Waze has become incredibly popular for navigating travelers to their destinations, but one drawback has been the inability to use Waze without an internet connection. But there’s actually a trick to being able to use Waze offline, and we’re here to show you exactly how to do it.
So, buckle up! We’ve got places to go and things to do!
What Is Waze?
Waze is a navigation app for both Android and iPhone that’s free to use. One of the things that makes Waze so cool is the fact that it uses crowd-sourced, real-time traffic details from others on the road to help you to avoid traffic hang-ups and to grab the best route to your destination.
Waze is essentially navigation software with real-time community-based traffic reports! It uses data from other app users to tell you how best to get to where you’re going, avoiding current traffic snags or other hold-ups. So, if a Waze user ahead of you on your route runs into a big traffic snag, you’ll get an alert notifying you to avoid that area, and it’ll show you how to re-route.
How Does Waze Work?
Waze uses a crowdsourcing engine to provide quick navigation routes with information from your fellow Waze app users. Waze users all over the world contribute most of the data provided by the app.
So, for example, if someone reports a traffic jam, all other drivers whose routes have been programmed to go through that location will receive a warning that there’s a traffic jam on their route. The same goes for accidents, vehicles blocking roads, and even speed traps. Some users even report roadkill.
Waze automatically generates data as your app is running on your mobile device (or on CarPlay or Android Auto, etc.). So, if you’ve got the app open on your screen, you’ll be able to grab info including turning directions, average speed, and other factors that make the Waze routing more accurate.
Waze can even give you real-time gas prices and local store reviews.
But here’s the rub:
All of these features require a connection to the Internet. Waze collects the data and uploads it to Waze servers and from there the information is distributed to Waze users. While it does generate improved routes for users, an active data connection is absolutely necessary to take full advantage. When you use Waze offline, be aware you’re not getting the full experience.
Are Offline Maps Available When Using Waze?
No. Unlike Google Maps, which allows users to download maps specifically for offline use, offline maps are not available while using Waze.
But… you can still use Waze without an internet connection.
And that brings us to the main point of this post:
How to Use Waze Offline (Without an Internet Connection)
To use Waze offline, you’ll need to set up your destination while you DO have an internet connection.
If you configure your desired route while you’re still online (for example, before leaving your home, hotel, campground, or public WiFi network – anywhere you have an active Internet connection), you’ll be able to use Waze in offline mode.
Once you’ve configured your route while connected to the Internet, then, you can go offline and the Waze app will continue to provide basic navigation.
What you need to know, however, is that you won’t be able to take advantage of many of the Waze benefits such as real-time traffic reports and information, or updated routes.
The good news is that Waze will continue to guide you to your destination, similar to the offline maps in Google Maps. You’ll be provided directions and ETA, and that’s about all.
So, here’s how to use the Waze app offline:
- Open the app.
- Enter the location of your destination. (If your starting point is different from your current position, you may indicate that.)
- Once you’ve set the route to your destination, hit the GO button (as though you’re ready to travel to the destination). Now Waze will determine your most efficient route, considering traffic as well as other factors, and will store the information (save it to memory).
Now, when you’re ready to travel, you’ll be able to use the route without Internet access because the data is stored.
What If I Close the Waze App?
If you close the Waze app on your smartphone or tablet, the data you saved while your device was connected will remain.
This means that you can actually save multiple different destinations in Waze memory for use later.
If you want to use a previously recorded route, here’s how you can enable navigation even if your device isn’t connected to the Internet:
- Make sure your device is not connected to the Internet. (It needs to be disconnected for this to work.)
- Open the Waze app
- Tap the “Search” icon to open your collection of previously set routes.
- Check the “Favorites” tab which should display your search history. There you can add locations you visit frequently so you won’t need to recreate them in the future.
- Select any destination you created while the app was connected to the Internet and use the navigation tool to travel to that location.
Does Waze Have an RV-Specific Option?
No. It’s important to note that Waze does NOT include an RV-specific option to ensure a route that avoids overweight situations, low overpasses, propane restrictions, etc. You’d need to use a different, RV-specific GPS device or app, like those listed in our RV Trip Planner article.
Understanding that using Waze offline means losing one of its’ key benefits (real-time traffic alerts), if you’re a Waze user who has used the app in offline mode while traveling in your RV, we’d love to hear about your experience and/or any additional tips you may have to share. Drop us a note in the comments below!
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