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How to use Google Maps offline

Update: Newest method added!

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.

androidpit google maps gps 1
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. 
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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.

71 comments

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  • Easily downloaded an area. Tried to use it next day (still 29 days before expiry!) but the ONLY OPTIONS were to UPDATE (impossible, because now offline) or DELETE. What's wrong?

  • When you prepare a route there is now an option to download just the route, in case of connection problems.

  • Offline is an extremely useful feature. We are using Google Maps offline to navigate our yacht through South Pacific coral reefs. Question: is there a way to force the app to download best satellite resolution? Extensive testing has shown that a "useable but not detailed" satellite image is downloaded. Even for a 1km^2 small area.

  • Hell yeah! Offline comes in handy when the signal gets lost after starting your route! Awesome feature!

  • Why is there less detail in the downloaded maps than when you are online. Can that be adjusted somehow? I use the offline data in a way that the close detail in the satellite map is necessary.

  • Very nice article! Is it possible to share an offline map? For example, I have one offline map on my android phone and want to send it to a friend on another android phone. Is that possible? If yes, how? Thanks in advance

  • Problem with Maps is it uses a lot of battery too. That's why I use it only for short trips. Otherwise I use Nokia Here, now Here To Go which works pretty good. Nokia maps are very accurate and existed before Google Maps. They can be stored on SD card.

    One thing I hate with Maps on line is it says nothing when it loses the connection ! Very good way to get quickly lost. I use Maps on my motorbike with vocal guidance. I don't understand why it's not possible to just send and alert message or emergency signal when connection is lost. Anyway, I don't get this problem with Here.

  • This article needs updating - along with the wifi updating of downloaded maps pointed out by Mr. Hussain, Google has recently declared a truce with the microSD card - now users are able to choose that in the offline maps settings menu (version 9.3.3). Between automatic updating and ability to locate large maps on large, cheap microSD storage, Google outperforms other offline mapping services with its granular detail and accuracy.

  • Now offline maps do not expire after thirty days.
    Open google map menu offline areas
    Tap on the gear icon. Select the options
    Automatically update offline areas and
    Automatically download offline areas checked in box.
    Now downloaded areas update automatically before expiry date.
    Whenever device connect to WIFI fifteen days prior to the expiry date.

  • Jay Viper 4 months ago Link to comment

    Hello. I'm traveling from Moscow all the way to the Pacific coast (Vladivostok) and have planned my route. Is there a way to easily save my all route data offline? I'm guessing there will spots where I wouldn't have net access. Thanks

    • save every area that you will travel trough, make the areas overlap by a large margin, save those all as offline areas, when you are done click turn off data usage so it doesn't try to use the internet and corrupt your offline maps. also as a backup download the android app Here maps and download all the areas you'll travel to, this is in case google maps doesn't work.

  • Nice article and helpful. A very nice feature to able to use it offline.

  • Completely useless information. Google Maps are garbage. They take so much space, it's impossible to use. You can't even fit one city, let alone a state. I am looking into CoPilot.

    • Nick W 5 months ago Link to comment

      You really could not be more incorrect. Downloading maps for offline use is incredibly useful for preserving data usage. Google Maps is the best map program to date as they are constantly updated with new information. Brand new construction zones are often in google maps navigation. If you can't find a city or a state in Google Maps then you really should learn how to operate your device properly.

    • Have been using Waze with much success, especially traffic. Sometimes,especially rural areas, although strangely central London, cannot get signal. Recently tried Co-Pilot after few years of letting it "evolve"......it has not - Waze superior. Just downloaded Google Maps I need, which I have been informed is better. Co-Pilot very good for lane direction, cameras and is prettier - others wipe the floor with it. 500 mile road trip tomorrow and trying Google maps - all easily downloaded. Have a lot of confidence Google Maps will be new champion. Do not waste money on Co-Pilot like I did. Learn to download Google Maps, as suggested below, it is quite simple and you will be rewarded.

  • My experience about Google Apps offline are not so positive. Google Voice doesn't work offline in China.
    Here one APP that seems working decently without any help from Google:
    "Offline maps & Navigation 1.1.19 for Android 2.1+ APK Download" is a good choice to start playing with maps.
    I got it from from www.apkpure.com.
    Initially need to be connected to Internet to download the necessary map data that will saved on Android device.
    And the best offline compatibility check is to set the Android device in "Airplane mode" and complain to Google if APPS doesn't work.

    Mario Hakulinen
    World citizen
    Fuzhou, Fujian, South-China

  • 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?

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