We already know there are lots of great navigation apps for when you have a data connection. But what if you need your GPS location when you’re offline?
Offline GPS is a vital feature for any maps app. You’ll use it if you’re exploring a foreign city and have data roaming turned off, or if you drive into a dead zone during a road trip.
Here are the best free offline GPS apps for Android.
1. Google Maps
Google Maps offers a way to download and save regional maps for offline use—you just need to do a little preparation before you leave home.
To download a map, tap on the More menu (three horizontal lines) in the upper-left corner, then select Offline Maps. Google will recommend some maps for you to download based on your home and frequent locations. You can also tap Select Your Own Map to download another area.
The maximum size of the map you can download is 2GB, which equates to roughly 200 x 120 miles. The app automatically deletes any downloaded maps after 30 days without an internet connection.
For more advice, check out essential Google Maps tips for planning a trip.
Download: Google Maps (Free)
2. Sygic GPS Navigation and Offline Maps
Sygic is the most-installed offline GPS app in the Google Play Store. The company has an agreement with TomTom, allowing it to provide offline maps for every country in the world.
Other noteworthy features include free map updates, voice-guided GPS navigation, and pedestrian GPS navigation for when you’re on foot.
The app can even help save you money. If you have an internet connection, it will automatically alert you about the cheapest nearby parking lots and gas stations, as well as providing information about upcoming speed cameras.
Sygic offers both a free and a paid version. You can try the paid version for seven days when you first download the app.
Download: Sygic GPS Navigation and Offline Maps (Free, subscription available)
OsmAnd is another popular map app that works offline. There’s also an online mode for the times when you have a reliable data connection.
The GPS part of the app has a number of key features. They include voice guidance, lane guidance, live estimated times of arrival, a day/night screen mode, on-the-fly driving routes for when you take a wrong turn, and specialist cycling routes.
In some countries, the offline map even boasts features such as opening times and accepted payment methods of stores. Lastly, this is an app skiers should have. There’s a paid plugin which shows route maps for many of the world’s most popular resorts.
Download: OsmAnd (Free, premium version available)
MAPS.ME is a complete free GPS app. If you need offline navigation, it’s definitely worth checking out.
In offline mode, you can enjoy a full-featured search function, voice navigation, re-routing calculation, and public transportation. You will also see restaurants, ATMs, and places of interest. If you’re online, you can share your location with friends, add bookmarks, and even make hotel bookings without leaving the app. This makes it a great Android app for traveling.
The maps are kept up-to-date by OpenStreetMap and are entirely open source.
The developers behind the app have also made a promise. All maps and features will be free forever; there are no plans to introduce a pricing structure. MAPS.ME is ad-supported and you can pay to remove them.
Download: MAPS.ME (Free)
5. MapFactor GPS Navigation Maps
MapFactor is another great free GPS app for Android.
When you fire up the app for the first time, it will prompt you to download maps for offline usage. That’s because there is no online map function here. Instead, the app offers more than 200 standalone individual maps to choose from, including 56 in Europe and 53 in the Americas.
The maps are organized by country, but densely populated areas have sub-regions available. You can also find maps for speed cameras in certain areas. Each map pulls its data from OpenStreetMap.
Download: MapFactor (Free, premium version available)
6. HERE WeGo
HERE WeGo is another app that specializes in offline GPS navigation. It offers offline maps for more than 100 countries.
The offline maps include directions, public transportation ticket prices, car-sharing prices, and train and bus timetables.
When you enter your route, the app will compare car, bike, pedestrian, taxi, and public transportation routes in order to find the fastest and most cost-effective way for you to make your journey. It’ll even let you know whether your trip is predominantly uphill or downhill.
You can access public transportation information for more than 1,300 cities around the world, including most of North America and Europe.
Like MAPS.ME, the HERE WeGo app is ad-supported.
Download: HERE WeGo (Free)
7. CoPilot GPS
In-car navigation is the primary focus of CoPilot GPS. People on foot should avoid it.
The app excels in route planning. For every journey, it gives you three separate options. And for each of the three routes, you can add up to 52 individual waypoints.
CoPilot also has thousands of offline locations such as hotels, restaurants, ATMs, and places of interest. You can use the search feature to find them even if you’re in offline mode.
You can enjoy a free seven-day trial of the premium features. These include 3D maps and an audio navigation assistant. Once the trial expires, the app limits you to 2D offline maps and visual turn-by-turn directions.
Download: CoPilot GPS (Free, subscription available)
8. Genius Maps
The free version of Genius Maps lets you download offline maps and provides information about local places of interest.
If you want voice guidance, automatic re-routing, speed limit alerts, and live traffic reports, you will need to upgrade to the pro version. You can do so from within the app.
Genius Maps has offline maps available for most of the world. Europe and North America enjoy 100 percent coverage.
Download: Genius Maps (Free)
GPS Is Great, but Watch Your Battery!
We hope these GPS apps help you get where you’re going, even without data. But we’ll leave you with a quick word of warning: continuously running GPS apps in the background will quickly drain your battery.
If you’re walking, try to leave your GPS turned off as much as possible. If you’re driving, you should consider investing in a car charger, which is an essential smartphone accessory to keep in your car.
We’ve covered how to save your battery life on Android if you’d like to learn more.