The navigation feature on mobile phones is something that many of us use on a daily basis – the ability to simply download a navigation app on your smartphone can help you get from A to B much quicker.
However, map updates require internet connectivity, and many map apps stop working when you’re not connected to the internet, rendering them pretty much useless.
Using GPS without internet connectivity isn’t built into most map apps, though there are some navigation apps that still works when you’re not connected to Wi-Fi or mobile data – here’s a few of the top options.
OsmAnd – Great UK Offline GPS Map apps
If you want an offline app to use for navigating the streets of the UK, OsmAnd is probably the best choice.
The app was developed through collaboration between OpenStreetMap and Wikipedia, and it can be used for downloading for offline navigation.
OsmAnd is one of the most popular mapping apps that works offline. Though there is also a digital service available, it’s the first app to turn to when your internet connection sucks and you want to use their offline function.
The GPS component of the application works well, and it offers voice advice, traffic directions, live estimated time of arrival and specific bicycle routes in your area.
The offline map also offers in-depth features such as store opening hours and accepted payment methods of the stores too, making it usable for both offline and offline navigation.
This is a great app for the outdoors, as OsmAnd offline maps include all the essentials for walking or biking trails.
The app is open to everyone, which means you can also contribute by contributing bug reports or adding interest points to the site – in fact, this is encouraged within the app as it makes for a better user experience for everyone.
All in all, this is the first app to get if you want the ability to download offline maps on your iOS or Android device.
Maps.me – Best offline navigation app for walkers
If I were to choose a second app to use without an internet connection, then along with OsmAnd I’d look at downloading Maps.me. The app has tens of millions of downloads worldwide, and it allows you to use downloaded maps with ease.
Maps.me also uses OpenStreetMap data like many offline map apps do, and is free for use on all devices – there are a limited number of in-app purchases you can opt for within the app.
Maps.me allows users to travel in offline mode, which could be by walking, using public transport, riding your bike, or hopping into your car. If you’re looking for a hiking maps app, this is the right choice.
The app differs a little from your average typical commercial map, which means that you may end up finding more than you would on your standard journey. Downloading these maps ahead of time is the best way to use the app properly, as you’ll still have access to them when you’re out in the sticks.
You can still use an online map to find the best route for your journey, but combining it with an app like Maps.me can help you when your signal goes awry.
HERE WeGo is an app exclusively for offline GPS navigation – the app was originally part of Nokia Maps, though it was eventually expanded into the current version.
The app has a lot of data, and as such it provides offline maps to over 100 countries, and has public transport data for more than 1,900 cities throughout the world.
The offline maps that you’ll find within the service contain the basics of the map, but there are also timetables for trains and buses.
When you select a region, you can choose to download all of the additional data in the region to your device, which can then be used when you’re offline. The app can help you to compare your travel time with other modes of transport, which includes taxis and buses.
Overall, this is a useful offline map that can provide a solid alternative to those that have already been mentioned. It’s one of the best navigation apps for Android phones too.
CoPilot GPS is mainly focussed on navigation, and the clue is really in the name – this app is designed for drivers. This means that if you’re looking for an offline GPS app for walks and treks, this isn’t a great choice.
But for the roads, this is one of the better offline GPS navigation apps. It has excellent route planning, lane guidance and there are upcoming speed limit alerts within the app too. On each route there are multiple choices with plenty of alternative routes that can be taken too.
In addition, CoPilot also provides offline services, and if you download in advance this will include features like hotels and other places. This will mean that you can store millions of places on your device and get directions with no distraction.
The app has both 2D and 3D maps that have built in audio navigation aids, which can make things easier when driving. This is a good choice for professional drivers, as there’s a subscription plan for caravans and truck drivers too.
Available for both iOS and Android phones, the CoPilot GPS app is worth downloading if you want a complete map that has offline usage built into it.
Sygic GPS navigation and offline maps
Sygic is one of the most downloaded offline GPS app, and for drivers it’s another good choice if you need the offline maps feature.
Sygic is collaborating with TomTom, which allows for the offline maps for every nation – so if you have a TomTom GPS, this is worth checking out.
The app has many features, which includes downloadable maps that can be used when offline as well as audio-guided GPS voice navigation too. This is another app that includes truck navigation for professional drivers.
If you have internet access, the app will automatically tell you where the cheapest places to park in your area are, and it will alert you to upcoming speed cameras too. You can also switch it into pedestrian mode when you want to leave the car behind.
Sygic offers a free or premium version, though we recommend you take advantage of their free trial to see whether this is the right offline GPS app for your needs.
MapFactor GPS Navigation Maps
MapFactor provides a very useful GPS application for Android smartphones and iPhone. What most users appreciate about MapFactor is the large and well designed maps that work well both when connected to the internet or for offline use too.
The app now has more than 250 maps that you can download, which is primarily for densely-populated regions. It’s commonly touted as a Google Maps alternative as one of the free offline GPS apps to check out if you want to make the switch.
You can even see mapped speeds in certain areas, and all maps are extracted from OpenStreetMap. Again, it’s worth downloading the free version from the App Store or Google Play Store to see whether it’s right for you.
If all else fails – Google Maps Offline
It’s impossible to mention a navigation app without mentioning Google Maps – this can be downloaded on any iPhone or Android phone.
Though many users aren’t aware of it, one of the most underutilised capabilities of Google Maps is its offline mapping feature. You can easily download the region you want to in advance when you have a reliable Wi-Fi connection.
Of course, when you do this you’ll no longer get access to traffic updates, and like most offline apps you’ll be reliant on the offline version. However, you’ll still have the useful information already downloaded, like bus routes or public transport timetable.
Remember that cache maps expire after 30 days, so it’s worth checking that this has updated when you connect to the internet again.
To download maps and directions for region you want, you have to go into the settings of your Maps app. The area around your house will be automatically downloaded to your device, and you can then enter your preferred regions. And actually, this is still one of the best offline GPS apps that’s currently available.
There are countless navigation apps that you can use when connected to the internet, but offline navigation apps are a little harder to come by. Many apps begin to struggle when not connected to the internet, and some of them won’t work at all.
If you want to use GPS in offline locations, the best way to do this is by downloading maps in advance. This will allow you to use GPS offline, and this GPS can be essential to any map application.
Hopefully between the different map applications that we’ve mentioned here, you’ll be able to find the right offline GPS apps for Android or iPhone/