December is here, and the impending holidays come with the prospect of travel for a great deal of people. You and your travel companions probably don’t get into arguments about the map book’s interpretation of the route you should take like your parents used to, and that’s all thanks to GPS and mobile navigation apps. Whichever navigation app you prefer, this technology, for all its benefits, does have one fundamental flaw: it will only work when you have an active internet connection on your phone.

If you are planning to head to the countryside this festive season, it’s better to go prepared for the sometimes-patchy mobile coverage in this part of the country. If you are planning a trip abroad, you might not want to pay exorbitant amounts for data to find your way around the cities and towns you’ll be visiting. Luckily, Google Maps provides users with the option of downloading maps of specific areas for use when you don’t have an active mobile internet connection. Downloading maps for offline use is pretty simple, too. Try it this December: you’ll save some data, and won’t ever get stuck in the bundu without a paddle.

It is important to note that this is a proactive process, and that you should download the map of an area before you leave and don’t have an internet connection anymore. Because downloading maps of entire areas requires large amounts of data and storage, try to do it over a Wi-Fi connection, and specify that the downloaded maps should be stored on your microSD card – they may be quite large.

How to download maps for offline use on Android devices

  1. Open Google Maps on your phone, and sign in to Google.
  2. Search for the place or area you are planning to visit. A bar with the name of the place should appear on the screen. If it doesn’t, press and hold somewhere on the map to make a bar pop up.
  3. Tap on the bar that appeared to display more options.
  4. Tap on “Download”.
  5. Pinch to zoom in and out and to specify the exact area that you would like to have an offline map of.
  6. Tap on “Download” in the bottom-right corner to download a map of the selected area for offline use.

How to download maps for offline use on Apple devices

  1. If you don’t have the Google Maps app on your device, download it from the App Store.
  2. Open Google Maps and sign into Google.
  3. Search for the area you are planning to visit.
  4. Tap on the menu button and choose “Offline areas”.
  5. Tap on the plus-button in the bottom-right corner.
  6. Pinch to zoom in and out in order to specify the exact area that you’d like to have an offline map of.
  7. Tap on “Download”.
  8. Name your map in the box that pops up, and tap “Save”.

If you’re more of a visual person, check out the video tutorial for Apple and Android below.

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