How To: Download Maps & Navigation Routes for Offline Use in Apple Maps

Download Maps & Navigation Routes for Offline Use in Apple Maps

Whether due to spotty cellular reception or just data that you want to save, popular navigation apps like Google Maps and Waze offer an offline feature that lets you navigate from one location to another in the absence of internet service. Apple Maps also lets you use its service offline on your iPhone, though the feature is not as straightforward as it is on its competitors.

While it doesn't offer an obvious option for offline navigation outright, Apple Maps nonetheless has this feature built in, as it caches your current destination and saves it until you end your route. This means that even if you enter an area with poor cellular service, navigation will still go relatively smoothly as long as you have "Location Services" enabled. You can also pull up basic maps for locations offline.

Getting Offline Navigation

To get directions, while connected to the internet, input the address you'd like to go to as you normally would in Apple Maps. Tap on "Go" once you've chosen the best route, then wait for the route to load and navigation to fully commence.

With the route saved on Maps, you're free to turn off both your cellular and Wi-Fi connections. Navigation, along with alternate route selection (that saved) will still work as normal as long as "Location Services" is turned on, though, you won't be able to get additional services that require an internet connection, such as adding pit stops, in addition to traffic data and other information.

Viewing Maps Offline

Any navigation you have going will come to a standstill if both the internet connections and "Location Services" are disabled together, but you'll still be able to access the map along with any saved routes that you can use for reference. You'll still also have the ability to view points of interest like restaurants that saved within the general area of your route.

If you just want to create an offline map without getting directions, all you have to do is be connected to the internet, then load the area you want in Apple Maps. I suggest zooming into as far as you can in all the areas you want to make sure it saves all of the local details. If you don't, you may be left with streets and no names or worse, blank zones.

Correct way to get all the details (Portland) vs. the wrong way (Jackson).

Once you go offline, a lot of the basic details will still remain depending on how much you zoomed into the map to load details. The more you zoom in before going offline, the more details will be saved. That can't be stressed enough since you may end up lost without the proper amount of details present.

Apple Maps will remember these offline maps even if you force-close the app, clear your RAM, and even if your device restarts.

This article was produced during Gadget Hacks' special coverage on traveling with your smartphone. Check out the whole Travel series.

Just updated your iPhone? You'll find new features for Podcasts, News, Books, and TV, as well as important security improvements and fresh wallpapers. Find out what's new and changed on your iPhone with the iOS 17.5 update.

Cover image, screenshots, and GIFs by Amboy Manalo/Gadget Hacks


These are not "offline maps". This is a caching feature that reduces the amount of data used and can provide some offline capabilities, but it should not be thought to replace an offline maps feature. Other map applications (not just Google Maps) allows you to specify a region to download and will purposefully store that map data on your device, keep them updated periodically, and even provide offline navigation. This article should note that this is a workaround and not make this sound like a feature of the app.

I use this feature in Google Maps (and MAPS.ME before it was available added to Google Maps) for my own safety in addition to keeping a paper map in my car. This came in handy a few years ago when my family got disoriented in Yellowstone. While we were never in any true danger, it was nice having the maps without an Internet connection. All it took was a little fore thought and a few taps on my phone, no scrolling around and zooming on the map required.

I agree very much! This was solid info but a little deceptive in the tittle. Lot of this floating around lately. Reminds me of the guy who can 'unlock iPhone using Siri' . It's really helpful o distinguish between workaround vs fix vs feature etc. If we hold ppl accountable to correct terminology we can help avoid the misdirections . A lot of write ups like this do little more than reiterate info from the product website , or describe same features in different way . GadgetHacks as usual does us right though with some new knowledge at least, def not everyone knows to zoom in and it auto saves maps for later. Nor that you could hit airplane mode after starting navigation and maintain Live navigating, so props there GH!

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