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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.

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 3 weeks 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.


    • Brittany McGhee
      • Admin
      • Staff
      3 weeks ago Link to comment

      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.


    • Brittany McGhee
      • Admin
      • Staff
      3 weeks ago Link to comment

      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.

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