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How to use Google Maps offline
Google Maps is one of the most reliable navigation services available, but it’s not without its faults. One of the most significant issues is that it works best with a solid data connection, something we can’t always have. You can use Google Maps offline, but this great feature is useless without proactive measures.
Are you ready to take that road trip or take a wild hike? Make sure to follow this tutorial on using Google Maps offline to avoid getting lost off the grid.
Use Google Maps offline by opening Google Maps and going to Profile icon > Offline maps > Select your own map. Then, pick your area and hit Download.
JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS
Editor’s note: These steps were assembled using a Google Pixel 7 running Android 14 and the Google Maps app version 11.101.0102. We also tested all these instructions on an Apple iPhone 12 Mini running iOS 17, and the steps are identical.
How Google Maps offline mode works
You must download the area of interest before taking advantage of Google Maps offline mode. This is what we mean when we say things must be done proactively. You need to download the map area before leaving the comfort of the internet.
I can cache all of San Diego, Tijuana, and the LA area with a single download in Google Maps.
Thankfully, the Google Maps offline area you can download is large; I can cache all of San Diego, Tijuana, and the LA area with a single download. Downloading these offline maps can use a lot of data, so be ready to sacrifice plenty of storage space for your maps. These can take up to 1.5 GB, depending on the area.
If you have a device with microSD card support, you can even transfer data to your SD card. To do this, go to Profile icon > Offline maps > Gear icon > Storage Preferences and switch Device to SD card. Here’s our guide to the best microSD cards if you don’t have one yet.
How to switch Offline Maps to SD card:
- Open Google Maps.
- Tap on your Profile icon.
- Go into Offline maps.
- Hit the Gear icon.
- Select Storage Preferences.
- Switch to SD card.
- Hit Save.
It’s also important to note these offline maps expire after about 15 days or less, unless you connect to a data connection. The world changes pretty much daily. Maps are dynamic and require updating. Businesses close, others open, streets are built, others are changed, and so on. Google wants you to have an updated version of your maps even when you’re offline, which is the reason behind the time limit.
Downloaded maps expire after 15 days or less.
To keep your maps offline indefinitely, you need to go to the Google Maps offline settings and activate automatic updates. This will ensure your offline maps are constantly updated. You can even choose only to be updated when using Wi-Fi, ensuring your precious mobile gigabytes don’t go to waste.
When offline, the application won’t have everything Google Maps offers. There won’t be information such as bike routes, walking directions, traffic details, lane guidance, and all those goodies that make Google Maps stand out. Almost everything else should work as expected. You can look for addresses, find businesses, and quickly navigate to them.
How to store offline maps
Now that you know all the ins and outs of offline Google Maps downloads, let’s show you how it’s done.
How to store Google Maps areas offline:
- Open the Google Maps application.
- Tap on your profile picture in the top-right corner.
- Select Offline maps.
- Google often offers recommendations. If your desired area is not in the recommended maps, hit Select your own map.
- You can now pinch-to-zoom in and out, making the download area larger or smaller. Pick the area you want to download.
- After making your selection, hit the Download button in the lower-right corner.
You can navigate and find directions without a data connection now. Just remember, as we mentioned before, not every feature will be there.
Get directions before going offline
Are you taking a quick trip and don’t need the entire area saved? There’s a more temporary way to use Google Maps offline. You can start navigating when you have an active data connection. Maps will automatically download the info you need to get to your destination, and it will stay active even if you go offline in the process. This is entirely independent of the maps you download. Once you configure the route, Maps will hold the data until you reach your destination or turn off Maps.
How to get directions from Google Maps:
- Open Google Maps while online.
- Search for the place you want to get directions for.
- Tap on Directions.
- Select Start.
- Start your trip. Google will download all info from the get-go and keep you on the route, even offline.
Yes. Offline maps expire after 15 days or less of being offline.
Google Maps should make updates automatically. Additionally, you can do it manually by going to Profile icon > Offline maps, then hitting the three-dot menu button next to it, and selecting Update.
You can delete Google Maps offline data by going to your profile icon > Offline maps, then tapping on the three-dot menu icon next to your map and hitting Delete. Confirm by selecting Yes.
Google will often recommend areas to download by grabbing information from Gmail, Hangouts, Google Trips, and other sources. Google knows it all!
Offline maps provide limited functionality. Of course, you won’t be able to get traffic information. You also can’t access public transit, bicycling, or walking directions. Furthermore, you’ll have no access to alternate routes and lane guidance.
While offline maps are available in most places, they aren’t available everywhere. This can be due to “contractual limitations, language support, address formats, or other reasons.”