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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 getting ready to take that road trip or get yourself into 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.
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Editor’s note: These steps were put together using a Google Pixel 4a with 5G running Android 12 and the Google Maps app version 11.29.3.
How Google Maps offline mode works
You will need to 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. Edgar Cervantes
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.
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. Edgar Cervantes
If you want 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
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 get to 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.
- Hit Preview.
- Select Start.
- Start your trip. Google will download all info from the get-go and keep you on route even when offline.
Will my offline maps expire?
Yes. Offline maps expire after 15 days of being offline.
How can I update my offline maps?
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.
How does Google Maps recommend area downloads?
Google will often recommend areas to download by grabbing information from Gmail, Hangouts, Google Trips, and other sources. Google knows it all!
Are offline maps missing any information?
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.
Are offline maps available everywhere?
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.”