re connected to the Internet and signed in to Google Maps.
  3. Search for a place, like San Francisco.
  4. At the bottom, touch the bar that has the name of the place you searched.
  5. Select Download

Tip: The biggest size for an offline area is 120,000 square kilometers. If you try to save an area bigger than that, you’ll be asked to zoom in to a smaller area. The entire city of San Diego is 964.51 km2 so if you’re looking to download 120,000 square kilometers at the same time, you’re looking to download a huge area of the map.

View your offline places

  1. Open the Google Maps app
  2. Make sure you’re signed in to your Google Maps.
  3. Touch the menu
  4. Choose Offline areas.

If you have a saved location like “home” or “work,” you’ll see it as a recommended area. After touching the place, touch Download to save the area.


Search, get driving directions, or navigate to a place

You can search, get directions, or navigate to places that you’ve saved to see offline.

  1. Open the Google Maps app
  2. Search for a place or touch it on the map. When a place you’re looking for shows up, you’ll see a lightning bolt.
  3. In the bottom right, touch the blue circle. It’ll show a car, bus, bike, or person walking.
  4. Touch the car icon near the top left of the screen.
  5. To see the list of directions, touch the white bar on the bottom of the screen. It’s the one that shows the distance and travel time.
  6. To navigate while you’re offline, touch the navigation icon

Note: You can get driving directions offline, but not transit, bicycling, or walking directions. In your driving directions, you won’t have traffic info, alternate routes, or lane guidance.


Manage places you’ve saved for offline

  1. Open the Google Maps app
  2. Touch the menu
  3. Choose Offline areas.
  4. Select an area.
  5. In the top right, touch the pencil

Update the area name and touch Save.

Update places you’ve saved for offline

Places you’ve saved to use offline need to be updated at least every 30 days. When it’s time to update, you’ll see a notification.

From the notification

  1. Make sure you’re connected to the Internet.
  2. In the notification, touch Update now.
  3. Choose the place from the list.
  4. Touch Update.

From anywhere else

  1. Make sure you’re connected to the Internet.
  2. Open the Google Maps app
  3. Touch the menu
  4. Choose Offline areas.
  5. Choose the place from the list.
  6. Touch Update.

Data and cost

Offline areas are free to download, but charges from your service provider still apply. Downloading a large offline area could use a lot of data and cause your device to run slowly. You can adjust your download preferences in Offline settings.


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