How to Download Google Maps Data for Offline Navigation on Android or iPhone

As much as cellular providers want to brag about their coverage maps, we have to be real with each other: 100% coverage simply doesn’t exist. And if you’re travelling inan area where coverage could drop, having your maps saved for offline use is a godsend. Here’s how to do it.

In the past, getting Google Maps to save offline data was a bit of chore. In one of the more recent iterations of the app, however, Google changed this to make it much more straightforward and useful. If you’re on an Android phone, you should already have Maps installed—on iOS, however, you’ll need to grab it from the App Store. The process of downloading offline areas is basically the same between the two versions, but I will note differences as they pop up.

Once you have Maps ready to go, fire it up. Tap on the menu button in the top left corner (or just slide in from left to right).

A little ways down this menu, you’ll see an option for Offline Maps. Tap that.

On Android, you’ll have one option: “Select Your Own Map.” On iOS, however, you’ll get two options: “Local” and “Custom Area.” For all intents and purposes, the latter option is the same as Android’s “Select Your Own Map” choice.

 

The “Local” option does exactly what it sounds like: downloads your local area, with no way to modify the area. Use this if you’re just looking for a simple offline map of where you currently are.

If you want to customize your map, however, use the “Custom Area” option on iOS and “Select Your Own Map” on Android. From that point, these two are basically one in the same.

 

Maps will automatically select a small area for you, but you can pinch and zoom to save as big of an area as you want. it will make note of how much space the area will take up, so keep that in mind too. When you’ve settled in on an acceptable area, tap the download button. if you’re not on Wi-Fi, you’ll have to approve the download over mobile network.

Once you’ve downloaded the data, it will stay available offline for 30 days. At that point it should auto-update.

At any point in between, however, you can either delete or modify that data if you want to. Jump back into the Offline Maps menu and tap on the downloaded option you’d like to modify.

From there, you can either delete or manually update the data.

Cameron Summerson is a die-hard Android fan, Chicago Bulls fanatic, metalhead, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at HTG, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, spinning legs on the bike, chugging away on the 6-string, or being disappointed in the Bulls.