These days we get an endless amount of news, entertainment, work, and social media from our smartphones or laptops. But without an internet connection while traveling, on a plane, or enjoying the wild outdoors, it all disappears. It doesn’t have to, though, and with a little planning, apps like Spotify, Google Maps, and even Netflix work offline. Whether you disconnect on purpose or don’t have Wi-Fi, check out these useful offline apps so you never miss a beat or news story.
Google Maps (iOS/Android)
Often, you need Google Maps in areas without cell service or the internet, which is why it’s our first recommendation. Most people use maps apps for navigation, but that’s just one of many features. You can quickly find a place to eat (or rest) while on a new journey or look up your next destination. And luckily, you can do all of that without an internet connection by downloading maps offline to your phone.
This takes a little forethought as you’ll need to be online initially to save maps for offline access. Here’s a quick guide on how to save your maps. Then later in your travels, tap your profile image at the top right of Google Maps and select the offline maps section to get started. You can find a similar feature in Windows Maps for those on a Surface or laptop. And if you’re really going out into the middle of nowhere, try something like onX Maps for off-the-grid trails.
If you’re going somewhere with limited internet or plan on being offline, you’ll want to prepare some tunes or podcasts for offline listening. We could recommend several different services, and almost all of them offer some sort of offline mode, but Spotify is one of the best.
Depending on the platform, you can go into Settings, set your entire app into offline mode, or make select playlists, music collections, albums, or podcasts available for offline playback. Premium subscribers can save up to 10,000 songs. Either way, you’ll be able to jam-out no matter where life takes you.
Google Translate (iOS/Android)
Google Translate is one of those essential apps for anyone traveling, especially to a non-English-speaking region. You’ll want to be able to communicate anywhere and everywhere you go, even without a reliable internet connection. Luckily, Google Translate works offline.
You can translate up to 59+ languages in offline mode, it offers real-time translation, and you can even point the camera at signs and menus for instant translation as well. To be safe, we recommend downloading your native language and wherever you’re visiting while you still have an internet connection. Microsoft offers a similar app and offline mode with Translate for Windows.
Amazon Kindle (iOS/Android/PC/Mac)
Amazon Kindle is a great way to stay entertained with or without cell service. Avid readers know all about the Kindle app, which lets you read from anywhere. Whether it’s a free book or one you bought online, add it to your device, and you’re all set. Head to the Library section and tap on the downloaded section to start reading offline.
If you love to read news articles and web blogs like ours instead of books on Kindle, get the Pocket app and save articles and other content for offline viewing. When you don’t have time to read an article or know you’ll be offline later in the day, fire up the Pocket app (or the desktop extension) and save a link.
Pocket strips the page of any unnecessary clutter and serves up a cleaner reading experience. There’s even an option to let the app read a webpage back to you out loud.
For those unaware, you can download Netflix movies and shows for offline playback on all but the cheapest plan. So, open up Netflix and tap the “Downloads” option near the bottom to get started. It’ll even let you choose how much space to take up with movies, too, so you still have room on your device for other stuff.
This is especially helpful for traveling by car or plane, camping, or downtime where Wi-Fi isn’t an option. YouTube and Disney+ have a similar feature, too.
Offline Reader for Reddit (Android)
One of the most popular sites on the web is Reddit, and some fans will still want to check all their favorite subreddits even when they don’t have an internet connection. Thankfully, if you have an Android device, you can download Offline Reader for Reddit. This app saves anything for you to view later from entire subs, threads, comments, GIFs, and more. You can customize what gets saved and even set the app to hide content you’ve already viewed.
Sadly, this is only available on Android, but you can still save some of Reddit to view later on iOS with the Pocket app we mentioned earlier.
Offline Reader for Reddit is available on Android.
If you’re traveling somewhere new and lose cell service, you could be in big trouble. Make sure you’re prepared with apps like TripIt, a helpful app to manage your trip, even when you’re offline.
TripIt has been around forever, but it’s still one of the best apps to manage a trip. It can monitor your email for travel bookings and important updates, forward flight confirmations, and it’ll sync the latest updates and information whenever it does find an internet connection. That way, you’re ready to go, whether you have service or not.
Evernote is one of the most popular note-taking apps, thanks to a slew of useful features. If you’re always working, even on the go without the internet, you’ll love the offline notes option. Plus, once you get back online, it automatically syncs notes across as many devices as your plan supports.
Jot down notes, to-dos, or reminders on one device, then append to it or delete them from any other device. Plus, you’ll always have access to all of your notes or reminders, even when you’re offline. While we’re at it, here’s a list of a few other great writing apps that work offline.
Adobe Lightroom (iOS/Android/PC/Mac)
Photographers always have photos to edit or touchup, so don’t let the lack of internet slow down your productivity. Lightroom is a powerful tool, and most of its features still work in offline mode. That way, if you snap a beautiful landscape photo out in the wilderness, you can make edits while enjoying your morning coffee wherever you are.
Remember that you won’t have access to select presets, cloud photo storage, or things that need the internet. Offline mode is available for both mobile and desktop users. Pixlr is another popular photo editing tool that offers offline features as well.
Google Drive (iOS/Android/PC/Mac)
A lot of our work and personal lives revolve around Google Chrome and Google Drive, especially lately. If you ever use Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides to get work done, Google Drive will make life easier whenever you go offline as they’re all part of it.
Once Google Drive is installed and set up, you’ll be able to access your files offline and create and work on new files. Work doesn’t have to stop while you fly or when cell service and Wi-Fi disappears. When the internet connection is back, all changes will be saved to Drive’s servers and ready to go. It’s an essential tool that had to be included in this list.
Offline Games (iOS/Android)
There are a lot of great mobile games that work offline, too. Everything from Two Dots to Candy Crush. Whether you’re bored on a flight or relaxing at a cabin in the woods and want to pass the time, here are a few fun offline mobile games to keep you entertained.
- Alto’s Odyssey (iOS/Android): This casual yet fun indie game is an endless runner similar to Temple Run. Sandboard through Alto’s Odyssey while enjoying the in-game scenery, music, and everything else that made this an award-winning title.
- Crossy Road (iOS/Android): Sometimes simplicity is best, and Crossy Road nails that approach. This is a retro, “Why did the chicken cross the road” hopper game, and you’ll love it.
- Minecraft (iOS/Android): Does Minecraft need an explainer these days? It’s a hit classic, and yes, it works offline.
- Monument Valley (iOS/Android): Both the original game and Monument Valley 2 are award-winning titles with great visuals and excellent soundtracks and will help you exercise your brain. These brain-teaser puzzle games are a blast.
- Quiznoid (iOS/Android): This is a dedicated offline trivia game for those traveling or stuck without Wi-Fi. They have over 7,000 questions so you can play for hours.
Forest – Stay Focused (iOS/Android)
Our last recommendation is something a bit different but equally awesome. These days humans all have an addiction to smartphones. We’re constantly reaching for it out of habit, even when we’re on vacation, in the outdoors, or somewhere we know there isn’t any Wi-Fi or cell service. Yet, we reach for our phone anyway.
To avoid that, or to stay focused and be more productive, download the Forest app. When you open Forest, the app plants a virtual tree that slowly grows on your screen, but it’ll die the moment you close the app to do something else. It works offline and encourages users to stay off their phones and be “in the moment.” Eventually, you’ll grow an entire forest.
Plus, the app developers partnered with a real-tree-planting organization, Trees for the Future, to plant real trees on Earth, so it’s a win-win.