Google today announced that it is reintroducing offline search and navigation to Google Maps. With the map of a country, city or county downloaded, you can get navigation directions for that map even when you don’t have access to a data network.
Google had first previewed offline navigation feature in Google Maps back at Google I/O in May this year. While Google has previously allowed downloading of maps, it could only be used for offline viewing and nothing else.
You can download an area by searching for a city, county or country, for instance, and tapping “Download” on the resulting place sheet, or by going to “Offline Areas” in the Google Maps menu and tapping on the “+” button. Once downloaded, Google Maps will move into offline mode automatically when it recognizes you’re in a location with spotty service or no connectivity at all. When a connection is found, it will switch back online so you can easily access the full version of Maps, including live traffic conditions for your current route.
To make sure that your mobile data is not exhausted, Google only downloads maps for offline usage when your device is connected to a Wi-Fi network.
Google is first rolling out its offline maps feature to Android users with the latest version of Google Maps, and says that the features will be making their way to iOS soon as well. Additionally, it notes that it plans to bring more offline features to Google Maps down the line.
Update: Google today announced that its offline Maps feature is now available for Google Maps users in India.