Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?
CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

How to cache offline maps in Google Maps 7.0

One of my favorite Google Maps features -- the ability to save map data for offline viewing -- has been hidden away in the latest version.

Antuan Goodwin Reviews Editor / Cars
Antuan Goodwin gained his automotive knowledge the old fashioned way, by turning wrenches in a driveway and picking up speeding tickets. From drivetrain tech and electrification to car audio installs and cabin tech, if it's on wheels, Antuan is knowledgeable.
Expertise Reviewing cars and car technology since 2008 focusing on electrification, driver assistance and infotainment Credentials
  • North American Car, Truck and SUV of the Year (NACTOY) Awards Juror
Antuan Goodwin
2 min read
Advertiser Disclosure
Advertiser Disclosure
This advertising widget is powered by Navi and contains advertisements that Navi may be paid for in different ways. You will not be charged for engaging with this advertisement. While we strive to provide a wide range of offers, this advertising widget does not include information about every product or service that may be available to you. We make reasonable efforts to ensure that information in the featured advertisements is up to date, each advertiser featured in this widget is responsible for the accuracy and availability of its offer details. It is possible that your actual offer terms from an advertiser may be different than the offer terms in this advertising widget and the advertised offers may be subject to additional terms and conditions of the advertiser which will be presented to you prior to making a purchase. All information is presented without any warranty or guarantee to you.

Watch this: Make offline maps in Google Maps 7

Yesterday, Google loosed a new version of its Google Maps navigation app for Android onto the Google Play store with a new, streamlined design and a bunch of new features to aid exploration. However, like the new desktop interface announced at I/O 2013, this new version 7.0 update seems to have lost a few features in translation.

One of the most obvious omissions lamented by early updaters is the apparent loss of the ability to cache map data for browsing offline without a data connection...or so it seems.

True, the menu option that we're used to is gone, but it turns out that the Offline Maps feature is still baked into this new version of Google Maps; only it's hidden. Here's how to access it:

Google Map of Augusta, Ga.
The new Offline Maps technique isn't as clear cut as the old menu and selection box method. Screenshot by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

1. Open the Google Maps app and zoom the map screen so that the area you want to cache is displayed.

Type "OK Maps" into the search box. The autocomplete suggestions offer no hints that you're on the right track. Screenshot by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2. Tap the search box near the top of the screen and type "OK Maps" into the field. Alternatively, you can tap the microphone icon and just say "OK Maps," as well.

When you hit search, Google Maps will start downloading the map data for offline browsing. Screenshot by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

3. Tap the Search button and watch as the app downloads the street data, storing it locally for later offline viewing. Downloading large areas can take awhile, so I'd recommend that you do your caching on a Wi-Fi connection.

Despite the fact that I'm in Airplane mode with no data connection, I can now zoom in for a detailed view. Screenshot by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

4. Profit. Enjoy your offline map data. Remember that GPS should still work on most devices, even without an Internet connection, allowing you to see your current position on the map. However, searching for a location or getting directions still can't be initiated offline.

It's just that simple. I've tested and confirmed this method with both the Google Nexus 4 smartphone and Nexus 7 tablet. Offline Maps was a navigation lifesaver for me when traveling abroad with my Nexus 7 and no readily available Internet access, so I'm glad to see that the feature is still a part of the app.

If you've got the updated version of the Google Maps app, sound off in the comments and let us know what you think.