To use GPS features on an iPhone without incurring steep data charges, turn off the Data Roaming option and use offline maps. Paid apps such as OffMaps 2 and Copilot Premium give you full-featured access to offline maps, though the capability is also available on Google Maps with some limitations.
- Prepare your offline maps
Open the Google Maps application and use the search bar to find the location you'd like to save. Once you've zoomed into it, enter "OK maps" into the search bar and save the location when prompted. You can do this before you leave the country or anywhere you can obtain Wi-Fi access after you've left. Google Maps keeps offline maps saved for 30 days.
- Turn off Data Roaming
Before leaving the country, turn off the Data Roaming feature on your device. On iOS 7 or higher, open the Settings app, then tap Network and slide the Data Roaming option to the Off position.
- Use your offline maps
Open the Google Maps application with your GPS on. If you are within the region you saved earlier, the map displays as normal. Take note, however, that point-of-interest search and navigation are not available on Google Maps while you are offline, though you can easily regain access to these features by going to an area with Wi-Fi. If you set your navigation destination on Google Maps before leaving the Wi-Fi area, turn-by-turn directions are cached and can be used as normal.