How to cache maps for offline use in Google Maps 2.0 for iOS

How to cache maps for offline use in Google Maps 2.0 for iOS

If you use Google Maps for directions on your iPhone or iPad, you've undoubtedly ran into a spotty service area and had issues retrieving directions. Caching maps for offline use before hand can prevent something like this from happening.

While Google doesn't make caching maps for offline use a very obvious option, it is there and we can show you how to use it.

  1. Launch the Google Maps app from the Home screen of your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Find the area of the map that you'd like to cache for offline use either by pinching to zoom in and out or entering an address and making sure the screen is zoomed out enough to capture the area you'd like to save.
  3. Now in the Search bar type in Ok Maps and hit Search.
  4. You'll see a screen with the Google icon showing that it's processing the area for offline caching. If you receive an error message that the area couldn't be cached because it's too large, try zooming in to a smaller area.
  5. You'll now see a message at the bottom screen confirming that the area you've selected has been cached for offline use.

That's all there is to it. This is a great trick for iPad users who only have WiFi but still want to use Google Maps for directions while traveling. Give it a try and let us know how it worked for you!

As a reader pointed out in the comments, you can also clear cached data any time. The setting is buried but it's there. Just navigate to the following:

  • Settings > About, Terms & Privacy > Terms & Privacy > Clear application data

Have something to say about this story? Share your comments below! Need help with something else? Submit your question!

Allyson Kazmucha

Senior editor for iMore. I can take apart an iPhone in less than 6 minutes. I also like coffee and Harry Potter more than anyone really should.

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Reader comments

How to cache maps for offline use in Google Maps 2.0 for iOS

23 Comments

"While Google doesn't make caching maps for offline use a very obvious option..."

Wow thanks for the tip you are right that is not very obvious, how did you find this out?

Just as important to know would be how to clear the cache, surprised that wasn't researched as part of this blog posting:

Settings/About, terms & privacy/Terms & privacy/Clear application data

Not sure why it's buried so far into Settings, but that's how to clear cached map data.

How long does it cache the map for, or how do you clear the cache? (Does it just cache that one until you cache another one?)

You can't search offline. It doesn't work like that. Each map that you save is added to a list. There is a small icon of a man next to the search field. Click on that icon and a list of your saved maps will come up.

Your saved map area includes streets and maps data. Zoom in to see a detailed view of your offline map. Certain features, like satellite, terrain, indoor maps, and 3D buildings will not be available offline. Features that require a network connection, like directions and Navigation aren’t available offline, either.

Since you cannot search an offline map, it’s easier to save several smaller maps covering the same area.
For example, if you're traveling to a big city, you can save a map for each neighborhood you're visiting. Name the map after the neighborhood, so that you can easily find it later.

The live Google Maps data are constantly updated. Your saved maps need to be updated at least once in every 30 days. If you don’t update them, they’ll expire and be removed from your saved maps list.

Question: Can I cache multiple sections of a map? Or every time I "Ok Maps" it overwrites the last cache? I want to add sections of NYC & LI together but too big for one grab. So I want to grab different sections and hopefully Google will add them together. Too much to hope for huh? lol

I must be missing something? I am on the iPad (newest version) and when the route is visible and I type in Ok maps, the screen then jumps to Oklahoma with a pin to a bookstore. What on earth am I doing wrong? Since my iPad is wifi only, I would love this feature. Usually I just turn on my hotspot on my phone but I love the idea of not having to use data for short but often complex directions!

I would like it if Google Maps made it possible for you to cache the "entire" United States so you can navigate offline without the need for a cell phone connection, specifically for the ipad.

I need this to for Australia an nz. OK maps doesn't download enough. not even close. imagine zooming in only to find out the info you needed wasn't there. I need the security of knowing I can have the while country in going to on my phone when I travel.

Ok simple question - once you cache the map (which I did successfully it looked the same as the screenshots) then where do you retrieve the cached map??? CANT FIND IT ANYWHERE!

hi allyson,
as per your instruction i tried on my ipad mini the same, after disconnection of wifi, its not showing the offline map, its simply showing no network.can i have a solution for this.

Hello, Ios Devolpers , Plz help me
I m using Offline MAP Throw MBXMAPKIT
but it Create some Problem whenTime Simulator reset content and Setting then
map not Be load becoz all cached is cleared!!
But DB file is already saved in Mainbundle of APP.

Anybody Tell me is it possible that
after reset simulator atleast first time Internet connectivity should be switch on For Load Map??

PLZ reply me
!!!!

Gourav.s@emobx.com