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How to use Google Maps offline

How to use Google Maps offline

If you have a limited data allowance, bad 4G signal, no Wi-Fi, or you're travelling to a foreign country, it's a great idea to learn how to use Google Maps offline so you can get where you're going by car. If you need to go by foot or public transport, directions aren't available offline, but this feature is still a handy backup option to have in your pocket if you're ever lost. Here's how to use it!

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How to download a map for offline use

The one caveat to using Google Maps offline is that you will have to access it online first in order to download and store the required data first. You'll need to do a little bit of preparation at home or in your hotel if you are traveling before you can go out into the world and use your maps without a network connection. With that in mind:

  • Open Google Maps (while online) and search for your desired location.You can either use your current location to save the area around where you are, or search for an area you will be traveling to.
  • Once you've found the location/area you want to save for offline use, the easiest way to download it is to go to the options menu by tapping the three lines (hamburger) icon and tapping Offline maps.
  • Next, tap select your own map at the top of the screen and you will be prompted with a message that says "download this area?"
  • Drag the map inside the blue square box until it encompasses the area you want to map. 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.
  • You will notice that the file size will update automatically at the bottom of your screen. The larger the area you want to save, the larger the file size will be. 
  • Once you are happy with the map area, tap Download.
how to use google maps offline
Download a map for offline use by going to the main menu > Offline maps > Select your own map. / © AndroidPIT

How to use your offline maps

  • If you're within the area of the offline map you've saved, you can now navigate as you normally would, with some limitations.
  • You won't be prompted to name the area you've downloaded immediately, but you can do so later via the offline maps area you have just entered.
  • 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 the offline maps screen.
  • You will also see the expiry dates and file sizes of all of the maps you have downloaded. Maps will expire after 30 days unless if you don't use or update them. Press the cog icon in the top right of the offline maps screen and make sure that the first option, automatically update offline maps, is turned on.
  • You can select whether you want your maps to update over Wi-Fi only or if you are happy to do it over your mobile network as well. It is also possible to use offline maps whilst keeping your mobile data active for other apps. Open the Google Maps menu and turn on Wi-Fi only mode. You will still be able to use your offline maps, and you will be saving both battery and mobile data this way.
  • You can also delete previously saved maps from this screen by clicking on the three dots to open the options panel.
how to use google maps offline2
From the offline maps screen, tap the cog wheel to see your update preferences. / © AndroidPIT

Limitations of offline maps and further options

Once you have downloaded a map, you will be able to use that area in much the same way as you would if you were connected to 4G or Wi-Fi. However, 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. You will also miss out on walking directions, public transportation directions, live traffic information and route changes for things like avoiding tolls if you use your Google Maps offline. If these limitations are holding you back too much, don't worry, there are other offline GPS apps for Android.

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. Bear this in mind when choosing how you want to update your offline maps if you don't want them to expire. A Wi-Fi connection is not that difficult to find these days, so we suggest you limit the automatic updates to occur over these networks only.

Has using Google Maps offline come in handy for you? Let us know in the comments, and don't forget to check out our other Google Maps tips and tricks and our roundup of the best offline Android apps.

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79 comments

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  • Offline maps are just great when you have limited data to use. It really helped me once I was out of town.

    Really helpful!


  • I prefer Sygic Premium GPS Navigation which uses offline TomTom maps.


  • I prefer Sygic Premium GPS Navigation which uses offline TomTom maps.


  • Vijay 4 months ago Link to comment

    I liked the windows model of allowing us to download maps of states as whole rather than particular areas & locations.


  • I want offline google map route between two cities so i can use easily.so please suggest is there possible programatically to offline download.


    • The best thing to do is fit both of the cities into the download square. If they are too distant from each other for that to work, then you must map the route and save the area along the route as separate downloads.


  • Bro! how i can download and use it on computer?


  • Hi there, I have too much tried to use downloaded maps. I didn't find where downloaded file exists to run for navigation. I checked it in ' Your places > saved.
    But the downloaded files are not available here. I went to offline areas > select 'HO khi' it appears Delete/ update.
    pl. let us know where to select the downloaded file to navigate.


    • When you're offline, if you're within the area of the offline map you've saved, you can navigate as you normally would--there is no need to access it from outside the main map screen when offline.


  • 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?


  • 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.


  • Update 180815: Initially I was pleased with GMaps expanding map size and permitting microSD downloads, but the four-week expiration period negates usefulness for extended traveling. You have to remember to refresh the Google's offline map before departure, and it's really not so easy to find wifi for several hundred MB downloads if they expire while on travels, especially anywhere outside major cities. Google's always had the best online maps, but it fall way behind OSM in map size, available offline detail and the serious problem of files wiping automatically every four weeks. There are several good OSM Android clients, each with regular updates but no automatic deletion of old ones. Each has a substantial learning curve. I have stayed with OSMAnd, which is free to try with full functionality for up to six very large maps.


