Before finalizing any travel plans, we usually check the travel time & distance, and if it is a road trip, directions along with the traffic situation. While there are a plethora of GPS and navigation applications available on both Android and iOS, Google Maps reigns supreme and is the first choice for checking all the aforementioned details. Most navigation applications, including Google Maps, require a steady internet connection for their operation. This requirement can be worrisome if you are travelling to a remote location with no/poor cellular reception or have mobile data bandwidth limits. Your only option if the internet goes off midway would be to keep asking strangers on the road or fellow drivers for directions until you find the one who actually knows them.
Fortunately, Google Maps has a feature that allows users to save an offline map of an area on their phone. This feature comes in extremely handy when visiting a new city and navigating through it. Along with driving routes, the offline maps will also display walking, cycling, and public transport options. The only drawback of offline maps is that you won’t be able to check the traffic details and therefore, estimate the travel time. A neat workaround in Google-owned Waze maps can also be used to navigate without an active internet connection. There are several other applications with offline maps functionality or similar workarounds available on Android and iOS platforms.
How to use Waze & Google Maps Offline to Save Internet Data
In this article, we will show you how to save maps for offline use in Google Maps & Waze applications and provide you with a list of alternative navigation/GPS applications made for offline use.
1. How to Save a Map Offline in Google Maps
You will not require an internet connection to view or use offline maps in Google Maps, but you most certainly will need it to download them. So save offline maps at your home or hotel itself before setting out on the wanderlust journey. Also, these offline maps can be moved to an external SD card to free up the phone’s internal storage.
1. Launch the Google Maps application and sign in if prompted. Tap on the top search bar and enter the location you are gonna be travelling to. Instead of searching for an exact destination, you can also enter the city name or the area’s pin code as the map we are going to save offline will cover an approximate distance of 30 miles x 30 miles.
2. Google Maps drops a red pin marking the destination or highlights the city name and slides in an information card at the bottom of the screen.
3. Tap on the info card or pull it up to obtain more information. Google Maps provides an overview of your destination (with options to call the place (if they have a registered contact number), directions, save or share the place, website), public reviews and photos, etc.
4. Tap on the three vertical dots at the top right corner and select Download offline map.
5. On the “Download a map of this area?” screen, adjust the highlighted rectangle carefully. You can drag the rectangular area in any of the four directions and even pinch in or out to select a larger or more concise area, respectively.
6. Once you are happy with the selection, read the text below indicating the amount of free storage required to save an offline map of the selected area and cross-check if the same amount of space is available.
7. Click on Download to save an offline map. Pull down the notification bar to check the download progress. Depending on the size of the selected area and your internet speed, the map may take a couple of minutes to finish downloading.
8. Now turn off your internet connection and access the offline map. Click on your profile icon displayed at the top-right corner and select Offline maps.
9. Tap on an offline map to open and use it. You can also rename offline maps if you wish. To rename or update a map, click on the three vertical dots and select the desired option.
10. It would help if you also considered enabling auto-update offline maps by clicking on the cogwheel icon at the top right and then toggling the switch on.
You can save up to 20 maps offline in Google Maps, and each one will stay saved for 30 days after which it will be deleted automatically (unless updated). Do not worry as you will receive a notification before the application deletes the saved maps.
This is how you can use Google Maps without the internet, but if you face some issues, then you can always turn ON your data.
2. How to Save a Map Offline in Waze
Unlike Google Maps, Waze doesn’t have a built-in feature to save offline maps, but a workaround does exist. To those unaware, Waze is a community based and feature-rich application with over 10 million installs on Android. The application was once very popular among users and thus, snatched by Google. Similar to Google Maps, without an internet connection, you will not receive traffic updates when using Waze offline. Let’s see how to use Waze without internet:
1. Launch the application and tap on the search icon present at the bottom left.
2. Now click on the Settings gear icon (top-right corner) to access Waze application settings.
3. Under Advanced Settings, tap on Display & map.
4. Scroll down the Display & map settings and open Data Transfer. Ensure the feature to Download Traffic info is enabled. If not, check/tick the box next to it.
Note: If you do not find the options mentioned in steps 3 and 4, go to Map Display and enable Traffic under View on map.
5. Head back to the application home screen and perform a search for your destination.
6. Wait for Waze to analyze the available routes and provide you with the fastest one. The route once set will be automatically saved in the app’s cache data and can be used to view the route even without an internet connection. Although, make sure you do not exit or close the application, i.e., do not wipe away the application from recent apps/app switcher.
HERE maps also has support for offline maps and is considered by many as the best navigation application after Google Maps. A few navigation applications such as Sygic GPS Navigation & Maps and MAPS.ME have been specifically designed for offline use, but they come at a cost. Sygic, while free to download, only permits seven days of the free trial post which users will need to pay if they want to continue using the premium features. Sygic provides features like offline map navigation, voice-activated GPS with route guidance, dynamic lane assistance, and even the option to project the route on your car’s windshield. MAPS.ME supports offline search and GPS navigation, among other things but displays ads every now and then. Mapfactor is another application available on Android devices that allows downloading offline maps while also providing useful information such as speed limits, speed camera locations, points of interest, live odometer, etc.
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We hope that this article was helpful, and you were able to use Waze & Google Maps Offline in order to save your internet data. Let us know if you have any queries or if we missed any other promising application with offline map support and your favourite one in the comments section below.
I don’t see an option to download maps in Waze in the US. Step 3 it says “Map Display” no “Display & Map” and if you click on Display & Map the next page there is no Data Transfer. I’m in the US and the current release is 22.214.171.124.