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How much data does Google Maps use on iOS and Android

Updated on Wed, 12/02/2020 - 19:03

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 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. the following topics: 

    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 consumption of Internet traffic. 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 traffic 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 traffic 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. 

    Traffic consumption 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 traffic is limited to a few hundred megabytes. 

    InterestingWhen 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 traffic consumption,

    1. Open Google Maps
    2. Go to the "Settings
    3. 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, traffic 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, 
    3. tap "Select your own map",
    4. 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 traffic consumption:

    • "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 traffic 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 traffic consumption and increase the speed of data loading.

    Alternative apps for self-navigation

    In addition to Google Maps, there are many free apps with offline maps. Among them, Waze, Navitel, Maps.me 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!