Have you ever been on Holiday and have used up all of your mobile data trying to download a Google map to take you to your destination?
GPS systems on mobile phones are excellent for guiding us to our destinations if you have a 3G/4G or WIFI connection. However the good news is you can download your Google Maps prior to your holiday and be able to use them without an internet connection.
The charges for using mobile data abroad can be high and as we all take our phones on holiday with us, the temptation to use them regardless of cost is prolific.
Google offline maps have been around for a few years but have only recently been available to quickly download to your iPhone or Android phone. Using these maps offline will restrict you from the usual features available such as finding restaurants and stores and you will also be unable to select cycling or walking directions but you will be able to get driving directions to an address or postcode.
It is advisable to download any map you require before you set off on your trip to avoid high data plan charges. Although Google has a limitation on the size of the map you can download which currently stands at 120,000 square kilometers which should be enough for most trips.
Here is a guide on how to download google maps that can be used offline for navigation.
Downloading Google Maps
Follow these easy steps to download a map.
- Open the the Maps app on your smartphone with GPS. To check if you are signed in tap the three horizontal bars to the left of the search bar and it should display your name or email address. If not there is a Sign in option.
- On the same menu, you’ll see offline areas. If you tap this you’ll probably see ‘Recommended areas’ and your Home location.
- Depending on the density of the roads downloads can use up to 500MB, but rural areas can use up to ten times less. There’s no limit on how many downloads as long as the internal storage on your phone can cope with the downloaded data.
- You need to search for the place you intend to visit or simply scroll there on the map. When you find the place go back to the offline areas menu and tap the big blue + button. You can zoom in or out – the app will tell you if the area is too large or not.
- On occasions there’s a limit to how much you can zoom in – don’t worry if you can’t see individual roads as they will still be downloaded. Just tap the download button when ready.
- Some areas are unavailable to download because of restrictions, but on the whole you should find you can download what you need.
- You must leave the Maps app open until the download is finished and keep checking on its progress by going back to Offline areas.
- Tap the cog icon at the top of the Offline areas screen and you can choose whether to have those offline areas updated automatically or not, and whether to download map data over WI-Fi only or also with mobile data.
Deleting a downloaded map
- A good point to note is that downloaded maps expire after 29 days so don’t download your map for your trip too early.
- To delete a downloaded area, tap on it in Offline areas and you’ll see the Delete button. Here you can also rename it.
Navigating a downloaded Google map
- Navigating your offline maps involves the same process as if you were online.
- Tap the turn arrow in the blue circle near the bottom of the map and search for your destination in the search bar.
- You can get driving directions from your current position – or you can choose a different starting address.