I’m going to let you into a little secret which may shock you. Not everywhere in the world has Internet coverage. I know, shocking right? Sometimes when you are out in the armpit of beyond, admiring the sheep and the cows, you look at your phone and realise with shock that your mobile phone provider’s Internet doesn’t stretch that far.

This is why, when you are going on a journey, you need to be prepared just like the Boy Scouts. For example, if you need a map then you need to download it to your phone beforehand when you are still in Internet Civilization.

With Google Maps, that process is very easy. Here is how to do it on an iPhone but the Android method is more or less the same. As far as I can see, you can’t do it on the desktop.

Download Your Google Maps For Offline Access

After logging into Google Maps, search for your destination. For this article, I just entered “Berlin”.

Now tap the hamburger icon on the left-hand side.

This slides open a menu. What you are looking for is “Offline Maps”. Tap on that.

This area gives you all of your saved offline maps. To make a new one, click “Custom Map”.

A square will now appear over the area you just searched for. Move the square around to get the area you want to download. But depending on how large the area is, you may have to download more than one map.

Google Maps will show you how much space you have on your phone, and how much space the map will take up when downloaded. When you have the area you want, click “Download” at the bottom.

Choose whether you want to be notified when the download is finished. If you are on a tight timetable to get out of the door on your trip, you may want to switch this on.

You will now see your download starting. You can stop the process at any time by clicking “Delete”. You can also name your map by clicking the pencil icon next to the title at the top.

Assuming you have a decent Internet connection, the map downloads are quite fast. However, you need to keep the Maps app open to make it go as fast as possible.

If you close the Maps app, while it is downloading your map, you will see this.

When the map has finished downloading, you will now see it listed in your “Offline maps” section.

As you can see, the map doesn’t stick around forever. It has an expiry date of one year. But when you tap on the map you just made, you will see an “update” button. So if you are going to the same destination every year, you can update the map and reset the expiry date to another year.

On the other hand, if you decide you are not going there anymore, you can delete the map early by hitting the “Delete” button.

To use the map when you go offline, just open Google Maps and use it as you normally would. However, because you won’t have the Internet at that moment, the only part of the Maps app that will work will be the part you previously downloaded.