A new update to the Google Maps app will let Android users navigate whether their device is connected to the internet or not.
The new feature, which was first tested on Google I/O in May, will work by allowing users to download a map of a given area and use it to continue navigation when service is sparse.
“Roughly 60 percent of the world is without Internet today, and even where online access is available, it can still be spotty,” Google Maps product manager Amanda Bishop said in a Tuesday blog post. “Now you can download an area of the world to your phone, and the next time you find there’s no connectivity—whether it’s a country road or an underground parking garage—Google Maps will continue to work seamlessly.”
According to Bishop, though users could previously view an area of the map offline, the update will allow users to “get turn-by-turn driving directions, search for specific destinations, and find useful information about places, like hours of operation, contact information or ratings.”
To download a map for future wanderings, users can simply search for a city, county or country and tap “Download” on the place sheet that pops up. Alternatively, users can go to “Offline Areas” in the google Maps menu and tap on the “+” button to add a new location. Areas will only be downloaded to a user’s device when connected to Wi-Fi to prevent large amounts of data usage, Bishop said.
The update will initially only be available for Android devices, but Bishop said an iOS version is coming soon.
Over time, Bishop said, Google Maps will be releasing “even more offline features to help you find your way—even when you can’t find a connection.”