Kim Barloso

How much data does Google Maps use. How to save traffic when navigating


Mobile apps have proven themselves in work, leisure and travel. For those who like to walk and drive through the city streets, there are a number of applications with detailed maps of localities. Among others, special attention should be paid to Google Maps.

Till now, however, mobile Internet is not free. Every megabyte spent in roaming or not is expensive.

In this article we will look at the following topics:

    How much data do Google Maps use

    It is very convenient to use mobile maps, because they allow you not only to orient yourself on the terrain, but also to choose the shortest and most economical route to your destination. The main discomfort the application may cause is probably the excessive consumption of Internet traffic. Fine if the user has an unlimited data tariff, but what to do when every MB is not enough?

    How much data does Google Maps download in an hour?

    Simple answer . In standard mode, the Google Maps app consumes about 5-10 MB every hour, both on Android and iPhone.

    Standard navigation mode is when the user:

    • set a destination point,
    • plots the route,
    • does not zoom the map,
    • does not use any extra functions.

    Depends on the answer.

    While in normal mode it uses 5-10 Mb of traffic/hour, in some situations the "appetite" may increase. It is not excluded that the user of the navigator will search for other locations and routes, to zoom the maps, to open the photos. In this case, Google Maps will use 2-4 times more data.

    Opening the Google Maps app and downloading a map of their location at a standard scale, the user uses 500KB to 1MB of traffic in Scheme mode.

    The "Satellite" display mode will consume at least 900Kb. Moreover if the user is actively navigating, this data will "crawl" up.

    The traffic consumption is very much influenced by the map scale: the closer the terrain is explored, the more often new cartographic images are loaded. Correspondingly the smaller the zoom level, the less often the mobile device accesses the network.

    Have this in mind if the traffic is limited to a few hundred MB.

    Does the GPS use data from the internet?

    No. The satellites (GPS, GLONASS etc.) do not require internet. However, the GPS data are used by navigators, which in turn operate in online mode.

    How to enable the saving mode

    Luckily for the users of Google Maps, the developers have implemented a "saving mode". Thanks to this, the mobile device will only access the Internet via Wi-Fi and not via mobile traffic.

    To activate the "Economy mode",

    1. Go to the "Settings"
    2. Activate the "Wi-Fi only".

    This option will be useful for those who are afraid of wasting extra MB of Internet as well as for the travellers who are roaming.

    Does Google Maps download data in the offline mode?

    No. The offline functionality does not consume data unless the user has enabled the online functionality himself.

    For Google Maps to work correctly without an internet connection (and to access the saved information), you have to download maps of the desired areas beforehand. To do this:

    1. Go to the Google Maps settings,
    2. Go to the menu "Offline Maps",
    3. choose the "Select Map",
    4. select from the list displayed the data you wish to make available offline.

    For more on Offline Maps

    How else can I save traffic?

    There are several options in the Google Maps app to minimize your data usage:

    • Automatically update offline maps, this option allows you to keep your data up to date, but does so only with recently used maps. For example, if you have downloaded several US states, but do not leave the borders of the current state, the program will update only this map. The others will not receive any traffic,
    • "download maps automatically": by disabling this option in the application settings, you limit your device's access to the web,
    • "run in Sputnik mode": by deactivating this option you reduce the traffic and increase the download speed.

    Alternative applications for offline navigation

    Additionally, besides Google Maps, there are many free applications that offer offline maps. Among them, Waze, Navitel,

    Best offline navigators: in-depth review

    Download, test the applications and share your experiences via the feedback form. Enjoy your navigation!

    “Hello. My name is Kim. I discovered that technology, when used with a purpose, can be pretty amazing. To share the wonder of tech, I’ve written for blogs like and With over three years of freelance writing experience in the technology and entertainment niche, I can write a storm about a software app, a cool browser extension, a new mobile device and other geek-centric stuf... “

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    Kim Barloso