How to use offline mode in Google Maps with your iPhone or iPad

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2017
One of the continuing advantages of Google Maps over Apple's native iOS Maps app is better support for going offline -- something particularly important when going on vacation, traveling through rural areas, or otherwise passing through regions with weak internet access. Here's how to take advantage of those offline functions on your iPhone or iPad.




After loading the app and making sure you're signed into your Google account, the first step is to search for a location -- this can be a business, city, state/province, or even an entire country. The limit for a single offline area is 120,000 square kilometers (46,332 square miles), bigger than nations like the Netherlands.

Just remember that each offline area can consume hundreds of megabytes on a device, or even gigabytes, so people with 16- or 32-gigabyte hardware may want to avoid going berserk.

Tapping on a place's name will typically present an obvious "Download" button, though if you search for a business or landmark, you may have to tap the "More" (triple-dot) button to find the same option. Either way, you can then pinch, zoom, and pan to customize the area you plan to save before committing.




For the most part, that's it. Google Maps will then automatically switch to offline mode if an internet connection is slow or absent, with searchable points of interest and even turn-by-turn navigation so long as the host device has GPS.

There are some further limts to going offline. You can't, for example, take advantage of multiple route suggestions -- Maps will simply suggest the best one under ideal traffic conditions. Some rare areas can't be downloaded (for contractual, language, or other reasons), and saved ones must be updated every 30 days, though Google Maps will try to update them automatically when there's less than 15 days left and a device is connected to Wi-Fi.




To manage existing offline areas, tap the triple-line Menu button in the Maps search bar. Then tap Offline Areas, followed by whichever item you'd like to update or delete. You can change a map's name by hitting the Edit button in the top right.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 9
    Awesome. Thank you for the thoughtful tip. This will certainly come in handy for road trips deep into the countryside. 
  • Reply 2 of 9
    A good feature when it's really needed for off-the-grid travel.
  • Reply 3 of 9
    sflagelsflagel Posts: 580member
    Thank you. You have no idea how helpful this is in the UK where there is virtually no 3G coverage outside a few metropolitan areas. (4G you ask? Hahahahaha).
  • Reply 4 of 9
    clexmanclexman Posts: 148member
    Awesome to see this type of post on Apple Insider!
  • Reply 5 of 9
    awhawh Posts: 9member
    Still no support in CarPlay for any alternative navigation or map apps - it's Apple Maps or the highway. Surely Apple is stifling necessary competition deliberately here, and antitrust authorities should investigate? Don't get me wrong - I love CarPlay, but I really miss driving with my expensive, offline navigation app (Navigon), which beats Maps hands down for navigation (and doesn't devour my entire month's mobile internet allowance).
  • Reply 6 of 9
    nhtnht Posts: 4,393member
    awh said:
    Still no support in CarPlay for any alternative navigation or map apps - it's Apple Maps or the highway. Surely Apple is stifling necessary competition deliberately here, and antitrust authorities should investigate? Don't get me wrong - I love CarPlay, but I really miss driving with my expensive, offline navigation app (Navigon), which beats Maps hands down for navigation (and doesn't devour my entire month's mobile internet allowance).
    It's not monopolistic and no investigation required genius.  The mapping program is tightly integrated and any 3rd party mapping app would need to adhere to the same API interface that Apple Maps provides. 

    Android auto doesn't support 3rd party maps either.

    Please troll elsewhere.
  • Reply 7 of 9
    awhawh Posts: 9member
    Sorry - didn't mean to sound like a troll. I thought I had a genuine grievance here - I really would prefer to navigate using offline maps that I've paid for via my car's screen. Activating CarPlay on my car wasn't cheap, but after using it I found that Maps, while useful, isn't as good as the 3rd party solutions. I wrote to Navigon's developers to ask why it wouldn't work with CarPlay, and they said Apple wouldn't allow it. I've also tried to contact Apple, but it's like a black hole - you send messages in, but nothing comes out. So I started to investigate the anticompetitive route out of frustration, only to find that registering a complaint with the EU is a kafka-esque nightmare in itself. I just don't understand why "any 3rd party mapping app would need to adhere to the same API interface that Apple Maps provides" - what does that mean in this context? Why? Surely all they need to do is display navigation info on the car's screen and accept commands through Siri, like both Google Maps and Navigon (and others) do on the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch. It's just another format, and the developers are demonstrably capable of coping with that. Apple does allow other 3rd party apps on CarPlay, such as TuneIn Radio, so why not maps? And there's no need to be so aggressive - why not try to help make things better?
  • Reply 8 of 9
    Pity Google haven't added the ability to do this in the Google Trips app (which lets you download travel guides like "Things To Do", Day plans etc.).
  • Reply 9 of 9
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,012member
    isilver said:
    Pity Google haven't added the ability to do this in the Google Trips app (which lets you download travel guides like "Things To Do", Day plans etc.).
    I'd never heard of Google Trips. I don't know that I'd ever use it myself but according to their info page it is available off-line.

    All your travel info in one place

    Now you can find travel details like reservations and confirmation numbers in one easy app. Google Trips simply gathers your travel information from Gmail and Inbox, then organizes it automatically. Plus, the entire app is available offline, so you can see your info wherever you are.

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