How to Avoid Highways on Google Maps on Android

Google Maps Tip 1 of 9: Download and Use Google Maps Offline

Downloading Google Maps to use them offline is VER
Downloading Google Maps to use them offline is VERY easy.

Just Say “No” to Screenshots

Instead of relying on the screenshots you take before leaving WiFi behind, download the map of the area you’re traveling to and use Google Maps offline.

Even when you’re not traveling it makes sense to download the offline map of your home city too. It loads faster and saves you data.


There are a couple of ways to download Google Maps for offline use now. I prefer this one:

  1. When connected to the internet, open Google Maps and zoom in/out to the area you wish to save online.
  2. Type “ok maps” in the search bar and click Search.
  3. Confirm the area and download.
  4. When you no longer need the offline map, click the three horizontal lines on the top left -> Offline maps -> Select the map to delete -> Press delete.

Google Maps Tip 8 of 9: Make a Custom Route with Google Maps

Here’s how to make a custom route on Google Maps, save it for future use, and share it with others.

It’s not as easy as it should be because, for whatever reason, you can’t send a custom route with directions from your computer to your phone.

This leaves you with two options:

Option 1: Step-by-Step Directions With Less Control

With this option, you cannot drag the route to be

With this option, you cannot drag the route to be exactly what you like. You have to play with stops along the way to get Google’s directions to match your exact desired route.

  1. Open Google Maps on your phone or computer
  2. Enter two locations along your desired route.
  3. Add stops. Do it on your phone by tapping the three dots to the top right of your screen and tapping “Add Stop” in the options menu that opens up. On your computer, click “Add Destination” on the top left of your screen, just below the two locations you already input.
  4. Arrange your stops in their desired order.
  5. Fine-tune your route by adding more intermediary stops if the route Google Maps gives you isn’t exactly what you’d like.
  6. Share or save the route. On mobile, do it by tapping the three dots in the top right and selecting “Share Directions” in the options menu. On a computer, click “Details” to get the detailed step-by-step directions and click the share icon that appears to the left of the print icon.

Handy Tool: Google Maps limits you to 10 locations on a single route, but you can get around that limit by using More Than 10.

Option 2: Exact Route Without Step-by-Step Directions

Using this approach, you can make the route exactl

Using this approach, you can make the route exactly as you wish, but you won’t get Google’s step-by-step directions when you follow it:

  1. Open Google My Maps on your computer and make a new map, naming it however you wish.
  2. Click the “Add directions” icon underneath the search bar. This will open up a new Untitled Layer.
  3. Type in the locations—your starting point, destination, and points in between—in this new layer.
  4. Fine-tune your route any time by clicking and dragging the blue route line.
  5. Open this route on your phone by following the steps in Google Maps Trick #2 above. The line you made will show up, but Google Maps will not provide you the step-by-step directions.


Data Usage

User interface and features are great, but what about data usage? This factor plays a large role in determining the winner of the Waze vs Google Maps saga.

If you’re on a strict data plan, you’re already sucking down massive amounts of data from using Uber and Lyft.

If you don’t watch out for the data usage, you’ll start to pick up unwanted overages and extra charges.

Let’s take a look at how much data each app uses.

How much data does Waze use?

The amount of data that Waze uses is dependent on a number of factors, including the amount of time you use it, trip distance, etc..

But let’s take a look at a quick real-world example from our favorite source, Reddit.

My data: About 15MB average a month driving about one hour a day on average. So about 0.5 MB a day. Multiply that by 5 and that’s 2.5 MB a day if you drive for 5 hours. This is 35 MB for the two weeks you suggested.

This seems a bit low, but other drivers also seem to agree that they’re using something similar.

This is one of the biggest drawbacks of Waze – it requires a constant internet connection to function.

Unless you have Wi-Fi in your car, this means you can expect to use a significant amount of data anytime you’re using the app on the road.

How much data does Google Maps use?

Like Waze, the amount of data used by Google Maps depends on the factors listed above.

For this example, we’ll take a look at a recent post on the Andoid Apps section of Reddit:

I also checked the logs after the fact on my provider’s website. I saw that the data download occurred in bulk at the approximate time I left before the trip. There was very little data used while I was actually driving. The majority of the data downloaded all at once when I set the trip.

It looks like Google Maps might be a bit more efficient at managing the data used by the navigation app.

One of the reasons for this is because Google Maps offers the ability to download a location, switch data off, and still get to where you need to go.

This is a great feature if you’re traveling abroad and don’t have an international data plan. If your smartphone has a limited data plan, Google Maps is the clear choice, thanks to its reliable offline maps.

As long as you have your data on when you start your drive or when you need help rerouting, you can get to your destination with or without a connection.

