If you have a limited data allowance, bad 4G signal, no Wi-Fi, or you're travelling to a foreign country, it's a great idea to learn how to use Google Maps offline so you can get where you're going by car. If you need to go by foot or public transport, directions aren't available offline, but this feature is still a handy backup option to have in your pocket if you're ever lost. Here's how to use it!
Jump to section
- How to download a map for offline use
- How to use your offline maps
- Limitations of offline maps and further options
The one caveat to using Google Maps offline is that you will have to access it online first in order to download and store the required data first. You'll need to do a little bit of preparation at home or in your hotel if you are traveling before you can go out into the world and use your maps without a network connection. With that in mind:
- Open Google Maps (while online) and search for your desired location.You can either use your current location to save the area around where you are, or search for an area you will be traveling to.
- Once you've found the location/area you want to save for offline use, the easiest way to download it is to go to the options menu by tapping the three lines (hamburger) icon and tapping Offline maps.
- Next, tap select your own map at the top of the screen and you will be prompted with a message that says "download this area?"
- Drag the map inside the blue square box until it encompasses the area you want to map. Pinch to zoom (putting two fingers on the display and bringing them together) to close in on the area you want. Move your fingers in the opposite way to zoom out and encompass a larger area.
- You will notice that the file size will update automatically at the bottom of your screen. The larger the area you want to save, the larger the file size will be.
- Once you are happy with the map area, tap Download.
- If you're within the area of the offline map you've saved, you can now navigate as you normally would, with some limitations.
- You won't be prompted to name the area you've downloaded immediately, but you can do so later via the offline maps area you have just entered.
- Once you have downloaded the map to your device, you can access it by tapping the menu icon at the top left of the main Maps page and returning to the offline maps screen.
- You will also see the expiry dates and file sizes of all of the maps you have downloaded. Maps will expire after 30 days unless if you don't use or update them. Press the cog icon in the top right of the offline maps screen and make sure that the first option, automatically update offline maps, is turned on.
- You can select whether you want your maps to update over Wi-Fi only or if you are happy to do it over your mobile network as well. It is also possible to use offline maps whilst keeping your mobile data active for other apps. Open the Google Maps menu and turn on Wi-Fi only mode. You will still be able to use your offline maps, and you will be saving both battery and mobile data this way.
- You can also delete previously saved maps from this screen by clicking on the three dots to open the options panel.
Once you have downloaded a map, you will be able to use that area in much the same way as you would if you were connected to 4G or Wi-Fi. However, there are some limitations to the functionality of the offline maps, mostly regarding the size of the location you’re looking for. You cannot download a map of, say, the whole of Denmark. The box you draw around the area you want has a limited size, and it's not possible to download anything that takes up more than around 1.5 GB of storage space. You will also miss out on walking directions, public transportation directions, live traffic information and route changes for things like avoiding tolls if you use your Google Maps offline. If these limitations are holding you back too much, don't worry, there are other offline GPS apps for Android.
Downloaded Google maps tend to require quite a lot of storage space to accommodate the detailed information they provide, so we recommend connecting to Wi-Fi before downloading all the maps you need. Bear this in mind when choosing how you want to update your offline maps if you don't want them to expire. A Wi-Fi connection is not that difficult to find these days, so we suggest you limit the automatic updates to occur over these networks only.