Google Maps is used by billions of people across the globe to get to their destinations, explore new areas, and locate public resources. However, the program works best with a robust internet connection. Things might become complicated if you’re off the grid.
Sometimes you need to go someplace but don’t have access to mobile data. Offline maps may be quite useful in such situations. We’ll look at how to download offline maps in Google Maps for Android, how they function, and how they vary from conventional maps in this post.
Why Do You Need Offline Maps?
Even if you have an unlimited data plan, there are various reasons why you should download offline maps on your phone. For example, if there are areas of your city with poor network service, an offline map may ensure you reach your destination safely without having to wait indefinitely for the map to load.
If you reside in a place that has regular power outages, offline maps might come in helpful. Because you never know when the next blackout may strike, having an offline map might save you from getting lost while you’re away from home.
Offline maps are essential for travelers. Offline maps are a reliable advantage while travelling on a road trip, trekking, or traveling overseas if you run out of data and don’t know how to get to your destination or need to locate the closest petrol station.
How to Download an Offline Map
- Launch the Google Maps app and enter your target location, such as New York City.
- Scroll up from the bottom slider, hit the three-dots menu, and then choose Download offline map.
- The size of the map will be adjusted on the next screen. Pinch in or out of the map to include more or less of the surrounding region.
- The larger the region you include in your map, the more storage space it will need on your smartphone. On your screen, you’ll see an approximation of the same.
There’s a slightly faster way to save offline maps. After searching for your desired place, type “OK maps” in the search box. You’ll skip ahead to the part where you need to adjust the size of the map.
To view your saved offline maps, go back to the main page by exiting search, tap your profile picture, and select Offline maps. You can update your offline maps by tapping the three-dots menu beside a map and selecting Update.
Also, Google Maps will recommend places you might want to save, such as Home, Work, favorite places, and more. Simply tap the three-dots menu icon beside a recommendation and select Download to save that place.
A second, more manual way to download maps is to tap SELECT YOUR OWN MAP on the Offline maps menu page. Then, set the area you want to save by dragging the map and zooming it in or out. Note that you can’t download offline maps for China and North Korea due to reasons we won’t get into today.
Before you lose internet access, it’s a good idea to take screenshots of the street view of some intersections or local shops that might lie in the middle of your route. This way, you can better judge whether you’re going the right way. You can use Google Street View for this purpose.
How Offline Maps Work
As great as offline maps are, they don’t give you the full Google Maps experience for obvious reasons. You can use them for navigation, yes, but there are a few things you should keep in mind before using offline maps:
- Offline maps do not provide real-time traffic information or instructions for using public transportation, biking, or walking. They also do not display available cabs, other routes, or map kinds.
- There is no official restriction to how many offline maps you may store, however there is a limit to how far you can zoom out when choosing the map size.
- If you travel often, a simple remedy for this constraint is to store numerous offline maps of successive areas.
- Depending on how large an area you include in the map and how populated that region is, downloading an offline map may take anywhere from 10MB to 2GB or more. Basically, the larger the file, the more data there is in the targeted region.
- Offline maps are valid for a year after which they must be updated, therefore if you download a map on May 24, 2022, it will be functional until May 24, 2023.
- On offline maps, you may also utilize turn-by-turn instructions, search, and GPS.
Offline Maps Settings You Should Change
To make the most use of your offline maps, it’s a good idea to change some of your settings. To do so, go to the Offline maps menu and tap the settings icon. Here, you’ll see the following settings:
- Auto-update offline maps: Assists in keeping your offline maps up to date for the most accurate navigation. When you recover internet connectivity, Google Maps will immediately update your offline maps.
- Auto-download suggested maps: Allows Google Maps to automatically download maps for locations you often visit for optimal convenience.
- Preferences for downloading: To preserve mobile data and battery life, keep the choice set to Wi-Fi only. Allow downloading over mobile data only when absolutely essential.
- Storage preferences: To preserve internal storage, you may configure Google Maps to save offline maps on the SD card. However, since offline maps operate quicker with internal storage, we suggest not altering this setting.
An Alternative to Saving Offline Maps
If you’re out of storage or simply don’t need the whole area saved, you can still use Google Maps offline via a temporary workaround. While connected to the internet, search for your destination, set your route, and start navigation like you normally do. Google Maps will automatically save this data to help guide you to your destination even if you lose signal in the middle of your transit.
Of course, as soon as you lose signal, you won’t be able to see things like live traffic data, but you can still comfortably reach your destination by following the turn-by-turn directions.
This solution is only recommended if you’re going somewhere nearby, like a coffee shop or book store. Skipping on offline maps is not the wisest idea if you’re traveling or are in a foreign country without an active data plan.
Never Get Lost With Offline Google Maps
Nothing is worse than becoming lost in an unknown location and not knowing how to get to your goal, especially if you don’t have internet connection to assist you. In such situation, an offline map is the next best thing.
But keep in mind that downloading offline maps is a proactive action, which means you must do it before leaving the comfort of internet connectivity. If you’re out of data and haven’t previously downloaded the map of the region you’re in, Google Maps won’t be able to assist you, so do it as soon as possible to secure your safety.
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