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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  • BMNify - Tuesday, November 10, 2015 - link

    Some of us have MicroSd cards and some buy 64GB/128GB phones too, so it is no big deal to get entire country maps on your phone, I use Here Drive and it is around 1.5 GB for India, it is few hundred MB's for most countries.
  • Wolfpup - Tuesday, November 10, 2015 - link

    Yeah, the U.S. is like 4GB which is no big deal, individual states look like they're typically 100MBish, mine's a bit over 200MB.

    I don't want to have to manually manage downloaded maps, nor rely on an unlimited and available everywhere data connection.
  • blakflag - Tuesday, November 10, 2015 - link

    Agreed, for many people Maps and Nav is the #1 most important non-talk feature of a phone. I'd gladly give up 4 gigs of space to never have a data problem when I need to see where I am RIGHT NOW.
  • Penti - Wednesday, November 11, 2015 - link

    It's not like I would want half of Sweden, half of Denmark and half of Germany. If I were to take a trip through a few European countries I would like to load the maps for offline use, a fairly complete version that can be used for navigation. This from Google kinda does it, but it needs to be managed okay. I wouldn't just load all the countries or whole continents and no I wouldn't really be buying SIM's with data in every country I pass. If they could approach how Here has been able to do it it would be ok and I wouldn't need to buy awkward navigation software from the likes of TomTom, Garmin/Navigon and the others or rely on OSM. A few gigabytes is usually enough for like Europe or western Europe.
  • Penti - Wednesday, November 11, 2015 - link

    Be able to just store the maps on MicroSD also takes care of the storage concerns for me.
  • Murloc - Wednesday, November 11, 2015 - link

    do you really need to download the whole of the US?
    Single states don't take up much space.

    Needing such a huge area is a niche thing that can be accomodated with an sd card.
  • xthetenth - Tuesday, November 10, 2015 - link

    First sentence, online viewing should likely be offline viewing.
  • merikafyeah - Thursday, November 12, 2015 - link

    Somewhere Garmin, TomTom, Magellan, et al, are wondering what took them so long.
  • jkostans - Friday, November 13, 2015 - link

    You've always been able to save small areas. Just type "ok maps" Into the search bar. Google loves to remove features that people find useful only to reintroduce them years later as new features.
  • transphasic - Friday, November 13, 2015 - link

    There are Map Apps that you can download/buy which do not need either a WiFi nor Cell phone connection in order to use them.
    I use Sygic all the time on my Smartphone on the road without using a Cell Phone & Data Plan connection, as it connects to orbiting Satellites and displays where I am at while traveling, and does so for free.
    It does cost $$$ to buy Sygic, and you have to download State Maps, but that information is stored on your smartphone, and it doesn't vanish into thin air like Google Maps does when not using them in the past.

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