Google has allowed users of its Google Maps service to save some areas for offline access later for a while now. In a recent update, the company even let users pick specific offline areas.
All of that has come at a cost, though. Google Maps saved for later use when one is offline are stored by default on a device’s internal storage and there’s been no way to change that. That can be quite a let down for anyone who is using a budget Android smartphone with nothing more than at most less than 8 gigabytes of user-accessible onboard storage and forced to share that same tiny space they put all their apps on with the maps which can at times be so large.
That changes now with the rollout of a new update to Google Maps. With the update, everyone will now be able to download Google Maps to their mobile device’s external storage (sd card) for use when there is no data connection. This not only saves on a device’s precious internal storage but is significant in saving on data costs as well. Which is where the next feature available with the new update comes in.
Google Maps is also getting a Wi-Fi-only mode which, as the feature name suggests, basically lets users wholly access Maps without the app going online and guzzling up data and battery. Like Airplane Mode but just for the Google Maps app since you can still have your data connection on and in use in other apps installed on your device.
While Google envisions the latest updates to Maps being extremely useful to users of budget smartphones or in areas with spotty networks, they will definitely come in handy when travelling abroad and not ready to incur heavy data roaming charges or only have hotel Wi-Fi and nothing else when far from the hotel.
These features were some of the biggest draws to rival maps and navigation services and apps like HERE Maps (Now HERE We Go) and with Google now making them available on its own Maps app too, users will be spoilt for choice.