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How much data does Google Maps use per hour on iOS and Android


Mobile apps have a good track record of being useful during work, leisure and travel time. If you like to walk and ride through city streets, there is a number of apps with detailed maps of the areas you need. Among others, special attention should be paid to Google Maps.

However, the mobile Internet and its data is still not free. Every MB spent on roaming or even without it isn't cheap at all.

In this article, we're going to cover how much data does GPS use, in particular:

Table of Contents

How much data does Google Maps use

It's very convenient to use mobile maps, because of their help with the navigation not only on the terrain but also with choosing the shortest and most cost-efficient way to your final destination. The main discomfort that the app can cause is likely to be its excessive usage of Internet data. Those users who have set an unlimited tariff are fortunate, but what should do those users who count every MB?

Well then, how much data does the Google Maps app download per hour?

The short answer. In the standard mode, the Google Maps app consumes about 5-10 MB every hour, both on Android and iPhone.

The standard navigation mode is when the user has to:

  • sets the destination point,
  • draw a route,
  • avoid scaling the map,
  • avoid using any additional features.

The detailed answer.

Although 5-10 MB of data per hour is used in normal mode, in some situations the "appetite" of the app may increase. It's quite likely that the navigation app user will search for other locations and routes, change the map scale and look at photos. In such a case, Google Maps will consume 2-4 times more data.

By opening the Google Maps app and uploading a map of your location with a standard zoom, you spend 500 KB – 1 MB of data in the Map mode.

The Satellite display mode demands at least 900 KB. At the same time, if you'll actively move around, the numbers will crawl up.

Data usage is greatly affected by the map scale: the closer you study the area, the more often new map images are uploaded. Accordingly, the smaller the scale, the less frequently your mobile device will require to access the network.

Keep this in mind if your data is limited to a few hundred megabytes of data.

Interesting: When was Google Maps last updated?

Does GPS use data from the Internet?

No. No Internet connection is required to work with satellites (GPS, GLONASS, etc.). However, GPS data is used by navigation apps, which, in their turn, work online.

How to switch to economy mode

Fortunately for Google Maps users, the developers have implemented "Economy mode". This mode means that your mobile device will only access the Internet via Wi-Fi and never using mobile traffic.

In order to activate this way of cost-effective data usage,

  1. Open Google Maps
  2. Go to the "Settings"
  1. Toggle on the "Wi-Fi Only" feature.

Those who are afraid to spend an extra MB of Internet, as well as travellers with roaming on will find this option useful.

Does Google Maps download data offline?

No. When using offline maps, data isn't consumed unless users have enabled the online features themselves.

For Google Maps to work correctly without the Internet (and access to saved information), you should download maps of the required areas in advance. In order to do this, you have to:

  1. go to the Google Maps Settings,
  2. select the "Offline maps" menu,
  1. tap "Select your own map",
  1. download the map which you will need for future offline use.

Learn more about offline maps

Are there any other ways to save traffic?

There are several options in the Google Maps app, allowing to minimise the amount of data usage:

  • "Auto-update offline maps" is the option which makes it possible to store up-to-date data, but only of the recently used maps. For example, if you upload the maps of several US States, but you won't leave the one where you are currently, the program will update only the map of your location. No data will be allocated to the rest,
  • by disabling "auto-download recommended maps" in the app settings, you will restrict the device access to the Network,
  • deactivating "launch in the Satellite mode" option will reduce data usage and increase the speed of data loading.

How much data does Google Maps use per hour?

According to the latest tests, the average data usage by Google Maps is about 2MB / hour. For comparison, Waze uses 2 times less and Apple Maps downloads 3 times more than Google Maps. So 1GB of data would be used in 500 hours.

How much data does the Google Maps app on the iPhone use?

The nubbers will be the same as for Android, see the answer above. You can also check the usage of data downloaded from the internet yourself through your phone settings.

Instruction for Android:

  1. Go to Settings > Connections > Data Usage > Mobile Data
  2. Find the Google Maps app and check the values
  3. Here information on mobile data usage is available: the total figure for a certain period, roaming data.
  4. The list can be sorted by the amount of downloaded data.

Does using Maps use data?

Yes, if maps are regularly downloaded from the Internet, Google Maps use data. Average usage is about 2.23MB per hour when actively using maps (zooming, downloading areas, etc.). This, as stated, is about 450-500 hours to use 1GB of data.

How to reduce Google Maps data usage

The best and fastest way to minimize data usage in the application is to disable Background Data. Find the option in the settings of Google Maps.

Instructions for Android:

  1. Go to Settings > Apps
  2. Find Google Maps and tap on Data Usage
  3. Finally, toggle off "Background Data" button

These actions will cause Google Maps to not regularly update your location and maps. Accordingly, less data will be downloaded from the Internet.

How Much Does the Waze app Cost by 2022?

The Waze app remains free. In 2022, all features are available in the free version of the app, and there are no subscriptions to additional services.

It is very likely that Waze will continue to be free, as it is actively enhanced by the community of users.

In the meantime, Internet access is required for the full functionality of Waze. There may be additional charges for mobile data consumption. Overdrawing data can lead to significant costs. Keep this in mind when using a navigator on your phone, and carefully check the rates from your mobile service provider.

Does Google Maps require internet?

Yes, but if you use offline maps, you won't need internet. Just download maps of the selected area or city to your phone. If your internet speed is low or unstable, Google Maps will use data from offline maps. At the same time, some of the information will not be available: driving routes for motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians.

Alternative apps for self-navigation

In addition to Google Maps, there are many free apps with offline maps. Among them, Waze, Navitel, are quite well-known.

Best offline navigation apps: a detailed review

Download and test apps and share your impressions via our feedback form. Enjoy the process!

Ilia is a professional writer. He has expert knowledge in GPS and cartography with 15 years of experience. Additionally, Ilia has extensive experience in data recovery on PC and mobile. He started his career as a journalist by reviewing PC and mobile apps. His current responsibilities are to keep track of users' questions on MGT and answer them.