One of the things I learned over the weekend was how much the iOS Maps app can actually cache. I had bought a measly 15 MB roaming data plan for a brief trip to New York City, but I found that the data was very quickly chewed up by iMessage, consulting maps, and checking the […]
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iOS Tip: You Can Cache Quite A Lot in the Maps App

One of the things I learned over the weekend was how much the iOS Maps app can actually cache. I had bought a measly 15 MB roaming data plan for a brief trip to New York City, but I found that the data was very quickly chewed up by iMessage, consulting maps, and checking the weather, so I operated my iPhone mainly in Airplane Mode over the weekend.

I ended up spending $3 for a 200+ MB offline maps application I never actually had the time (or bandwidth) to download, when all I really needed to do was use Wi-Fi at Starbucks to map a route between two points in the Maps app. To my surprise, the Maps app can cache quite a large area, especially if you use the “Directions” tab instead of “Search” (Tip: use “Standard” view for the best results). My iPad 2 had most of lower Manhattan in its cache, with the main avenues and streets clearly on display, and I could zoom in and out to show or hide smaller side streets.

This tip isn’t foolproof by any means, as switching apps too many times may clear the Maps cache, but if you can access Wi-Fi occasionally (hi, Starbucks!), the iPhone and iPad can function as surprisingly useful offline maps. This could well be worth a shot on your next weekend trip – especially if you want to save on roaming charges.

 

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