At Google I/O earlier this year, additional improvements were shown for Google Maps, specifically focusing on additional offline capabilities. Six months later, the new features are finally rolling out on Android devices.
In the past, you could look at only a portion of the map without an online connection. Now, you can download large areas for offline use. An outlined square appears on the screen, and any portion of the map inside can be downloaded. Even in Offline Mode, you can still receive turn-by-turn directions, search for a destination, and find out more information about location such as ratings, contact information, and operating hours.
Obviously, downloading offline data for a large city as opposed to a few blocks can take up a significant amount of storage on your mobile device. By default, offline maps can only be downloaded through a Wi-Fi connection to reduce usage fees. The offline maps also automatically kick in when you move to an area where an online connection is spotty or nonexistent. When you return to an area with a strong connection, the app returns to its online state.
For now, the features will begin to appear on Android devices. The iOS version will also get the update at some point in the future, but Google hasn't specified an exact date.
Rexly Peñaflorida II is a Contributor at Tom’s Hardware. He writes news on tech and hardware, but mostly focuses on gaming news. As a Chicagoan, he believes that deep dish pizza is real pizza and ketchup should never be on hot dogs. Ever. Also, Portillo’s is amazing.
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I find it funny that Google needed this many years to realize that people might not want to waste a fair chunk of their data plan to use their apps while away from WiFi for stuff they could easily have downloaded in advance for offline access.
Just make sure you aren't trying to save a larger area than Maps allows, otherwise all you get is a "map too large" message.