  • 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.


  • 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 Jun 16, 2016 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?


    • 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


  • 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 Apr 30, 2016 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.... :(


      • Thanks, it drove me batty trying to figure that out. None of the guides mention that particularly relevant aspect.


    • 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 Feb 1, 2016 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


  •   18
    Deactivated Account Jan 21, 2016 Link to comment

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


  • Faizan Jan 21, 2016 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.


    • Mike Jul 28, 2016 Link to comment

      No Here maps for Japan


  • --- Dec 28, 2015 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


    • Yes it will, you need to just turn on GPS. It cant give you the exact estimate of time since live traffic information wont be available.


  • Open Google map on data or WiFi search rout it may be 100 or 500 km and start navigation, now switch off data and WiFi you will get the entire rout navigation with turn by turn and voice guidance, if you deviate from the selected rout ,from the point of deviation will not get these features, there will not be rerouting with out net connection ,if you come back any way in to selected rout again will get the features. With out net connection Google map will not "rerout" but in off-line map it is limited to 50 km .it is said that Google has removed this limitation for some countries.


    • Thanks for confirming some of my observations. Google Maps finally updated yesterday (Nov 10) making it possible to download a city, county or even an entire country by simply searching for it and then tapping a new download link (or by going to "Offline Areas" in the Google Maps menu and tapping on the “+” button). I'm still waiting for the OTA update. Hope it will be available soon.


  • I just tested Google Maps offline with turn-by-turn navigation and dynamic rerouting. I have no Wi-Fi or cellular connection in my car. Everything worked well, completely offline. Well, almost completely. I have a Wi-Fi only Nexus 7 (2012). Before leaving the house I used a Wi-Fi connection to setup a route in Google Maps. Then I got in the car and started driving. To my surprise it worked! I'm guessing the online setup had the effect of downloading and/or caching the route for offline use, but I really don't know how or why it works. It seems to be similar to sending a route from Google Maps on a PC with the "send to device" (to a cellphone or tablet); but in my experience "send to device" does not let you choose a particular route. For my purposes, this is all I need because I travel locally to different spots in the SF Bay Area. It may also work in remote areas, outside of 50 x 50 meters limit for caching, but I haven't tested that yet. Would appreciate if others would test and comment, or just comment. Maybe Google's promise of offline maps is already here?


  • Hi,

    Thank you for the article. I find Google Maps Offline Maps very useful. I think the next step would be to allow offline navigation or offline route or offline directions. My use case is this one : I am used to build a specific route on my computer on maps.google.com by creating way-points, which is easy to do by dragging the route to the point. Once it is done, I share it on Google Plus. Then I temporary connect my phone to the network and open Google Plus application and open the link I shared. The route is displayed in Google Maps application. I then can save the related map as Offline Maps but I cannot save the route. Using any other application does not fill the gap as they do not provide the ability to easily build a route on a computer, as far as I know. Tell me if you build routes for offline use with any other software/application.

    a+, =)
    -=Finiderire=-


  • The best offline map I have used.


  • Only for a few selected cities, otherwise says "Area Unavailable".
    I think you can do the same by selecting a location (city, cathedral, whatever) that has additional information (photos, opening hours, etc).


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  • Yes, this is the information I am looking for. Google Maps are very important especially of you are always on the go.


  • Nokia Here Maps App is the best real-time offline Maps App.


  • Offline Google Maps is a joke and an embarrassment to Google. As the author stated, no offline navigation is possible. What savvy people do is download OmAnd which gives you offline navigation for free. I used it for getting to offbeat places in Aruba and it worked great. The first ten download of maps are free.


    • I use another app called MAPS.ME, you can download unlimited maps and it's completely free
      it even supports offline search and navigation


  • Jinner Mar 31, 2015 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


  • 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?


  • 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 ?


    • I can't help you with this problem, but I can recommend that you use another app for offline use.
      I think MAPS.ME is a really good app for that, you can download whole countries and it doesn't take up much space
      it also supports offline search and navigation, along with information about many places.


  • 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?....


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


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


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


    • My1 Jul 15, 2014 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...


      • 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.


      • I use maps.me for offline maps, you can download full countries and it will take up just a little amount of space (China takes up only about 100MB of space). the app also supports offline navigation, but I use BE-ON-ROAD GPS navigation for that, it's a really good offline GPS, completely free. The maps take up a bigger space, though, and some countries have not been added yet.


  • 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


  • 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.


  • My1 Mar 4, 2014 Link to comment

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


  • 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?


  • 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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