How Much Data Does Google Maps Use?

June 30, 2024

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Imagine this: you're in a new city, eager to explore but without a clue where to start. You pull out your smartphone, open Google Maps, and suddenly the city’s secrets are at your fingertips. From finding the nearest coffee shop to discovering hidden gems and navigating busy streets, Google Maps has become an indispensable tool for travellers and locals alike.

It makes every journey smoother and more enjoyable. However, with all these features—including incredible accuracy, turn-by-turn directions, and real-time traffic updates—packed into one app, many people wonder about its data consumption. Let's uncover just how much data Google Maps uses and how you can navigate smarter, not harder.

Factors influencing data usage

Using standard turn-by-turn navigation in map view on Google Maps is fairly light on data. On average, it consumes about 5 MB per hour. This means 1 GB (1024 MB) of data could provide up to 200 hours of navigation.

Here's a rundown of all factors affecting how much data Google Maps consumes.

Opening the app

When you first open the app, data is required to render the map you’re looking for. This initial download can be substantial, especially if you’re loading a new or detailed area for the first time.

Zooming in and out

Frequent zooming forces the map to load new details, which can ramp up data usage. Every time you zoom in or out, the app must download additional map tiles to display the new view.

Checking places of interest

Looking up places such as restaurants and historic landmarks requires data to download relevant information, including reviews and images. The more places you browse, the more data you use as each location fetches new information.

Following directions

Particularly with real-time traffic updates and re-routing, navigation can significantly increase data consumption. These features constantly update your route based on current conditions, requiring a steady stream of data.

What about satellite view?

Satellite views demand more data consumption.

The type of map you’re using can significantly influence data usage. Standard maps are less data-intensive compared to Satellite and Terrain views, which use high-resolution images and more detailed data. Satellite view uses high-resolution images to give you a detailed view of your surroundings. A quick 10-minute session can use up to 30 MB of data.

Reducing data consumption

Here are three practical tips to reduce data usage while using Google Maps:

1. Download maps offline

One of the best features of Google Maps is the ability to download maps for offline use. Downloading a map typically requires over 100 MB, depending on the area’s size and detail. But once downloaded, you can navigate without using any data at all! Whenever possible, save your mobile data and download maps and updates over Wi-Fi. 

2. Avoid satellite view

Stick with the default Map view unless absolutely necessary. Satellite view, with its high-resolution images, uses significantly more data. By using the standard map view, you still get all the essential navigation information without the hefty data cost.

3. Data saver modes

In Google Maps settings, opt for data-saving modes and disable features you don’t need. You can turn off real-time traffic updates, which can consume a lot of data. Additionally, disable automatic rerouting and location sharing to further minimise data usage.

Tips for monitoring data usage

To keep tabs on how much data Google Maps is using, both iOS and Android devices make it easy.

iOS

  1. Open Settings: Start by opening the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Select Cellular: Scroll down and tap on “Cellular.”
  3. Check Data Usage: Under the Cellular Data section, you’ll see a list of apps and how much data they’ve used. Find Google Maps in this list to see its data consumption.
  4. Adjust Settings: If Google Maps is using too much data, you can toggle off its access to cellular data. This will restrict Google Maps to Wi-Fi only, preventing it from using your mobile data.

Android

  1. Open Settings: Start by opening the Settings app on your Android device.
  2. Select Network & Internet: Tap on “Network & Internet” or “Connections”.
  3. Go to Data Usage: Tap on “Data Usage” to view your overall data consumption.
  4. App Data Usage: Tap on “App Data Usage” to see a breakdown of data usage by individual apps. Find Google Maps in this list to check its data consumption.
  5. Adjust Settings: If Google Maps is using too much data, you can tap on it to access more settings. Here, you can restrict background data usage or enable data saver mode for the app, which limits its data usage while still allowing essential functions.

Comparing Google Maps with other navigation apps

Google Maps vs. Waze

Waze, another popular navigation app, gets tons of praise for its real-time traffic updates and user-reported alerts. However, when it comes to data usage, Waze can be slightly heavier due to its constant connectivity for live updates. 

Google Maps vs. Apple Maps

Apple Maps used to get terrible feedback for its location accuracy but has improved significantly over the years. Data consumption is relatively similar, but Apple Maps might use a bit more data due to its interface and updates.

Travelling? Download your travel eSIM and stay connected to Google Maps for every moment of your trip! 

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