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Google Maps offline: how it works

This is the situation. You’re about to take a trip abroad and want to have maps of the city or country you’re about to visit at your fingertips, without having to pay to add additional gigabytes of roaming data to your current data plan. The simplest solution is to rely on Google Maps offline.

This is possible by downloading maps of the area to visit directly on the internal memory of the smartphone or tablet that you will take with you. This way, they will be ready for use too in the absence of an Internet connection. The advice is to do it before leaving by connecting to a Wi-Fi network so as not to consume all the data available.

You should know, however, that with Google Maps offline, you will have access to driving directions only for car journeys, and not for those on foot, by bike or by public transport. Furthermore, you will not receive traffic information in real time, suggestions for alternative routes or indications on the lanes to follow.

That said, here are all the instructions on how to use Google Maps offline.

  • 1. Google Maps offline: download maps on Android

    If you have an Android smartphone, first things first launch the app (which is present by default on these devices) and log in to your Google account, if requested. Press the search bar at the top e type the name of the place of which you intend to download the map. Now select the correct suggestion from the list that appears. Once done, the reference map will appear on the screen.

    All you have to do is swipe up to view the seat card and press onicon with three vertical dots top right. Then tap on the “Download offline map”. In the screen that opens, frame the area to download by moving the rectangle with the blue border, which encloses the portion that Google Maps will download later. Just below, the space needed to store the data will be indicated.

    To change the area of ​​interest, just tap and hold on the square and drag the map with your finger until you reach the desired position. To increase or decrease the area to include in the offline map, pinch the screen by the edges to the center or vice versa. Once this operation is completed, select the blue button “Download” at the bottom right to start downloading the map on the device that the app will use to navigate to the indicated place.

    Please note that currently, it is not possible to zoom out beyond a certain limit, include multiple continents, or include the entire planet. The maximum dimensions are about 300 kilometers per side of the selection polygon. However, there is no limit to the number of “squares” you can select, so you can cover an entire nation by repeating the procedure for as many times as necessary and obviously, as long as you have it enough storage space available.

    Another important thing is to make sure that offline maps are always updated. To do so, press on the profile icon at the top right and in the “Mappe offline“, tap the gear icon and verify that the “Automatic offline map update” is active.

    To save cellular connection data, under “Download preferences“the option must appear”Only via Wi-Fi”. Again, to block the automatic download of maps that may not be needed, move the switch to OFF next to “Automatic download of recommended maps“.

    Alternatively, you can manually update a map: in the “Mappe offline“, press on the icon with the three vertical dots next to the map and tap on the item “Update” from the menu that appears. From this, you can also decide whether view, rename or delete the map from the device memory.

  • 2. How Google Maps download works on iPhone/iPad

    If you have an iPhone or iPad and are wondering how to use Google Maps offline, it will be comforting to know that the same procedure as for Android applies, but there is another alternative valid for both operating systems. The first thing to do is log in to the app from the Home screen or the App Library. If you have accidentally removed the app, you can download it from the App Store.

    After the Google Maps download, tap theprofile icon in the top left corner of the screen and select the “Mappe offline“. On the next screen, tap “Select your map” and indicate the area to download.

    As seen before, you have to move the rectangle on the map to limit the area to be saved. You can also pinch the screen to adjust the zoom and cover a larger area. When you are ready, press the “” buttonDownload” at the bottom of the screen to download the offline map to your Apple device storage.

    During the selection process, you will receive a space estimation that the map will occupy on the device memory. This will allow you to wisely choose the size of the area to download, based on the remaining space on your device. Like on Android, there is a limit of 300 kilometers per side of the range selection for individually downloadable maps. However, there are no restrictions on the number of “squares” to download.

    If you want the downloaded maps to update automatically when you are connected to a Wi-Fi network, go to the “Mappe offline“, tap the gear icon and make sure “Automatic download of offline maps” is set to “ON“. Also, check that below “When to download offline maps“the option is activated”Wi-Fi only“.

    If you need to manually update maps, rename them, view them or delete them, tap the three vertical dots icon next to the map you want to manage. From here, you will have access to interaction options via a convenient menu.

  • 3. Use Google Maps offline on Android

    The easiest and most reliable way to exploit Google Maps offline su Android consists of turning off all Internet connections. To disable cellular data, go to “Settings” of the device via thegear icon on the home screen or in the applications menu.

    From here, go to the “Reti e Internet” and then “Data network” (or “Mobile Networks” or “Cellular Network”) and deactivate the option that manages the data connection, usually called “Mobile data”. To deactivate Wi-Fi, tap on the “Wi-Fi” in the “Settings” menu and slide the switch to “OFF“.

    Now you can use Maps in offline mode by opening the app and following the standard procedures. Enter the destination address in the navigation bar at the top and, if the itinerary is part of the previously downloaded maps, you can view the route using only the GPS module of the device. If you leave the area covered by the downloaded offline maps, Maps will ask you to activate an Internet connection for download the missing part of the map.

  • 4. How to navigate with Google Maps offline on iOS/iPadOS

    The process for using Google Maps offline on iPhone and iPad is almost identical to that for Android. Therefore, you need to disable all Internet connections. You must access the “Settings” of iOS/iPadOS via thegear iconlocated on your device’s home screen or in the App Library.

    Next, select “Mobile phone” (not present on iPads that only have Wi-Fi connectivity) and move the switch corresponding to the ” optionCellular data“are”OFF“. To deactivate Wi-Fi, return to the main settings screen, tap on the “” sectionWi-Fi” and move the switch to “OFF“.

    Once this is done, you can open the Maps app and start navigating. Enter the destination address in the top search bar and, if the itinerary is included in the previously downloaded maps, you can start offline navigation. In the event that the itinerary passes through areas not covered by the downloaded maps, you will be forced to activate an Internet connection to download the missing parts.

  • 5. Google Maps download on PC: is it possible?

    Unfortunately, Google Maps it does not allow you to download maps directly from a PC due to restrictions in its terms of use that prevent downloading via third-party applications. In case you have a Mac, you have the option to transform the map into a PDF document.

    By connecting to the main page of Google Maps and carrying out a search to identify the geographical area of ​​interest, just click on the item “File” in the menu at the top of the screen, and select the “Export as PDF”. Specify the name of the document and choose the location in which to save it by clicking on the “Salva”.


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