How to use Google Maps Offline (No 3G or WiFi)

After the release of iOS 6 and the disaster of Apple Maps a few months ago, Google Maps is looking better than ever. Not even Nokia or Waze are able to compete with the whole experience of Google Maps, at least on the integration side. However, I’m sure you’ve been into that awkward situation where you need your Maps to be available in a hurry just to notice that there’s no 3G or WiFi available around and you can’t use Google Maps Offline.

Until now, Google Maps didn’t work offline. Not because of the 3G, but because it wouldn’t load the map, and so you’d see a blue point in the middle of nowhere unless you pre-loaded your map or route before losing your internet connection.

There was a work around in the Labs area where you could pre-cache up to 10 areas but it didn’t work as well as it does now. Here’s how to enable Google Maps Offline so that you can know where you are any time as long as the GPS is working on your Tablet or Smartphone.

Step 1: Open Google Maps and go to the menu

Simple as that. Open your Google Maps Application and go to the menu either pressing the menu button on your device or touching the upper right corner on a tablet. From there, you’ll see a new option called “Make available offline”. Press it.

google maps offline settings

Open your Google Maps application and go to your settings

Step 2: Select the area

The map will show you a square so that you can define an area to download on your tablet. You can pinch to zoom in and out and depending on the area, the download file will be bigger. Make sure to download a bigger area than the one you’re visiting. Who knows when you might need it?

google maps offline selection

Select the area you want to download to be available offline

Step 3: Download the Map

Once you’ve selected the area you want to download, press the “done” button above and the map will start downloading automatically.In the following picture, I’m showing you that downloading the whole San Francisco area doesn’t need more than 2MB. I could even download it on my 3G plan without problems. Once it’s been downloaded, it will be available on your Offline Maps folder, and you’ll be able to open it anytime you want.

google maps offline download

Google Maps will download the selected area to your Android device

That’s it! Now you’ll be able to navigate and see your location without a data plan as long as your GPS is enabled on a Phone or a Tablet. This feature is particularly especial for tablets because many people buy the Wi-Fi version only. Enjoy your new Maps and drive safe!

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