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How to use your Google Maps offline

Authored by: Robert Zak — 3 weeks ago

Whether it's to scope out the quickest route to get somewhere or just to figure out where exactly I am when visiting a new area, I use Google Maps almost daily. 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.

How to use your Google Maps offline

  • Open Google Maps and search for your desired location.
  • Once you've found the location/area you want to save for later, there are three ways you can save it:
    • Type “OK Maps” in the search bar,
    • Tap the microphone icon and say "OK maps"
    • Tap the search bar, scroll all the way to the bottom, then and hit Save a new offline map. 
androidpit google maps 4
You can go into map-saving mode by typing 'OK maps' in the Maps search bar, or scrolling to the bottom and tapping 'Save a new offline map'. / © ANDROIDPIT
  • You will be asked if you want to save this map. 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 and display information like street and building names as you get closer.
androidpit google maps 2
Pan and zoom until you cover the area you want to save for offline use, then tap Save and give the map a name. / © ANDROIDPIT
  • Once you have saved the map to your device, to access it, tap the 'hamburger' menu icon at the top left of Maps app, then Your places.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the new screen, then you should see all your saved maps under Saved places. Just tap the map you want to to view offline.
androidpit google maps your places 2
Open the Maps hamburger menu, then tap 'Your places' to view your downloaded maps. / © ANDROIDPIT

A downloaded map doesn’t require a huge amount of space. New York, for example, took up only 13 megabytes when completely downloaded. However, if you're wary of your data allowance, you might want to be connected to Wi-Fi before downloading all the maps you want.

​Here's a video for you more visual types:

Limitations of offline maps

There are some limitations to the functionality of the offline maps, mostly regarding 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.

androidpit maps cache
The cache size before and after downloading a map of central London - not a big difference. / © ANDROIDPIT

Has using Google Maps offline come in handy for you? Let us know in the comments.

A tech aficionado since he first picked up a NES controller, Robert has written about technology, videogames, and film across a range of sites and magazines, including Den of Geek, Gamasutra, and Computeractive. At AndroidPIT, he'll be bringing you the latest Android news and reviews from the front line in the UK.

16 comments

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  • Jinner 3 months 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 7 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 8 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 10 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 10 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
    11 months ago Link to comment

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

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  • Saem Sarguroh 11 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) 11 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
        11 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 11 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 11 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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