I’m going to let you into a little secret which may
shock you. Not everywhere in the world has Internet coverage. I know, shocking
right? Sometimes when you are out in the armpit of beyond, admiring the sheep
and the cows, you look at your phone and realise with shock that your mobile
phone provider’s Internet doesn’t stretch that far.
This is why, when you are going on a journey, you need
to be prepared just like the Boy Scouts. For example, if you need a map then
you need to download it to your phone beforehand when you are still in Internet
With Google Maps, that process is very easy. Here is how to do it on an iPhone but the Android method is more or less the same. As far as I can see, you can’t do it on the desktop.
Download Your Google Maps For Offline Access
After logging into Google Maps, search for your
destination. For this article, I just entered “Berlin”.
Now tap the hamburger icon on the left-hand side.
This slides open a menu. What you are looking for is
“Offline Maps”. Tap on that.
This area gives you all of your saved offline maps. To
make a new one, click “Custom Map”.
A square will now appear over the area you just
searched for. Move the square around to get the area you want to download. But
depending on how large the area is, you may have to download more than one map.
Google Maps will show you how much space you have on
your phone, and how much space the map will take up when downloaded. When you
have the area you want, click “Download” at the bottom.
Choose whether you want to be notified when the
download is finished. If you are on a tight timetable to get out of the door on
your trip, you may want to switch this on.
You will now see your download starting. You can stop
the process at any time by clicking “Delete”. You can also name your map by
clicking the pencil icon next to the title at the top.
Assuming you have a decent Internet connection, the
map downloads are quite fast. However, you need to keep the Maps app open to
make it go as fast as possible.
If you close the Maps app, while it is downloading
your map, you will see this.
When the map has finished downloading, you will now
see it listed in your “Offline maps” section.
As you can see, the map doesn’t stick around forever.
It has an expiry date of one year. But when you tap on the map you just made,
you will see an “update” button. So if you are going to the same destination
every year, you can update the map and reset the expiry date to another year.
On the other hand, if you decide you are not going
there anymore, you can delete the map early by hitting the “Delete” button.
To use the map when you go offline, just open Google
Maps and use it as you normally would. However, because you won’t have the
Internet at that moment, the only part of the Maps app that will work will be
the part you previously downloaded.