How to use Google Maps without internet connection, and 6 other tips

You can call yourself “directionally challenged” all you want, but if you have a smartphone there’s no excuse for getting lost.

All you have to do is type in your destination and Google Maps will get you there – in a car, on a bus or subway, on a bicycle or even on your own two feet.

It’s obvious  Google Maps is popular. In fact, the mapping service boasts more than 1 billion users worldwide.

But how many people actually take full advantage of all the features the app has to offer? Probably not many.

So, here are 7 things you need to start doing while using Google Maps:

1. Download a map that you can use when you’re offline

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Sign into Google Maps > Search for a place > Tap the name or address of the place at the bottom > Select download

Picture this: You’re on a New York City subway and there’s no service underground. You’re not sure where you’re going. You start to panic... Well, that’s probably because you didn’t save the info you need from Google Maps ahead of time. To avoid situations like these, download areas and save them to your phone so you can use them offline. For example, search for “Manhattan,” tap the name of the location at the bottom of your screen and press “download.” You can find all the places you downloaded in your menu by clicking “Offline areas.” That way, when you’re stuck without service, you can pull up the map, zoom in and find where you need to go.


2. Create a trip with multiple destinations

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Sign into Google Maps > Search for your destination > Tap the blue circle at the bottom right > In the top right, tap more > Add stop

If you know you’re going to be making a pit stop, then this feature is for you. To make sure you’re getting the best directions possible when it comes to reaching all desired destinations, not just one, add a stop to your trip in Google Maps. This is easy to do. After typing in your final destination, tap the blue circle at the bottom right of your map and click “Add stop.” (Note: You can add up to 9 stops, and if your plans change you can reorder the stops by touching and dragging the destination).


3. Customize your route to avoid tolls or highways

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Sign into Google Maps > Search for your destination > Tap the blue circle in the bottom right > Tap drive > Tap “more” located at the top right > Select “Route options” > Tap avoid tolls or highways

Short on change? Then you may want to avoid paying a toll when you’re cruising along the highway – or perhaps you’d rather avoid the highway all together. In Google Maps, you can do just that. Simply open Maps, search for your destination, tap “drive,” then tap “more” located at the top right of your screen and click “Route options.” Then you can check off what you want to avoid (tolls, highways, ferries, etc.).


4. Share directions on Google Maps with a link to the route

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Open Google Maps > Tap directions in the bottom right > Select Route > Tap more in the top right > Tap “Share directions”

No one hands out handwritten driving directions anymore. Generally, you just shoot someone a quick text. Now it’s even easier. Instead of typing out a step-by-step list of directions, just search the destination in Google maps, select the route and tap “more” at the top of the screen, then you just have to tap “Share directions” to send them to your friends. It’s that easy!


5. Easily locate train and bus departure times

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Open Google Maps > Type in address of transportation hub (i.e. train station) > Swipe up to see departures for nearby transit stations > Touch one to see a list of departures 

To save you the hassle of opening up another app or browser, Google Maps provides up-to-date departure times for nearby transit stations. Once you search the transportation hub, you can swipe up to see departure times. If the station has more than one type of transit, choose the one you want from the top of the page.


6. Mark places you go often (like work or home) on the map

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Open Google Maps > Swipe left to find home page for your account > Select “Your Places” > Type in your home or work address

If you’re a Google Map addict, you probably find yourself typing in your home or work address over and over. Save yourself the trouble and add these important addresses to “Your places.” Open Google Maps, swipe left to find the menu and select “Your Places,” then type the addresses in. This allows Google Maps to alert you to traffic conditions before you leave the house in the morning or head home at night. Plus, the map places a special icon over your home or work to make it easier to spot on the map.


7. Check out your Google Maps search history

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Open Google Maps > Swipe left to find home page for your account > Select Settings > Select “Maps history”

There’s no need to check-in on Swarm! Google Maps bookmarks all of your past searches, which is convenient when you want to find the name of that amazing restaurant you ate at last weekend. To find your search history, open Maps, swipe left to find the menu, select Settings and then “Maps history.” 

Now you’re good to go!