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How much mobile data does Google Maps use (and can it use less)?

By Mint Fox

Originally published March 22, 2022


Last Updated April 16, 2023

mint fox using google maps while driving

Let’s face it – when traveling anywhere outside your home zip code, you probably need to consult a map to get where you’re going. Reading a giant paper map while driving is a hard no, so that leaves your phone…which is close-by anyway because you’re probably listening to Spotify (and hopefully not using all your data on music & podcasts). Now we all know Google Maps is the go-to navigation app, but, unless you have Wi-Fi in your car, it’s going to use your mobile data to keep you on the right path (and up to speed). Just how much data it uses is up to you. And yes, there will be more travel puns.

In this article

Does Google Maps use a lot of data?

The good news is Google Maps actually uses significantly less mobile data than some of the other apps you probably open every day. It’s estimated that Google Maps eats up about 3 – 5 MB of data per hour of use. That means one hour of listening to directions from the app uses as much data as listening to a couple of 3 minute songs on Spotify (maybe try headbanging to Google Maps directions instead??).

How to reduce Google Maps’ data usage

If 5 MB of data per hour is no biggie to you, feel free to continue using Google Maps however you wish. But if saving data (& money) really gets your motor running, keep reading. 

At Mint Mobile, we really like saving you money, and one way of doing that is by helping you reduce your data usage anywhere you can (including while watching videos on YouTube, streaming music on Spotify, making FaceTime calls, and uploading TikToks…all of which you should NOT be doing while behind the wheel). While Google Maps doesn’t use a ton of data, there are still ways to make it use even less. We’ll assume you’d like to know these hacks and that’s what drove you to this blog in the first place. 

1. Search your destination over Wi-Fi

Just for safety’s sake, you shouldn’t be trying to find anything in Google Maps while driving. We didn’t think that needed to be said, but here we are. However, searching for a location with the app is actually what uses the most data. So if you find your destination and chart your course while connected to Wi-Fi, before you get in the car, that’ll reduce your Google Maps data usage by almost half.

2. Download directions from Google Maps to use offline

In addition to locking in your address and charting your course via Wi-Fi, you also have the ability to download the area map & directions for offline use. 

How to download maps from Google Maps:

  • Search your destination – Enter the address of the place you’re traveling to into Google Maps.
  • Open the information tab at the bottom – This should show you more details about the destination.
  • Download the map from the options menu – Tap on the three dots in the top right corner and select “Download Offline Map.” 

Downloading maps to use offline reduces your Google Maps data usage to pretty much nothing, but it does have its drawbacks. When you use Google Maps offline, you’re getting information that was relevant at the time you downloaded the map & directions. So, on the off chance you get stuck in an unexpected cantaloupe spill, you won’t have that live traffic update directing you to a different route.

mint fix saving money with mint mobile tips on how to reduce google maps data

Now you know how to make every MB count when using Google Maps, so you can buckle down on your data usage every time you buckle up. And if you’re a Mint Mobile subscriber, getting your data usage down might result in us telling you to renew onto a lower-priced plan to save even more money. Not a Mint Mobile subscriber yet? Well, allow us to do our best Google Maps impression and point you in the right direction. Oh, and sorry again for all the travel puns. Bon Voyage.

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