Published on
Updated on 

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

Author: Vladimir Brown

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.

Google Maps application data usage

Google Maps Data Usage Calculator

Google Maps Data Usage per hour(s) is 0 - 0 Megabytes in average

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.

Choosing map type to display

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?

Do you need data to use Google Maps?

Yes, it is. If maps are regularly downloaded from the Internet, Google Maps use data on your mobile device.

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.

If you disconnect your phone from the internet, Google Maps will not work fully.

However, if you have previously downloaded offline maps, you'll be able to use the navigation features in Google Maps even without the data downloaded from the Internet on your iOS or Android.

Does GPS use a lot of data?

No. No Internet connection is required to work with satellites (GPS, GLONASS, etc.). In other words, your phone gets its data directly from the satellite and the Internet is not an intermediary.

However, GPS data is used by navigation apps, which, in their turn, work online. Online data is necessary for real-time information: accidents, roadworks, etc. Most of the data is downloaded by downloading maps of the area.

Therefore, if you use the Internet in conjunction with GPS, the data consumption can be significant.

Why is Google Maps using so much data

Like any other mobile navigator, Maps uses the Internet to download maps. It can be argued that it is getting maps from Google servers that is the main source of data consumption.

Why so much data is consumed is more a question for the user of the application. Depending on their needs, the amount of downloaded data changes up or down. Why the data consumption can be high, top reasons:

  • Using satellite map display mode
  • The app is active for a long time during the day
  • Downloading offline maps of regions and cities
  • You zoom in and out of map, scroll in different directions all the time
Downloading offline maps to save mobile data

How much data does Google Maps use in 8 hours

The Google Maps app uses about 2.5 - 5 MB per hour on average. So in 8 hours, your traffic will be about 20 - 40 MB. Of course, this figure may vary up or down. These figures are stated both by Google and are confirmed by users of Quora and Reddit.

For more information, see the table above. You can thus calculate the traffic consumption for a day and even for a month of using the Google Maps application.

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"
Google Maps settings menu
  1. Toggle on the "Wi-Fi Only" feature.
Wi-Fi Only option

Those who are afraid to spend an extra MB of Internet, as well as travelers 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,
Offline maps section on Google Maps
  1. Tap "Select your own map",
Map selection
  1. Download the map which you will need for future offline use.
Choosing region to download

Learn more about offline maps

Are there any other ways to save traffic?

There are several options in the Google Maps app, allowing to minimize 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.
Recommended settings for offline maps

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:

Step 1. Go to Settings > Connections > Data Usage > Mobile Data

Mobile Data usage dialog

Step 2. Find the Maps app and check the values Step 3. Here information on mobile data usage is available: the total figure for a certain period, roaming data.

Data usage stats

Step 4. The list can be sorted by the amount of downloaded 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 usage. Find the option in the settings of Google Maps.

Instructions for Android:

Step 1. Go to Settings > Apps

Apps app on Android

Step 2. Find Maps and tap on Mobile data

Maps app on Android
App info screen

Step 3. Finally, toggle off "Allow background data usage" option

Checking Allow background data usage option

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 2023?

The Waze app remains free. In 2023, 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!

I'm Vladimir, your guide in the expansive world of technology journalism, with a special focus on GPS technologies and mapping. My journey in this field extends over twenty fruitful years, fueled by a profound passion for technology and an insatiable curiosity to explore its frontiers.