Google Maps Save Offline

How much effort have you put into customizing Google Maps? It’s an incredible tool for locating landmarks and businesses, gauging routes and distances between them, and even finding out how long it will take you to get home from anywhere.

If you’re going where the Internet is slow, mobile data is expensive, or you can’t get online, you can save an area from Google Maps to your phone or tablet and use it when you’re offline. You can adjust your download preferences in Offline settings.

Download Google Maps for Offline Use

Downloading maps offline is easy, but not intuitive. The process is identical on both iOS and Android. You need to do it while you’re connected to the Internet, so it does take some forethought. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Make sure your device has an Internet connection, and sign into your Google account.
  2. Open the Google Maps app.
  3. Search for the name of the location you want to save offline. It could be a business, a building, or just the name of a town. Note that you can only save maps smaller than 50km by 50km (that’s a little more than 30 miles squared). To give you an idea of the distance, it’s roughly from the Golden Gate Bridge to Redwood City. In East Coast terms, it’s about from Yonkers to the bottom of Brooklyn.
  4. Tap the bottom of the screen where the name of the location is shown.
  5. A new screen will appear, and you’ll see three vertically stacked dots in the upper right corner. Tap that icon.
  6. Select Save Offline Map. The app will prompt you to zoom in or out to capture the area you want. Unlike a screenshot, Google Maps lets you zoom in and see more detail in the map once it’s saved offline.
  7. Tap Download to save it. When prompted, name the map however you want and hit Save.

You’ll then be tasked adjusting the area to be saved via panning and zooming around, making sure to pay attention to the size limit alert along the top of the screen. If the mapped area is deemed to large, you’ll need to zoom in and repeat the process for the area left out. Once you’re happy, tap on Save and give the offline map a name.

Access Google Maps Offline

  1. To get at your saved maps offline, open Google Maps (again, you’ll need to be signed into your Google account ahead of time) and tap the three vertically stacked bars (the hamburger menu) in the upper left.
  2. Tap Your Places.
  3. Scroll down to the section labeled Offline maps. Tap any map to open it. You should be able to zoom in and out easily. If you have any starred locations on the map, they’ll carry over into the offline map, too. So go ahead and add stars to locations whenever you see them and want to remember them for later.

A downloaded map doesn’t require a huge amount of space. New York, for example, took up only 13 MB when completely downloaded. However, if you’re wary of your data allowance, you might want to be connected to Wi-Fi before downloading all the maps you want.

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. For example, New York and surrounding areas would be a bit too much for just one cached file and you will receive a message saying it can’t be saved. In this scenario, it would need to be broken into smaller, surrounding areas.

Also, offline navigation is not available, nor is the ability to conduct a search within the offline map file. 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.