By Thibault — Posted on October 29, 2017

How many gigabytes do I need to use GPS on my phone? This is a question that comes up often and contrary to what one might think, GPS usage does not require much data.

Mobile applications, including GPS, are now optimized to minimize data consumption. The objective here is to provide the best possible user experience, especially in the areas with poor 3G or 4G signal strength. Thus, if you want to use GPS for a long road trip of 2-3 weeks, you will need less than 200MB of data and 1000MB is approximately equal to 1GB.

It’s even better if you could pre-load the map or the area you are set to explore. This will not just save data but also avoid network-related issues which are more common in United States than in Europe.
With Google Maps and TomTom GO Mobile, you can directly preload the maps onto your phone but with Waze app, maps can’t be saved offline. You will need to indicate the route before leaving. Once the routing is done, Waze will store all details of this map in cache and you will be able to use this information without mobile coverage.

Ultimately, what will consume most data during your trip are things like downloading or sending photos & even more, videos. Live videos that allow some social apps will consume several megabytes as well. Consider these usages to better estimate your data requirement. Also, if you intend to share your Smartphone’s internet connection with others (if your data plan allows), do take into account the number of users. This is also called hotspot / modem mode.

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