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How to use Google Maps offline - download maps for travel abroad

No data access or free wi-fi? Cache Google Maps before heading out

Google Maps download offline trick tip

Google Maps is a great app on iOS and Android, but is next to useless when you can’t get online or have no data connection. This is especially true when you’re abroad on holiday or business and desperately need access to Maps but are scared to run up huge data roaming charges. So how can you use Google Maps without a connection (that is, offline)? See also: Taking the iPhone abroad - avoid data roaming charges.

Since its recent update Google Maps for iOS now lets you cache local maps offline, and it’s super simple. It’s a feature that’s been available on Android devices for some time, but now it’s an apparently secret new feature in the iPhone and iPad versions of Google Maps.

Using Google Maps offline

Make sure you update to the very latest version of the app via the App Store for iOS or Google Play for Android.

You will need to be online at the beginning. When you’re out on the street it’s difficult to find free wi-fi so this part is best done back at the hotel or office where you can grab some free or cheap wi-fi time. Be prepared, as the scouts say, as downloading data on the go can be expensive overseas.

First find the area you want map access to when out and about.

Then all you need do is type in the phrase “ok maps” into the search bar, and search.

Google Maps will then download all the map data that’s currently on your iOS or Android screen.

You might receive an error message stating that the area couldn't be cached because it's too large – try zooming in to a smaller area.

Google Maps offline cache how to

You can clear the cached databy tapping on Settings > About, Terms & Privacy > Terms & Privacy > Clear application data.

This new feature on Google Maps for iOS isn’t perfect – it is limited in how much of a map it will download and not available in all territories (“Map pre-loading is not available in this area”).

Also worth downloading are offline map apps such as City Maps 2Go (£1.99), which offers interactive offline map downloads and unlimited Wikipedia travel guide downloads for the whole world. No additional in-app purchase required.

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