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How to use Google Maps offline

Update: Newest method added!

Authored by: Scott Adam Gordon — 4 months ago

It's possible to use Google Maps offline, which is ideal if you find yourself needing to scope out a route or figure out where you are when you have no Wi-Fi or have run out of your monthly data allowance. Many people use Google Maps almost daily, so being able to download offline maps is a very practical feature. Here's how to use Google Maps offline.

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This is how to use Google Maps offline. / © ANDROIDPIT

How to use Google Maps offline

The one caveat to using Google Maps offline is that you will have to use it online in order to store the required data first. With that in mind:

  • Open Google Maps (while online) and search for your desired location.
  • Once you've found the location/area you want, the easiest way to save it for later is to go to the options menu by tapping the three lines (hamburger) icon and tapping Offline areas.
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Navigate to offline areas in your menu once you've found the location you want to save. / © ANDROIDPIT
  • Next, tap the plus or add symbol in the bottom right of the screen and you will prompted with a message that says "download this area?"
  • Drag the map inside the square box until it encompasses the area you want a map of. 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. 
  • Once you are happy with the map area, tap Download.
androidpit how to use google maps offline screen 2
Hit download and give your map a name. / © ANDROIDPIT
  • You will be prompted to name your area. Do so in the box that appears.
  • 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 Offline areas, where you should now see your downloaded area. 
androidpit how to use maps offline 3
You will find your saved map in Offline areas. Rename it by tapping the pencil icon at the top right. / © ANDROIDPIT

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. 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.

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. Additionally, the maps you download will be stored for 30 days and after this they are automatically deleted, so don't assume they will last forever.

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

Originally from the UK, Scott graduated in Popular Music Studies at Newcastle University and attributes most of his success there to his beloved Samsung Galaxy S2. A dedicated Android fan, Scott has never owned an Apple device, of any kind, and doesn't see this changing anytime soon.

51 comments

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  • I have an area downloaded for offline use. Maps has been at it for about 12 hours so far, and has reached 0%. Something is amiss.

  • Is there a way to force google maps to not use dsta when data is turned on?

  • I can select and download a map, but I then cannot open or access that map. I get to the same screen as shown on the left at the bottom of this web page. I followed the steps that “parayil Hussain” listed four months ago: wireless off, mobile data off, used GPS app to confirm that GPS connected and then opened Google Maps (latest version), selected Offline Areas. But all I get is the postage stamp size map that I can Delete or Update. Is there a setting somewhere that is wrong? I have a Samsung Galaxy S4, thanks.

    • Phil U 3 weeks ago Link to comment

      You don't use the map via that screen - use Google Maps as normal. Any area NOT downloaded will be shown but with no (or very little ) detail. You will only have normal Google Maps high detail within the area(s) you have downloaded.
      It took me bloody ages to figure this out... you'd think they would tell you.... :(

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  • Sue W 3 months ago Link to comment

    how do you download a route for offline use later?

  • Thanks for this article..

  • I wanted to download the whole map of the small island where I live (Koh Phangan, Thailand)
    The download will be 225 Mb and I have 55 Gb free on my Note 5.
    Google's answer is "this area is not available offline "
    So, I presume that among limitations there are some not relating to technical possibilities.
    Like advertising money for example.
    No problem : I'll stay with Here, former from Nokia, which "offers" entire offline Thailand map, among a lot of other maps, for free and works better than Maps in my island because Koh Phangan is too small to benefit from frequent Google's updates.
    B.T.W, Google downloads are not well optimized because the estimated size of Phangan's download is 225 Mb for 191 km².
    The entire Thailand's map on Here weights 483 Mb, for 555 000 km² !

  • Nice app..liked it

  • Google has the best online maps but loses (in the regions I go to) to OSM maps in off line detail and functionality, as well as the map restrictions noted in the article. It also fails to play well with microSD storage (though I might have missed the solution to that.)

    While I often fire up Google on wifi, I use OSMAnd offline (good user interface improvements last fall in version 2.x). Maps have a learning curve, otherwise I'd have a look at Here.

  • Very usefull thanks

  • anshul 4 months ago Link to comment

    I don't think so that offline map will show current traffic status.

  • Faizan 4 months ago Link to comment

    here maps by Nokia is much better. you can download the maps of entire cities/states. and it is stored until you delete it. Also it's just as good as google maps

    • Here map is not detailed as Google map,if comparing only ten %. Here map not says street name in all countries. Here map is not showing live traffic data in online for all countries.

  • --- 4 months ago Link to comment

    This is good info, but being offline when using Maps will prevent live traffic info from being provided. Maybe I'm just crazy, but live traffic info is the main reason I use Maps to begin with, most of the time.

  • First of all check the " Google play services " and " Google play store " , and Google map is the latest versions,if not update all of these . Then open map >menu>setting>offline areas tap here and download the areas that you want to use. (Each areas maximum 120000sq/km)over WiFi and download and install this app" GPS status & tool box "also. When you want to use navigation switch off WiFi and mobile data if you want you can remove sim card also. First open gps status& tool box app look into circle see white colour dots changing into green as they are fixing your location this will take a few seconds or minutes, when it is fixed open Google map,the map will go automatically to the downloaded areas and opens, then see a small circle in bottom right corner of the map tap on this your present location will be fixed then go to search options and tap on the navigation button , you are able to get turn by turn navigation ,voice guidance, rerouting in offline using of Google map but live traffic. Data, and multiple rout options and lane guidance is not available in offline Google map.

  • Will my saved maps show me my current location on the move even with no cell network

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