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Authored by:

How to use your Google Maps offline [updated: video]

Authored by: Sterling Keys — 9 months ago

I use Google Maps almost daily. Whether it be to scope out the quickest route to get somewhere or just to figure out where exactly I am when I’m visiting a new area, it’s an indispensable tool that I’ve come to rely on. But I often find myself in situations where I either have no cell or Wi-Fi reception or would incur huge roaming costs, and Google Maps becomes impractical to use. Here's how to use Google Maps offline so that you don’t need to consume data each time you want to look at it. Update: Video tutorial added.

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Find out how to use Google Maps offline. © ANDROIDPIT

To make a map available for offline viewing open Google Maps and search for your desired location. Once you've found the location/area you want to save for later, type “OK Maps” in the search bar, or tap the microphone icon and say "OK maps", or tap the search bar and hit "save map to use offline". Here's a video for you more visual types:

Link to Video

This will prompt you to save the map, and you can pan or zoom the view so that it displays all of the information you require. Unlike a mere screenshot, the maps can be zoomed into, so even if you can't see all of the street names or detail in the widest view, they will still be available after you've saved the screenshot.

androidpit maps offline
Search for a location, and once it's found go back to the search bar and type "ok maps" © AndroidPIT

Another way of saving maps is to tap and hold on a location and the Google Maps red pin will drop there. After that, scroll up from the address at the bottom and "save map to view offline" will be available for you to select.

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"Save map for offline use" is accessed by tapping the search bar (left), tap it, then tap "save" (right) and name your map. © AndroidPIT

Once you have saved the file to your device, click on the 'person' icon and it will take you to your profile page. Now even when you are now connected to Wi-Fi/roaming data you will be able to access that map under "offline maps". 

androidpit maps offline five
The "person" icon is circled in red (left). "Offline maps" will be available at the bottom of the following screen. © AndroidPIT

A downloaded map doesn’t require a huge amount of space, in fact. New York, for example, took up only 13 megabytes when completely downloaded. However, just for the sake of saving data, you might just want to be connected to Wi-Fi before you start downloading all the maps that you want.

Some precautions

There are some limitations to the functionality of the offline maps, mostly to do with the size of the location you’re looking for. For example, New York and surrounding areas would be a bit too much for just one cached file and you will receive a message saying it can't be saved. In this scenario, it would need to be broken into smaller, surrounding areas. Also, offline navigation is not available, nor is the ability to conduct a search within the offline map file. The maps you download will be stored for thirty days and after this they are automatically deleted, so don't presume they will last forever.

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The cache size before and after downloading a map. In this case, a small offline map of Times Square. © AndroidPIT © AndroidPIT

Conclusion

The online functionality of Google Maps obviously cannot be replaced, but for those who are on the go and travel quite a bit, this may provide a small solution to the problem of always attempting to find a cell reception area or a place where you can leech a Wi-Fi signal. As well, just having a portable offline version of a map is always indispensable, especially when exploring a new area.

Does this work for you?

From all the way over on Vancouver Island, Sterling Keys started off his smartphone adventure with an HTC S710 equipped with Windows Mobile and knew there had to be something better. Over the next few years, and countless different operating systems, he has finally found his home on Android.

16 comments

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  • Jinner 1 month ago Link to comment

    There is a shortcut app in the Play Store which let's you access the save offline maps function with just one click. App name: Save offline maps / developer: Appz bv

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  • Anindyo 5 months ago Link to comment

    I got the message 'area unavalaible' at the top of my screen after I type 'ok maps'. I'm using maps version 9.0.0.
    What's the problem?

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  • Simon Hamelin-Pratte 7 months ago Link to comment

    I hope an admin will help me out with this one!

    I have the last version of Google Maps (8.3.1) and I think I master the "OK maps" method quite well. However, the probem I'm always stuck with is the terrible lack of details with the offline maps. For example, if a do a "OK maps" for a respectable pan of the map of a city, let's say Manhattan again, I end up having access to an offline maps showing around 1 street name on 10. (Thus, I can see the 42nd Street crossing the 1st Avenue, but I have to scroll north for a couple of others to see another street name appearing, which is, for instance, the 50th street)

    Why do I have this problem? Why won't google maps let me save a map with a higher resolution ?

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  • jenes sutha 9 months ago Link to comment

    I can't install Google play services pls help me installing time this msg ( incompatible with same shared users I'd) please help how to I install?....

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  • Robin Scully 9 months ago Link to comment

    Google Maps is also the default GPS system for the new Android phone, making it an attractive, convenient alternative to the traditional GPS device.

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  • Kris Carlon
    • Admin
    • Staff
    10 months ago Link to comment

    OsmAnd also does offline navigation and even search if I'm not mistaken.

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  • Saem Sarguroh 10 months ago Link to comment

    Sygic provides offline navigation if I am not wrong. You can try that.

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    • Philipp Junghannß (My1) 10 months ago Link to comment

      I have navigator, free AND offline, but not rly fast... Lafs everywhere, but better than nothing...
      Also Kris if this is gonna be an evergreen (and since there is no update, it certainly is one) it probably should be marked as such...

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      • Scott Adam Gordon
        • Admin
        • Staff
        10 months ago Link to comment

        Hi Philipp,

        When we update an article, as I did here because the old article didn't make sense with the current Google Maps version, we are no longer creating a new post with a new title. This is so that the site doesn't end up with one up-to-date Maps article and a dozen other outdated ones.

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  • Timothy Cremeans 10 months ago Link to comment

    Google maps is an app that is used by millions of users across the world and are a preferred map app used by smartphone users. The features like dynamic re-routing, reporting of incidents and live traffic updates will benefit travelers largely.
    ***Admin edit: links are forbidden

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  • Ranjeesh 10 months ago Link to comment

    This looks like a tedious process to me.
    The easier way to save a map is:
    1. Tap and hold the region you want to save.
    2. It'll load and show an address or as 'Dropped pin'.
    3. Now tap on the address and you get the option to save the map for offline use.
    4. You can pan and resize the map as you like now and save it.

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  • Philipp Junghannß (My1) Mar 4, 2014 Link to comment

    "For the first method, once this is done, just type of speak “OK Maps” " -> of->or

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  • Rahul Patil Feb 5, 2014 Link to comment

    How can we use these offline maps? Can we navigate using these maps while offline?, Can we find something using these maps while offline?, I tried these things on Nexus 5 but seems not possible. is it?

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  • Pteryx Dec 30, 2013 Link to comment

    I was wondering, where is the map downloaded to? Can it be moved to Ext storage and used from there?

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