Skip to main content

Don’t worry, offline maps are still in Google Maps for Android (Updated)

Google Maps offline
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Google added an offline viewing mode to its Android Maps app around this time last year, and the addition proved to be a popular one. To activate the feature, all you needed to do was select the offline option from the pull-up menu, define the area, and watch it download. It was very easy, and made traveling with your Android phone a convenient (and cheap) experience.

Now, Google has decided to remove the familiar offline mapping feature from its newly released version of the app, but don’t despair, it hasn’t disappeared entirely. Google has just confused everyone by changed the way it operates.

Here’s how you save maps for offline viewing in version 7 of Google Maps:

  1. Open Maps: Open the Maps app, and go to the area you’d like to save for offline use.
  2. Type OK Maps: Tap the search bar at the top of the screen and type, “OK maps.” If typing is a little low-tech, then if you tap the microphone, you can tell it, “OK maps,” instead.
  3. Let the download begin: After tapping the search key, Maps will start downloading your selected location, and you’ll see an on-screen message saying it has cached the chosen area once it’s done. It seems you can drag the screen around, and zoom in and out to ensure Maps will continue caching until you get tired of it, or the phone runs out of storage space.
  4. Info stored in a new area: Another key difference is the way Maps stores the cached information. Instead of appearing under the My Places menu, you just scroll back to the area and the information will be ready and waiting.

So, it’s not all bad news. Offline maps are still a part of Google Maps – they’re just a hidden feature. It’s not the only thing Google has removed either. The latest version says goodbye to Latitude check-ins, and the My Maps feature; however, My Maps will be back in the future. Should you feel these are an essential part of Google Maps, then we’d suggest turning off the auto-update and bypassing version 7. Also, if your Android phone doesn’t run Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich or later, then don’t worry, the app isn’t compatible with earlier versions of the OS, so no update will be forthcoming.

If you’ve discovered anything else about the way the offline caching feature works in Google Maps, feel free to share it with us in the comments.

Updated on 07/11/2013 at 10:00am by Andy: Google has performed a quick about turn regarding the offline mapping feature in Maps, and has added a “Make this map area available offline” option to its search card. The OK Maps option still works too, if for some reason you preferred that method.

Google Maps OfflineArticle originally published on 07/10/2013.

Editors' Recommendations

Andy Boxall
Senior Mobile Writer
Andy is a Senior Writer at Digital Trends, where he concentrates on mobile technology, a subject he has written about for…
No, you really don’t need Google Assistant on your smartwatch
Google Assistant listening on the Google Pixel Watch.

The Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 5 doesn’t have Google Assistant built-in, and you can’t separately download and install the app from the Google Play Store. It’s the latest in a line of Android smartwatches that don’t have Assistant onboard, following on from the Montblanc Summit 3 and most modern Fossil smartwatches, but it’s still a standard feature on Google’s own Pixel Watch.

Is Google holding Assistant back for its own devices? Maybe, but I’m not going to worry about it, and I definitely don’t think you should pick the Pixel Watch over the TicWatch Pro 5 due to it. Why? The Assistant on a smartwatch isn’t the selling point Google seems to think it is.
Is it needed on a smartwatch?

Read more
I have to stop using the Pixel 7a — but I don’t want to
The Google Pixel 7a face down on a table.

I think the Google Pixel 7a is all the phone I need. I’m not saying it’s the only phone I’ll ever use, seeing how my job and interest in mobile tech don’t work that way. But the Pixel 7a is so excellent that if I was a free spirit, I’d buy it, settle down, and not worry about any other phones for a couple of years.

My admiration for the Pixel 7a goes beyond it just ticking a few basic requirement boxes and extends to the device’s overall ability and the ease with which it has fitted into my life. I genuinely think it’s a better purchase than the Pixel 7 and the Pixel 7 Pro, and if I didn’t have to swap my SIM card to another phone this past weekend, I’d still be using the Pixel 7a today.
The software makes my life easy

Read more
Don’t buy the Pixel Tablet; get this cheaper Android tablet instead
OnePlus Pad with official Stylo pencil stylus on a wooden table.

The market for Android tablets appears to be sinking, but the likes of the Pixel Tablet may have some role in salvaging it. The Pixel Tablet, launched last week -- exactly a year after it was first unveiled -- marks Google's reentry into the tablet segment after almost a decade.

While this development may help bring more manufacturers onto the scene, Google itself feels shy about making big claims about performance and productivity. Instead, the Pixel Tablet is projected as a mere hybrid upgrade to the Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max.

Read more