This Amazing Hack Lets You Use Google Maps When You Don’t Have Service

The tech gods are smiling down upon us directionally-challenged folk, because Tech Insider released a video that shows you how to use Google Maps without service or when you’re offline. It’s super easy, but it looks like you do need the Google Maps app.

How To Save The Map

  • First, you have to plan ahead of time and know how to use a map. There actually isn’t a way to load a new route while you don’t have service. So, take all these steps before you go somewhere and know that you might not have service but you’ll need a map of the area.
  • When you know where you’ll need to be later, open the Google Maps app on your phone.
  • Then, search for the location.
  • Tap the destination once it pops up, and then click the three dots in the right-hand corner that label the menu.
  • The largest area that you can save is 30 miles by 30 miles, or 50 kilometers by 50 kilometers, according to Tech Insider’s video.
  • If your area is too large, zoom in on the area you will need and click “Save this map.”
  • Next, you can name the offline map. Once the map is saved, you can use it offline.

How To Access Your Saved Map Offline

  • Open your saved map by clicking on the menu bar on the left side of the search bar when Google Maps is open.
  • When the menu comes down, click “Your Places” and it will show you a list of your saved, offline maps.
  • Open your saved map, and zoom in to see the map’s details, like local restaurants, shops, or public transportation stops.
  • If you need to edit, rename or delete your offline maps, then go to “View All and Manage” under “Your Places.”
  • From there you can rename, edit and delete. But, it’s worth noting that you can only update a map while you’re online.

The Tech Insider tutorial doesn’t tell you how to save specific driving directions or public transit routes within Google Maps.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to save those kind of detailed instructions offline with the Google Maps app. But you can pull up the directions on the app while you have service and screenshot them so that you have the images for later.

If you have an Android, you can save routes in “My Maps,” but you won’t be able to access turn-by-turn navigation.

Or, if you have an iPhone, you can save a PDF of directions through the iOS Maps application.

If you’re in an area where walking is the predominant form of transportation, though, the street maps that Google Maps lets you save should be enough to help you get around when you’re offline. If you’re visiting a new country or city, then you won’t have to worry about losing or being confused by a big paper map.

Photo by Johan Larsson