Must-use offline apps for travellers
The internet speeds that we get on our smartphones have improved significantly ever since the roll out of 4G networks last year, but the connection is still very inconsistent, especially when users are travelling to a location with few mobile towers or where 4G services have not been rolled out yet.
For users who rely on smartphones for their daily dose of news, social networking, entertainment or navigation, it’s better to use apps which work offline or have an optional offline mode.
The offline mode in Google Maps can help users navigate with the same accuracy even when there is no internet connection available. Users will miss out on a few things such as live traffic update. What makes it more user friendly is that users don’t have to download maps for specific cities, but can select any area within a city or an area covering several states. To download maps, go to Menu>Offline Maps>Select your own Map and tap on the download button.
Google Trips can come in handy for users planning a trip abroad. It provides a list of all popular as well as affordable options to eat, see, dine, stay and commute in some of most popular tourist destinations in the world. Its offline mode allows users to download all those details on their smartphones and save up the cost of browsing the app online. To access this feature, users can go to the cities they are travelling to and tap on the download button.
Offline access in social networking apps is still uncommon. Instagram is the only app with an offline mode. It works by downloading content when users have internet access and then save those posts so they can be accessed offline. The offline content can be accessed in the home page and user profile. The offline mode also allows users to react or comments to a post and follow or unfollow a person. The changes, however, will not reflect right away, but only when users are online again. The offline mode is active by default in Instagram.
Both Amazon Prime video and Netflix have offline modes with the option to download at lower video resolutions.
Netflix even allows users to download videos on external microSD cards so if the smartphone is low on internal storage users don’t have to worry about freeing it up at the last moment to make room.
The process of downloading a movie or TV series is almost similar in both the apps. Just tap on the down facing arrow icon and to access the saved content, go to the Downloads section on the menu page of the apps.
For music buffs, all music streaming apps have an offline mode. In both Apple Music and Saavn, it is part of the monthly subscription plan.
The newly added offline mode in Chrome app allows users to save news articles, videos and documents. Users can initiate a download even when they are offline and the page will be saved automatically when the connection is restored. To save a page, tap on the Menu icon at the top and then the down facing arrow icon. The page will be saved and can be accessed in the Download section of the Menu.
If using a third-party news aggregator such as Flipboard or other web browsers such as Firefox for the news feed, users can save stories from them on apps such as Instapaper or Pocket. They are free to download and use.
For avid readers, Google PlayBooks and Amazon Kindle apps have the option to download and read ebooks just like on the Kindle Reader.