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I'm currently traveling for an extended period of time with an iPod Touch running iOS 5. I don't always have wi-fi access and I usually use the Maps application to look up my destination before leaving and then once I arrive the map is still cached in the app, even without connecting again to wi-fi. It helps me get around a new city and find my hostel or hotel.

The only thing keeping me from upgrading to iOS 6 is whether or not I will still be able to do this with the new Apple Maps. Is this possible in the new app?

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3 Answers 3

The exact method for map caching has not yet, to my understanding been clearly defined, no-one is sure if there is a particular amount of recently accessed mapping space reserved for caching, or if it works in a way similar to other apps and if the systems demands free space it could come along at any time and remove the temporary files in the cache.

There may be a formal method for achieving this in the new iOS7, or it may stay the same, i.e. an unknown function.

Anecdotally I can confirm that caching does work, for relatively large areas of mapping, having left the UK on a trip to DisneyLand Paris without data access - I previously "travelled" the route I intended to take at a reasonable zoom level from the point of entering France to the destination, (~5 hours driving) and was able to use GPS tracking overlaid on the cached maps for the entire journey there, and back again 3 days later. Whether it was necessary to pre-travel the route, and whether the zoom level affects anything I can't be sure (I suspect the maps details, as vectors, didn't care, but naming points and address overlaps may have required it for more detail).

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I would also say iOS 6 does a great job caching the route and shows whatever level of detail you had loaded when the device is still gathering location (airplane mode is not on) but the data connection is severed. –  bmike Sep 10 '13 at 13:37

Zoom out to show the region of the city you want to have offline in google maps. Then do a search for "ok maps" (without the quotes of course), then it will cache it.

There you go. http://www.imore.com/how-cache-maps-offline-use-google-maps-20-ios

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Maps in iOS 6 should actually do a better job of this, because it uses vector based maps, which use far less data than the old image-based tiles, which means they can stay in memory longer, and more can be cached.

You can test this yourself by loading up Maps for an area, then turning on Airplane Mode and browsing around. In my own testing I found I could keep maps for most of Toronto, although when zooming down, it lacked street names for some of the smallest streets.

Searching or routing won't work without a connection, but any route or places you searched for prior to disconnecting should stay in place as long as you don't clear them.

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The caching is definitely great. Irritatingly, I'm finding that it refuses to start following a route if it doesn't have the current location. This is even though I already have a route loaded and I'm perfectly willing to scroll through the steps manually. It's fine if I hit the Start button before going offline, though. –  gabedwrds Oct 3 '12 at 20:17

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