Trying to figure out how (or even why) to download Google maps offline? You’re in the right place – read on for details!
We’ve been using downloaded maps from Google for years now – it’s something that takes just a minute or two and has been so helpful as we’ve traveled through places in the United States like Arches National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, or the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Georgia (to name just a few!), or international destinations like Morocco, Vietnam, Colombia, Costa Rica, and more!
In this guide, we go over exactly how to download offline maps from Google, and everything you need to know about it.
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Why Should You Download Offline Google Maps?
Downloading maps for use offline let’s you see and access maps AND use navigation (including having the navigation lady talk to you and tell you where to turn), even if you have zero data or cell service. This is especially helpful when traveling in remote areas or internationally, where you will have little to no data.
When Should You Download Offline Maps?
I download offline maps anytime we go hiking or are going into a wilderness or backcountry area – spots that generally don’t have good cell service. National Parks and State Parks are also common places without good cell reception.
We also always download offline maps when we visit foreign countries, as the data coverage is generally not great with our normal US cell service.
Now, lately we have been buying an e-sim card to use when we visit foreign countries. This allows me to get fast, cheap, and easy high speed data, without having to go somewhere and buy a local SIM card when we arrive.
However! Even with an e-sim (or another method of getting data internationally), I still like to have offline maps downloaded. First, because it saves data to use offline maps, and second, you never know when/if you’ll lose data coverage overseas.
Unsurprisingly, other countries also tend to have their best coverage around major cities, and it can fall off quickly if you are visiting smaller towns or driving through the countryside.
How to Download Google Maps for Offline Use
Downloading offline maps is extremely easy and only takes a few minutes! Here is how to do it:
Open up Googe Maps, and click on your picture in the upper right hand corner:
Next, select “Offline Maps” from the list of options:
This screen will pop up and will include a list of all the maps you’ve already downloaded offline. Click on “Select Your Own Map.”
This map and rectangle will then pop up. The rectangle is the area of the map that will be downloaded. You can move the rectangle to cover whatever area you like, and zoom in or out to fit your needs. There is a maximum size that can be downloaded at once, though, so if you need a larger area than what the rectangle will cover, you’ll need to download a second map.
Note: You can see that the maps are definitely biased toward a North/South orientation. If you need a map that is more East/West, simply rotate your phone. This will actually be an even skinnier rectangle, but sometimes that’s the shape you need.
Wait for the map to download. If your phone is on “Power save” mode, the map download will freeze if your screen turns off. I recommend turning that mode off to avoid this problem.
Finally, you can click the 3 dots on the right hand side to rename the map to your liking.
Ready to Use the Map?
So, now you’ve got your map downloaded and you’re heading out to go. What do you need to do now?
The answer is, absolutely nothing!
Your offline map will automatically work when you get in the downloaded area when you have no cell service – you do not need to do anything else to “activate” it or select it for use when the time comes.
Downloading Google Maps Offline – The Wrap Up
Downloading offline Google maps is an incredibly useful tool for traveling and hiking/adventuring in remote or foreign destinations. The big bonus is that it’s so simple and free to use!