Although Google Maps for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad in its current incarnation supports saving a limited area as an offline map (just type ‘OK Maps’ into the search field), the full offline functionality used to be an Android exclusive, but that’s about to change soon.
According to Google today, full offline maps in Google Maps are coming soon to the iOS edition of the software.
Before, you could simply view an area of the map in offline mode.
Soon, the offline mode will support turn-by-turn driving directions, searching for specific destinations, and finding useful information about places, like hours of operation, contact information or ratings—all while without an Internet connection.
It works like this: you first search for a city, county or country and then hit the new Download on the resulting place sheet. Alternatively, you’ll tap on the Offline Areas option in the hamburger menu and hit the plus sign.
“Once downloaded, Google Maps will move into offline mode automatically when it recognizes you’re in a location with spotty service or no connectivity at all,” explains the company.
“When a connection is found, it will switch back online so you can easily access the full version of Maps, including live traffic conditions for your current route.”
Google will only download maps for offline use when you are on a Wi-Fi connection, but you will be able to optionally allow saving maps via cellular connections.
First previewed during Google I/O in May 2015, these improvements are now rolling with the latest version of Google Maps on Android and are “coming soon to iOS,” says the Internet giant.
“Over time, we’ll be introducing even more offline features to help you find your way—even when you can’t find a connection,” Google said.