The Best Android Apps You Can Use Offline

Stay in touch — or even productive — without an Internet connection

Portrait of a mid adult woman backpacker using smartphone, Achensee, Tyrol, Austria

Alan Graf / Getty Images

Did you know there are lots of mobile apps you can use offline? It's so rare to be without a web connection these days, but it can still happen if you visit a rural area, travel abroad, stumble upon the occasional dead spot in someone's home, or while riding public transit. There are also times when you choose to disconnect, such as if you're reaching your monthly data limit and are worried about overage charges.

Luckily, there are lots of Android apps that offer either partial or full offline access so that you won't miss a podcast, favorite tune, or the latest news. Most of these apps are free, though some require you to upgrade to a premium version, which we've noted in the app write-ups below. Many of these apps even work together to create an even better offline experience. 

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Pocket by Read it Later

Screenshot of Pocket app sign-up page
What We Like
  • Easily track things you want to read.

  • Stores posts, doesn't just bookmark links.

  • Available for many platforms and browsers.

What We Don't Like
  • Items you save can get overwhelming.

  • Can't share multiple items with others.

Pocket is a desktop and mobile app that lets you collect everything you want to read or watch later in one place. Plus, the app allows you to access your stuff when offline, perfect for when you need some airplane reading or when you're on vacation. You can save content to your Pocket account from your computer, email, web browser, and even select mobile apps

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Amazon Kindle by Amazon and Google Play Books by Google

Portrait of smiling young woman looking at cell phone in underground train

Westend61 / Getty Images

What We Like
  • Cheaper to buy books.

  • Large book selection.

  • Easy to note or flag excerpts.

What We Don't Like
  • Lacks the feel and smell of real books.

  • Screensaver ads can be annoying.

This one may be obvious, but you can download books to read offline on the Amazon Kindle and Google Play Books apps. Just be sure to remember to complete the downloads while you have an internet connection. (You don't want to realize your mistake at 30,000 feet on a plane with costly Wi-Fi.)

Once you're back online, your progress with sync with any other devices you have, so you can resume reading on your Kindle device, tablet, or computer.

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Google Maps by Google

Google Maps
What We Like
  • Great features like parking location and navigation.

  • See traffic patterns.

  • Save time while traveling.

What We Don't Like
  • Requires an internet connection.

  • May overlook road construction.

  • Avoids side roads even when faster.

Google Maps offers full offline access to maps and turn-by-turn navigation, but it's not automatic. You have to save offline areas either to your device or an SD card if you have one, and then you can use Google Maps as you would when you're online.

You can get directions (driving, walking, cycling, transit, and flight), search for places (restaurants, hotels, and other businesses) within that area, and access turn-by-turn voice navigation. Offline access is a great feature to take advantage of when traveling abroad or visiting a remote area.

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Real Time Transit App by Transit App

Transit App
What We Like
  • Easily access bus timetables.

  • Schedules and routes available offline.

  • Find bus share and car rentals.

What We Don't Like
  • Mostly focused on U.S. locations.

  • Departure and arrival times are sometimes inaccurate.

An alternative to Google Maps is Transit, which offers real-time updates in more than 125 cities. You can access schedules, plan trips, learn about service disruptions, and even track your bus or train — when online. If you're offline, you can still access transit times, and if you've saved your area offline on Google Maps, you can view that map in the Transit app. 

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Podcast Player by Player FM Podcasts

What We Like
  • Easily find your favorite topics.

  • Available for web and mobile.

  • Useful recommendations.

  • Free to download and use.

What We Don't Like
  • Requires Gold plan for advanced features.

  • Next episode feature sometimes inaccurate.

Many podcast apps offer optional offline capabilities, but with Podcast Player by Player FM, it's baked right in. Unless you tell it otherwise, the app will download all of the podcasts you have subscribed to for offline access. The ability to download podcasts is a must-have feature for those who commute underground by subway and a great convenience for travelers. You can access podcasts on all sorts of topics, from travel to tech to comedy to riveting real-life stories.

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FeedMe by dataegg

What We Like
  • Lots of features.

  • Offline reading.

What We Don't Like
  • Unreliable app sync.

  • Feeds lack images.

  • Confusing settings.

RSS feeds aggregate content about topics you're interested in, but you have to be online to get the latest. The FeedMe app connects with top RSS apps, including Feedly, InoReader, Bazqux, The Older Reader, and Feedbin, so you can access all of your updates wherever you are without a connection. You can also save content from FeedMe to your Pocket, Evernote, Instapaper, and Readability accounts. Cool! 

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TripAdvisor Hotels Restaurants by TripAdvisor

What We Like
  • Book directly from the app.

  • Great for seeing user reviews.

  • Very convenient while traveling.

What We Don't Like
  • Many user reviews are poorly written.

  • Some reports of bogus positive reviews.

Chances are if you've planned a trip, you've landed on TripAdvisor, which offers reviews of hotels, attractions, restaurants, and more in countries all over the world. You can now download reviews and other helpful information for more than 300 cities for viewing offline in the mobile app. No more wasting time looking for the next Wi-Fi hotspot.

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Spotify Music by Spotify

What We Like
  • Fast music downloads.

  • Listen anywhere while offline.

What We Don't Like
  • Need internet access to download music.

  • Predownloading is required before going offline.

  • Downloads take up device memory.

While Spotify Music is free if you listen to ads, the premium version offers the ability to download your music for access offline so that you can bring your music everywhere, whether it's a plane, train, bus, or far-flung locale. Premium also removes ads so that you can enjoy your tunes uninterrupted.

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Google Drive by Google

Google Drive
What We Like
  • Useful offline convenience.

  • Access important files from anywhere.

What We Don't Like
  • Requires setting up syncing.

  • Changes won't sync until online again.

Need to capture notes or get work done while offline? The Google Drive app, which includes Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, and Google Drawings, lets you access and edit your files offline, syncing them when you reconnect. Just to be sure to mark the documents as available offline when you're still online. To do so, fire up the app, tap the "more" icon (three dots) next to a file, and then tap "Available Offline." You can also make all of your files available offline on your computer by downloading the desktop app.

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Evernote by Evernote Corporation

What We Like
  • Easy, automatic syncing.

  • Offline note-taking.

  • Integrates with many third-party apps.

What We Don't Like
  • Only syncs when online.

  • Initial sync requires internet access.

We love the Evernote note-taking app. It's a perfect place to store recipes, capture notes, and even capture recordings, images, and video. Best of all, if you upgrade to a Plus or Premium plan, you can access all of your notebooks offline. Once you're back online, your data will sync with all of the devices you use. These paid plans also let you forward emails into Evernote, which is a huge time saver. 

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Kiwix by Wikimedia CH

What We Like
  • Easy access to Wikipedia even when offline.

  • Convenient access to large database of information.

What We Don't Like
  • Syncing can be unreliable.

  • Navigation can be tedious.

As we all know, the internet was created to settle bar bets. Wikipedia and sites like it offer quick access to facts (some fact-checking required, of course). Kiwix takes all that information and gives it to you offline so that you can research to your heart's delight wherever you are.

You can download content from Wikipedia as well as Ubuntu documentation, WikiLeaks, Wikisource, WikiVoyage, and the like. Be sure to download before going offline and be aware that the files are going to be massive, so consider using an SD card or freeing up space on your device before proceeding.