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How Much Data Does Google Maps Use?

Written by, Dimitar F

Updated May, 28, 2022

Google Maps is an invaluable resource for finding your way around town, but how much data does Google Maps use, and how does it work?

In this article, I’ll answer those questions and provide tips on how to reduce Google Maps data usage.

Does GPS Use Phone Data?

No, GPS doesn’t use phone data. The Global Positioning System is a satellite-based navigation system that provides location and time information to GPS receivers, and it doesn’t require an active data connection to work. But, it works with other apps that do require your mobile data. 

How Does Google Maps Work?

Google Maps uses a combination of satellite imagery, aerial photography, and topographic data to provide detailed maps of the world. This data is then combined with information from Google’s database of over 200 million businesses and points of interest to provide you with the most up-to-date and comprehensive map possible.

When you use Google Maps, your device will automatically connect to the nearest cell tower and request data from Google’s servers.

How Much Data Does Google Maps Use?

The amount of data used depends on the area size and the level of detail (e.g., street names, transit information). For example, a small area with only a few streets will use less data than a large area with many streets, transit lines and other details on the map.

It can use 5 -10 MB per hour when you just estimate routes without zooming in the area or using additional features. However, if you choose to see more things on the map, change routes, and actively use Google Maps, it can use two to four times more mobile data

To see how much data you’re using, open the Google Maps app on your device and look for the “Data usage” section in the Settings menu to see much data has been used in the past month.

How to Use Google Maps Offline

If you’re going to be without an internet connection, you can still use Google Maps by downloading an offline map. 

To do this:

  • Open the Google Maps app
  • Search for the area you want to download. 
  • Once the area has been found, tap on the “Download” button in the bottom-right corner.

You can also download an offline map from the “Settings” menu. 

  • Select “Offline areas”
  • Then, tap on the “Download” button next to the area you want to save.

When you’re offline, you’ll be able to access your downloaded map by tapping on the “My Places” button in the top-right corner of the Google Maps app.

Keep in mind that offline maps are only available for a limited time, and they’ll expire if you don’t use them for an extended period of time. Also, if you’re using offline maps, you won’t get updates on the conditions on the roads and possible traffic jams.

How to Reduce the Data Usage of Google Maps

If you’re concerned about the amount of data that Google Maps uses, you can do a few things to reduce that number.

  • Download the Route While Being on Wi-Fi – If you know you’re going to be without an internet connection, you can download the route while you’re on Wi-Fi. This way, you can use GPS navigation without using any data. Also, turn on the economy mode, so the app uses only Wi-Fi for internet connection.
  • Disable the Background Data – You can prevent Google Maps from using data in the background by disabling the “Background Data” option in the Settings menu. 
    • Note that this will only affect your device while you’re not using the app, so you’ll still be able to use all of the features of Google Maps while you’re actively using it.
  • Buy a Portable Wi-Fi –  If you’re going to be without an internet connection for an extended time, you can buy a portable Wi-Fi hotspot. In addition, if you like to have road trips, a pocket Wi-Fi device can come in handy.
  • Unlimited Data Plan – With an unlimited data plan, you can use Google Maps without worrying about how much data you’re using.

Conclusion

So, how much data does Google Maps use on smartphones? Unfortunately, the answer is — quite a lot. However, you can use Google Maps in offline mode, and if you’re careful about when and how you use it, you can minimise the amount of data.

On the other hand, you don’t have to worry about it if you have an unlimited data plan or a portable Wi-Fi.

FAQ

How much data per trip does Google Maps use?

The amount of data that is used per trip will depend on the size and scope of the area. But, generally, you can expect to spend from 10-50 MB per hour, depending on how you use the app.

How long does 1GB of data last on Google Maps?

One gigabyte (GB) of data will last more than 100 hours.