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How to use Google Maps offline

Update: Newest method added!

Authored by: Scott Adam Gordon — 6 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.

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.
androidpit google maps offline screen 1
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.

59 comments

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  • 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 1 month 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.

  • 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?

    • One way is to restrict data usage in the Settings menu..

    • Just use Airplane Mode (Settings > More > turn on Airplane Mode)

    • on android swipe down the top root menu and click the button to turn off data usage, its easy. my offline google maps tried to download while I was using it probably because it thought there was an internet connection, they don't even bother to fix something this critical, lazy asses

  • Ray Wynn 3 months ago Link to comment

    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 2 months 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.... :(

    • Or when you see the thing which you call a postage stamp map just hit the back button on your phone twice (not in the hamburger, on the phone). That will take you to the offline map which you saw in the postage stamp. Took me long time to figure that out. I think Phil U's answer is better than mine

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  • Sue W 5 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

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