Even if you have unlimited data, you may want to consider Google Maps for its offline functionality.

If you ever lose your signal — which can happen frequently in a moving vehicle, especially outside of the city — you won’t be stranded without directions when using the original mapping app.

Winner: Google Maps

Google Maps is the winner here because the ability to download maps while your connected to Wifi is a huge advantage.

Avoid Highways on Your Route in the iOS App

If you’re using the Google Maps app on your Android device or iPhone, you can easily avoid highways for the current route you’re planning.

  1. Open Google Maps on your mobile device and tap the Directions icon in blue on the lower right.

  2. Enter your starting and ending locations.

  3. Tap the three dots on the top right and then select Route options.

  4. Turn on the toggle for Avoid highways. Optionally, you can avoid tolls and ferries as well. And to retain the setting(s) for future directions you obtain, also enable the toggle for Remember settings.

Tap the back arrow to return to the route. You’ll see updated directions that take you away from highways.

Comparing Interfaces

The Waze app interface goes for style without giving up minimalism (which I’m a huge fan of). It has all the details you need and uses 3D graphics to grab your attention.

Waze initially targeted early adopters of tech who opted for a sleek and well-designed interface to bring them on board. And it’s been a successful approach.

Waze now has a Spotify integration and can even quickly identify the nearest gas station (Google Maps can do this to, but it takes a little bit more work).

Google Maps, on the other hand, has a pretty dated interface.

The downside to this is that it resembles Mapquest, a massive throwback to the late 90s/early 2000s.

The upside is that while simple and dated, there’s not a lot of fluff to get lost in, and minimal distractions to the user when driving around.

In terms of operation, Waze moves around a lot. The app changes locations, shifts, rotates, and pans when you change directions.

There are very bold, brash directions at the top of the app, which make missing a direction incredibly difficult.

As you drive, there are “pins” like potholes, speed traps, and traffic jams that pop up, and they are very easy to avoid.

Using Google Maps is similar to Waze, but very user-friendly. The Google Maps app also moves around, but only when necessary.

Google Maps also displays directions at the top of the app, and gives you plenty of notice when you need to take an action.

Winner: Google Maps

I like the interface of Google Maps better than the interface of Waze.

While the minimalism isn’t for everyone, I like it because it cuts down on distractions while I’m navigating to my destination.

What are the colored lines representing the Traffic Map?

The colored lines representing traffic conditions on major highways or streets refer to the speed at which one can travel on that road.

  • The red lines on the map mean highway traffic is moving at less than 25 miles / 40.2 km per hour and could indicate an accident or congestion on that route.
  • Yellow lines on the map indicate that traffic moves faster, from 25 to 50 miles / 40.2 to 80.46 km per hour.
  • Green lines on the traffic map indicate zipping along 50 miles / 80.46 km per hour or more.
  • If you see grey lines on the map, that indicates that there’s no traffic information available at the time.
  • The Red-black line on the map indicates extremely slow or stopped traffic

If you’re looking at traffic on city streets, where the speed limits are much lower than on the freeways, the colors take on more relative meaning. In this case, red (or red-black) lines indicate a lot of slow going and general congestion, while yellow color means that the traffic is a little better, but still not the best for your driving directions, and green color means traffic conditions are good.

The green part is the fastest, and dark red is slow traffic. If you see red in most of the route, avoid it, check alternate directions, and take it.

How does Google Maps™ make navigating your World faster and easier?

This Traffic Map from Google™ is a free service available to the public 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Its purpose is to help you make informed decisions about your journey by providing up-to-date information about current roads and forecasting traffic conditions. With this Online application of Traffic Map by Google™, you can see if there are any significant delays or a traffic jam on your route. If so, you can make a decision that will hopefully stop you from sitting in unexpected queues in your car. In short: This may mean you choose to travel at a different time or take a separate driving direction.

How does Google Traffic Map™ service work?

Traffic density is gathered via crowdsourcing from smartphone users using Google Maps™ on a mobile application route. In a nutshell, Google™ is analyzing the GPS-determined locations transmitted by a large number of smartphone users. By calculating users’ speed along the length of the road, Google™ can generate a Live Traffic Google Map™.

Where can I use the Google Traffic Map™ service?

Google Traffic™ is a feature on Google Maps™ which displays traffic conditions in real-time on major roads and highways in over 50 countries in the World.

Article Spotlight

We’ve been busy at iPhone Life creating new guides and updating our existing ones. With all the ongoing changes to the latest iPhone operating system, we’ve been updating our guides with fresh steps, videos, and screenshots! The Reminders App is a core app for iPhone users, and the 2022 Guide update is available to help you staying on top of your goals and responsibilities. This updated in-depth guide is available exclusively to iPhone Life Subscribers later this month.


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