Earlier this year at Google I/O it was announced that Google Maps for Android and iOS would be receiving an update that would add the ability to save maps for offline viewing. Interestingly enough, this feature has actually existed and been removed from Google Maps on more than one occasion, and so such a prominent announcement gave some hope that it would stick around for good this time. Today the update is finally rolling out to Maps users on Android.

The feature works in a fairly straightforward manner. When searching a location in maps there will now be a download button in the information page about that location. You can then scroll around to fit the parts of the map you need into the box shown on screen, and when you name and save it the maps for that area will be permanently stored on your device. The applications for this feature are fairly obvious, such as storing maps of areas where you won't have a cell signal, or of places you'll be travelling to in other countries where your phone won't work.

The new version of Google Maps with offline maps is rolling out now on Android, and an updated version for iOS will be coming in the near future.

Source: Official Google Blog

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  • Daniel Egger - Tuesday, November 10, 2015 - link

    Try MAPS.ME; doesn't require registration and uses the exquisit OpenStreetMaps cards which are available for countries where HERE has bupkes...
  • Wolfpup - Tuesday, November 10, 2015 - link

    Yeah, that's one of the things I love about Windows Phone. The idea of needing to rely on data for GPS is nuts, as is having to remember to manually save out some specific part. Windows Phone (and now Windows 10 too) you just pick whatever part of the word you want. In the U.S. you can download the whole country, or go state by state.
  • Arnulf - Wednesday, November 11, 2015 - link

    Nah, for some inexplicable reason Here Maps requires access to Contacts list, Identity, Call information etc. to display maps. I mean WTF?! Display the darn maps, don't sift through my private information that is of no business to you.

    (not that recent versions of Google Maps spyware are any better, I didn't bother upgrading once they incorporated all the spying stuff in there)
  • BrokenCrayons - Tuesday, November 17, 2015 - link

    Whether or not you use Google Maps isn't really relevant. If your phone is turned on and able to send data, Google will collect and maintain a record of where you go and what you do either through coarse cellular triangulation or fine GPS measurements because many other apps and the OS itself support that sort of window into your activities. They only need to collect that information in order to properly target advertisements at you so they can pay for the costs of on-going business expenses. Yes, you're the product in the case of anything Google offers (Gmail, Android, Chrome OS, Chrome browser, etc) and it's important that Google can link all those individual parts up to identify you as a person regardless of what device you use or where you're at in the world. Microsoft is working hard to get to the same point too by expanding telemetry in newer operating systems. I think both companies and Apple are too high-profile to mishandle your data so while they know who you call, what you say to other people in private communications, they'd suffer quite a bit of negative backlash for at least a day or two while various media outlets reported on it and they made a few superficial changes to placate the general public until they happily get back to accepting the "free" Google candy in the form of the next shiny new device with meaninglessly higher number specifications.
  • anishannayya - Thursday, November 19, 2015 - link

    Actually, all that is modifiable in the settings. While it would be nice to make them opt-in "features", let get real here, Google needs to make money somehow.
  • anishannayya - Thursday, November 19, 2015 - link

    I think that's because you can do things like search and drive directly to a contact's place. If you are using Google for contacts syncing, email, calendar, etc. they already have that info...
  • jabber - Wednesday, November 11, 2015 - link

    Yeah Here maps is excellent. Used it across the UK and Canada and its only once taken me slightly wrong (roads change) in the 18 months or so I've been using it. Recommended it to many friends and family and the net result has been many TomToms have been abandoned or sold on Ebay.

    As for Google Maps? Nah never got on with that. Just never seems finished.
  • jtd871 - Tuesday, November 10, 2015 - link

    Try CoPilot
  • Murloc - Wednesday, November 11, 2015 - link

    not free
  • JeffFlanagan - Tuesday, November 10, 2015 - link

    If you download maps for a whole country, and it's not a tiny country, you're using a lot of space on your device to support maps in places you'll never go.

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