Recently, Google has taken steps to make Android more offline friendly. You can save Google Maps areas offline and even queue up Google searches when you’re not connected to the internet. What Android lacked was a simple and official way to save entire web pages for offline use. Yes, there were third-party apps and solutions from Android phone manufacturers. But now Google has an offline mode built right into Chrome.
In this article, we’ll show you how Chrome’s offline feature works, along with three other alternative methods for getting the job done.
1. Save Offline Using Chrome
Google’s own Chrome browser now has an offline mode that lets you save full webpages, along with their original formatting, on your Android phone. This is great because as long as you’re running the latest version of Chrome, you already have access to the feature.
Unlike the read-it-later apps we talk about below, Chrome will download the web page as is. So you’ll get access to all the images, text, and data with the same formatting. Read-it-later services usually strip formatting from the webpage.
Chrome’s offline mode is integrated with the Downloads feature and might not be obvious for first-time users.
To save a web page for offline access, tap on the three-dot icon in the upper-right and tap on the Download button. The page will start downloading in the background and you’ll get a confirmation when the page is saved to your phone.
You can also save a page without even opening it. Tap and hold on a link and select Download link.
Now you can close the page and the app without worrying about losing access to the content when you’re not connected to the internet.
To get back to saved pages, you’ll need to go to the Downloads section. In Chrome, tap on the three-dot icon and select Downloads. If you’re coming back right after you saved the page, you’ll see it right at the top of the list.
But if it’s been a while, you can sort through just the saved pages by tapping the three-line icon in the upper-left and selecting Pages. You can also remove a downloaded page simply by tapping and holding on the listing and selecting the Delete button.
Download — Google Chrome (Free)
2. Save Offline Using Pocket
Pocket is a read it later service. Here’s how it works. You save a webpage to Pocket (either from your Android phone or from your PC), and the app then downloads a stripped down version of the page. It will contain all the body text, links, some images, and that’s all. No navigation, design elements, ads, or any kind of rich media will be saved to your phone.
Pocket is the recommended way to save text-only web pages (like articles) you want to read offline. But for anything else, we recommend you use Chrome’s Offline mode.
To use Pocket, download the app and create an account. Now, go to a browser and open the page you want to save. In Chrome, tap on the three-dot icon and select Share. From this menu, select the Pocket icon.
When you go back to the Pocket app, you’ll see the article listed. Tap on it to start reading. Another reason Pocket is recommended for saving long articles is because you can customize the font, the font size and the background. You can also use the text-to-speech feature to have the article read out to you.
Download — Pocket (Free)
3. Save Offline Using Opera Mini
If you’re on a limited data plan, Opera Mini with its stellar Data Saver mode can be a life saver. And just like Chrome, Opera Mini has an offline feature.
After opening the page in Opera Mini, tap on the three-dot icon and select Save for Offline.
To view saved pages, tap on the Opera icon in the bottom-right and select Offline pages.
To remove a page, tap and hold it, then select Delete.
Download — Opera Mini (Free)
4. Save Offline as PDF
If you want to save the page in a format that can be opened almost anywhere and that can be transferred to a PC or synced online, saving it as a PDF is the best option. You can do this quite easily from Chrome.
After loading the page, tap on the three-dot icon and select Share. From here, select Print.
From the top, tap on the Select Printer drop-down and select Save as PDF.
You’ll now be asked where you want to save the PDF (if you’ve saved something before, you’ll see the recent destinations here). If you tap on the three-line icon here, you’ll see Google Drive as a source. But you can save the PDF locally as well. Tap on the three-dot icon and select Show internal storage.
Now when you tap on the three-line icon, you’ll see your device’s name there, along with information about how much space is left. Tap on your device name and navigate to the folder you want to save the PDF to. Then tap on the Save button.
You’ll now be able to open this PDF in any PDF reader app, including Google’s default Drive PDF reader.
Memory and Bandwidth Saving Tips
If you’re on a limited internet connection and using an Android phone that doesn’t have a lot of free internal storage space, take the following steps for a better Android experience.
- Install bloat-free Lite versions of popular social media and communication apps that weigh just 1 MB or less.
- When using social media apps, disable data-wasting features like video autoplay.
- Use lightweight app alternatives for browsers, SMS apps, and so on.
Doing all of this can free up room for saving articles and pages for offline reading. This way, you can download articles while on Wi-Fi, then read them on the go.
How do you deal with a limited data plan? How do you save webpages and other content for offline use? Do you use a bookmarking tool? Share with us in the comments below.