Google Maps has an offline mode that lets you download maps and get directions even when you're not connected to the internet. If you're traveling abroad or heading to a location with limited internet connectivity, a good option is to save that particular area offline so you can get driving directions and view points of interest and routes.
How to use Google Maps offline
- Search for the area you'd like to save offline from the Search here textbox. In this instance, I'm searching for New York City.
- Pull up from the bottom of the screen to access additional options.
- Tap Download.
- Select the area you'd like to download by zooming in or out. Larger the area, the more space it'll take up.
- Hit the Download button to start saving the area offline.
- Once the area is saved, you'll be able to use navigation options and look up locations even when you're offline as long as they're in that particular area.
Saved areas expire in 30 days, after which you'll have to update them to continue navigating them offline.
The feature is great for driving directions, but you won't have access to public transit information or walking directions, as both of those services rely on an internet connection to work. That said, taking areas offline is a good way to save data if you're on a metered plan or are navigation to a location with little to no internet connectivity.
Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.
Google claimed for YEARS that navigation required a data connection leaving people without mobile data with a dot on a map that shows your location because receiving GPS signals was free (thank god) and navigation was not.
The only reason Google allowed offline navigation FINALLY was because the Here app by Nokia was ported from Windows Phone to Android and allowed offline navigation.
The only reason that was done was because Nokia phone was bought by Microsoft and then killed. This allowed Nokia to develop the Here app for Android.
So you can thank Microsoft and the competition from the Here app for Maps allowing offline navigation.
And Google, I still have never paid and never will pay for internet data through a cell tower.
I used to love HERE but then they got rid of the high quality voices that read the street names and the program basically became unusable (I missed the streets that I had to turn on, etc.). When my family took a trip to Hawaii a few years ago we used HERE exclusively and it was great, especially in areas without cell signal (of which there were a lot). I miss HERE and wish Google Map's offline was even remotely as usable as HERE's, or even anywhere near as good. *sigh*
There is also "maps-me" what uses openstreetmap, also offline and very good for driving, despite waze and "alterable" maps from google.
Here maps work brilliantly for me here in the UK. App now called Here Wego. Voice directions excellent. Rarely even look at the map. Audible directions more than sufficient
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