According to some users’ reports, new in-app features suggest that Google Maps could soon no longer depend on network connectivity to run the service, and be based on Wi-Fi entirely. However, for the moment only a select number of users will be able to test two new features: alerts about mass transit delays and a Wi-Fi-only option.
To check whether the Wi-Fi option is available in your area, go to Settings in the Maps app and look for “Wi-Fi Only.” If the feature is there, you can turn it on to navigate on maps offline.
The feature was renamed from “Offline areas” because its initial functionality was to keep the service running even in regions where there was no network signal. Still, be wary that if you turn on the feature your maps will be disconnected from cellular data. Plus, the option will display the configuration screen for areas not covered by a mobile network.
After you enable the new feature, you’ll be prompted that “some” cellular data may still be used in the process. When the option is on, you’ll see a small bar on top of the screen.
The other option is especially appealing to people who travel a lot by train or other means of public transportation. Apparently, Google Maps team is working on a system to provide timely alerts on delays in mass transit.
Some users said that they received a message to configure their new option and switch on disruption alerts. Yet, in some cases, the feature failed to properly launch since the configuration screen vanished when the Maps was relaunched.
Experts believe that the incident may be either a glitch affecting some users’ devices or a sign that the feature wasn’t supposed to be made public just yet. Some other users had no problem in toggling the new feature on. This suggests that the company is working on a mass roll-out, even though the number of users that can have a look at the new option is now relatively small.
What’s clear is that the Wi-Fi only feature will be rolled out on an account basis. This means that you’ll benefit from the change on all your devices that are signed with the same account. Still, ensure that you have at least the Maps v9.32 on your devices first.
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