How to use Google maps offline

A few decades back, whenever you had to travel to travel to remote areas or simply go hiking or camping in the jungle, a map was always a necessity. Normally, the map would come in the form of a huge piece of paper that you had to fold a dozen times for it to fit into your pocket or bag pack.

This map would easily get torn after using it several times. There was also the risk of it being drenched in drinking water, rainfall or even sweat. Furthermore, apart from challenges in unfolding the map, using the map was challenging since at times you would be confused as to where up or down was.

Then the digital era came and this Google maps was born. All you need is the Google Maps app on your phone and you are good to go. However, you also need good internet connectivity to use this app and this presents a challenge if you find yourself in areas with poor network reach.

In such a case, you can utilize the offline Maps feature. This utility allows you to download the map of your area of interest and use without internet connection. Even better is it is applicable for both Android and iOS users. This article will guide you on how to download Google maps for use when offline.

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How to download a map on Android device

Fortunately for you, the Google maps app comes with the device and so you will not have to go through the download and installation of it. Head over to the app and tap on it to open. Ensure that you are connected to the internet and signed in to Google Maps.

You then search for the place you are interested in, for instance The Grand Canyon. At the bottom, tap on the name of the place and then download. If you happened to search for a particular place such as museum or park, tap “More” and then “Download offline map”.

Note that: 

You will follow the same guideline when downloading a map for an iPhone or iPad.

Saving the Map on an SD card

By default, the offline map is downloaded onto your device’s internal storage. However, you can change the device’s settings, such that you can download the maps onto your SD card. If you are on Android 6.0 and beyond, you can configure your SD card such that you can save the offline map on the card that is configured for portable storage.

How to configure your SD card

The first step is to mount your SD card onto your Android device. You then tap the Google Maps app to open it. Once the app has opened, you tap the menu, which is in the top left of the screen.

From the menu, you select offline maps. You then tap on the settings icon on the top right of the screen. You will see the option “Storage preferences”, from which you will tap device followed by SD card.

To save mobile data and battery life

You can configure your device such that you can save on mobile data and phone battery. Open the Google Maps app and tap on the menu. You then turn on the option “Wi-Fi” only.

Use the Maps

Once you download an area, you can use the map just as you would have done in normal circumstances.

Updating the offline maps

Google regularly updates these maps to ensure their accuracy. This means that with time, they expire. For you to know when the areas that you have saved expire, open the Google Maps app and hit the menu icon. You then select “Offline areas”.

Google tries to update your map automatically when you are connected to Wi-Fi, if your maps expire in fifteen days or less. If this automatic process does not happen, there are other means you can use to update the maps.

Updating from the notification

On the notification “Update online maps”, tap on “Update Now”. You then tap on the expired or soon-to-expire area on the list, followed by hitting “Update”.
The area will automatically update.

Updating from the app itself

The first step is launching the app on your Android device, by tapping on it. You then tap the Menu, which s on the top left of the screen, before selecting “Offline Maps”.

From there you tap on the expired or soon-to-expire area on the list, followed by tapping “Update”.

The offline area will then update.

Renaming areas on the Maps

It is quite common for a certain area to undergo name change. Luckily, you can update this change as well on your downloaded map.

First step is launching the Google Maps app on your device. You then tap on the Menu icon, followed by offline maps. Select your area of interest and on the top right, tap “Edit”.

Finally, enter the new name and tap “Save” to finalize the process.

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Downside to offline maps

The first issue is that when offline, this feature only provides driving directions. This means that you cannot rely on it if you are walking or cycling.

The other disadvantage is that it does not provide traffic information. You would drive right into trouble. Apart from traffic, it does not guide you if you when it comes to lanes nor does it provide you with alternative routes.

Finally, it does not allow you to change routes. So if there is an expensive toll station ahead, you cannot escape it.

In Conclusion

It is impossible to imagine life without Google Maps. You will basically have the whole region in your pocket. Even better is that you no longer have to ask people around for directions, which would have made you prone to tricksters and conmen.

Always ensure that your maps are updated so that any recent changes would be included in your maps.

Last but not least, use your eyes and brain. Just because the map says that a certain structure is supposed to be in front of you does not necessarily mean it is true. They are prone to errors too!

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