Almost every one of us uses an unlimited data plan these days. That would mean you do not necessarily need to worry about the use of data. Of course, there are several means through which you can limit the use of data that your GPS would be using. But, even then, you would find that the data used by GPS or Google Maps would be considerably low.
To provide you a faster and quicker answer, GPS or Google maps do not much data when navigating. To be precise, GPS DOES NOT use any data when navigating. It should ideally be around 5 MB of data per hour of driving.
Having answered the question in a short answer there, let us now understand the concept in finer detail.
How much data does GPS Use?
Like we have already found out above, GPS does not consume more data when you are using it for moving from one place to another. In fact, for all the help that the GPS service provides you, it does consume around 5 MB of data per hour, and that would be the maximum.
Do note that the estimate above is based on the assumption that you are using the GPS service or Google Maps for navigation options alone. However, if you are using your navigation service – either Google Maps or any other navigation service – for finding the places to go for lunch or shopping, the data usage would be more than the measly 5 MB that we just talked about.
However, if you do not want to use even that much of data, it would be advisable to download an area map so that it can be used for offline use. Of course, you would be spending data for downloading the area map, but yes – it can be done through a WiFi connection.
Well, that option apart, there are a few other options that can be useful in making GPS or Google Maps use even less data than that. In fact, downloading Google Maps for an area would be one of the bright options. You can download the maps for offline use either on Android or iPhone.
However, using Google Maps offline can have its own disadvantages. When you have downloaded an area map, you will have downloaded the content that forms part of the download at that time period. The items like the nearby points of interest will save the data at the time of the download. The other details such as the holiday hours, special hours, and similar other details will not be available. That would mean, you would have no access to the real-time details of the points of interest you want to visit.
Yet another issue that you are likely to face when downloading the offline maps would be that it would not provide you the real-time road information. That would mean real-time traffic conditions such as last-minute diversions if any will not be available. You would only get access to the driving directions and as such pedestrians, cyclists and other transit users would not be able to use the best features offered by your navigation app.
How do different Navigation apps use data?
Like we already stated, Google Maps needs to use your mobile data only when it needs to search for the location that you are seeking and calculating a route. Once it does that, the rest of the driving would not need much of data consumption.
The average data would be around .73MB of mobile data for every 20 minutes of use for navigating. Ideally speaking, you would be using around 20 to 25 MB of data for a drive that spans around 3 to 5 hours. And that would be the maximum we would be talking about.
Waze, the fancier alternative to Google Maps, comes with a host of advanced and cool features. Despite more additional features, you would find it to be more economical when it comes to consuming data. Waze consumes around 0.2 MB data for 20 minutes of usage. Please note that we are talking about the GPS usage of the app, not downloading the additional content such as applications, maps, and extra features.
Apple Maps is yet another competitor to Google Maps, but may not be the best choice when it comes to the advanced features. The app focusses more on navigation and traffic conditions in a similar manner to Google Maps. Apple Maps does not come with a huge feature set, but if you look at the data consumption, you would find that it makes huge use of the data. Compared to the 0.72 MB data consumed by Google Maps for 20 minutes, Apple Maps uses a whopping 1.8 MB of data every 20 minutes.
Which GPS apps use your Mobile data?
Well, from the above discussion, it should be clear that GPS does not consume much of your data even when you are using any of the navigation apps among Google Maps, Apple Maps, or Waze.
GPS navigation is free and the navigation apps that we discussed here have their own high-efficiency properties. They do not consume much of your data. However, if you are still worried about consuming your data, it would be a good idea to opt for a WiFi to download the application updates, map downloads, and extra features. It may be a good idea to do it through a WiFi connection so that you do not need to consume your cellular data for any of those requirements.
Rather than worrying about the data you may end up consumed by GPS, it may be a good idea to ensure that you have opted for an unlimited data plan. That way, you can get access to the best experience of navigation than keeping yourself worried about data consumption.
Check out the best-unlimited data plans and get access to the best experience possible. Your data plan may also come with other additional benefits such as WiFi calling, video or music streaming, and other subscriptions.