In this day and age, internet connectivity has grown into a necessity and has made it easier to facilitate numerous services from the comfort of any place on any device. As a result, today, pretty much any service out there, irrespective of the type, has its footprint on the internet to reach a larger audience. So no matter what it is that you want to accomplish online, the dependence on the internet is immensely extensive and is increasing at a rapid pace each passing day.
However, that said, one of the things that concern and bring along a worrying thought for some, is poor connectivity, be it over broadband or cellular internet connection. In such instances, what you require is to have apps and services provide offline access to their services wherever possible. While access to certain offline features is useful for many, if you happen to be someone who is always on the road, or you work at/visit places with poor cellular connectivity, it can prove to be pretty beneficial. So here are our picks for the best essential offline apps you need to have on your smartphone.
10 Essential Offline Apps (Android and iOS)
1. Offline Navigation: Google Maps
Google Maps is one of the most preferred and used maps service on the internet. It is available for both Android and iOS and has a huge database comprising of a vast array of information that allows it to offer accurate location and navigation across different parts of the world. As a matter of fact, since Google Maps is one of the most trusted maps services, it is very likely that it is also your go-to mapping and navigation service of choice and that you use it on a fairly daily basis for your commute.
One of the interesting additions to Google Maps over the past few years has been the offline mode, which allows you to save maps for different locations and access them without an active internet connection. Although, for this, you need to download the map for a particular city/place beforehand. To do this, head over to the ‘Offline maps’ section in the app, and here, select and download the map for any place. Once done, you should be able to use the downloaded map to navigate places and also find nearby places like petrol stations, groceries, pharmacy, coffee shops, and more. So the next time you plan a trip, download the local map for the place to navigate your way through easily.
2. Offline Dictionary: Merriam-Webster
Of the various apps present on our phones, one of the most common, and probably the first one that gets downloaded on a new phone, is the dictionary app. While there are a bunch of different dictionary apps available on both Android and iOS, some of them are only limited to offering services with an internet connection, while others are not that good and reliable with their offerings. Moreover, if you are an iPhone user, you already get a built-in dictionary on iOS, called Look Up, which provides meanings for the words you highlight across any app on your phone, without the internet.
However, if you are looking for a more reliable and widely-acclaimed dictionary with a bunch of different features, and most importantly, offline access, you should definitely consider downloading the Merriam-Webster dictionary. It is available for free on both Android and iOS and offers an in-app purchase to upgrade to the pro version that offers an ad-free experience and presents more context to the meanings. Although, for most of our regular reference purposes, the free plan should cut it easily, and you should be able to use the offline feature along with access to other information like the history & etymology and use-case examples for better understanding.
3. Offline Translation: Google Translate
One of the essential utility apps that can prove to be a lifesaver in different instances is Google Translate. Coming from a tech-conglomerate like Google, which is basically a warehouse of all sorts of data and information on the internet, you get almost accurate translations across different languages. While the app offers real-time language detection and translation in the regular mode, it requires you to download the language database to be able to use offline, with no internet connection.
The first thing you need to do to be able to translate languages using Google Translate is to download the languages that you need/might need to translate content from to your native language. Moreover, as already mentioned, the language detection feature only works with an active internet connection, so you need to know and explicitly specify the language you are trying to translate text from to your native language while in the offline mode. Google Translate is available on both Android and iOS, and you can download language databases from the settings.
4. Offline Read-later: Pocket
One freedom that you enjoy with access to an internet connection all the time is the ability to visit different blogs and websites over and over again as the need be. And it is only when you do not have access to the internet that you realize the importance of bookmarking content that you need often. For this, there are various apps on both Android and iOS, but the one that provides offline mode along with some extra features is Pocket.
With Pocket, you need to, first, sign up for an account and set the reader preferences to your liking. Once done, you can then add any content you come across any app to your reading list on Pocket. And then go back in the app any time to read them without requiring an internet connection. While the free plan contains most of the essential features, you can upgrade to the premium to add more functionality.
5. Offline News: Newsify/FeedMe/Inoreader
Although you can use Pocket to save articles that come around as interesting to read later, it is not an ideal solution if you want to bookmark a lot of articles. For such use-case, you need a news app or an RSS reader with built-in offline mode to simplify your bookmarking and reading experience. While you can get a bunch of news apps for both Android and iOS, very few of them come with the offline access feature to allow you to read articles without requiring an internet connection.
If you are an iOS user, you can use the Newsify app to star items and save them for offline reading. Newsify is an RSS reader, which allows you to capture RSS feeds from different websites. It is available for free, with an in-app purchase offering access to an ad-free experience, along with a bunch of other features. On the other hand, if you have an Android device, you can use FeedMe, which is an offline RSS reader app from Feedly that allows you to take articles offline to access them without the internet.
However, if you want something with more features and customizability options, the Inoreader is a good option, and it is available for both Android and iOS. However, it does require you to upgrade to the premium plan to use the offline reading feature.
6. Offline Note-taking: Evernote
The ability to take notes on your phone and have them synced across all your devices (using the same account) is a godsend. You can easily take notes on one device and read it, append to it, or delete it from any other device. Although to be able to do so, you require internet connectivity. Similarly, another useful feature, which even some of the best note-taking apps miss out on is the ability to take notes while you are offline — a pretty useful feature for those who are always on-the-go and have to take notes now and then but have to face cellular connectivity issues.
For this purpose, an ideal note-taking app, available for both Android and iOS, is Evernote. The app allows you to take notes, to-dos, and reminders across any device, and categorically organize them into different notebooks to your liking. And most importantly, you can use it to take notes while you are offline and have them synced across all your devices when connected to the internet. Not to mention, you also get access to all your notes even when you are offline.
7. Offline Productivity: Google Drive and Docs
When it comes to productivity, one of the basic essentials for various general-purpose use-cases is Google suite of apps — Google Drive and Docs, in particular. While Drive is a cloud storage solution that allows you to store all your different files and documents on the cloud and access them anywhere, Docs, on the other hand, is a word processor for your writing needs. Considering the purpose of this listicle, which is to provide you essential apps that work offline, both Drive and Docs are essential and must-have apps for your Android or iOS smartphone.
With the apps installed on your phone, you can then go into the document that you want to avail offline, be it in Drive or Docs, and hit the ‘Make available offline’ button. After which, you can access them without an active internet connection and can also make changes and modify them. Later, when you connect your phone to the internet, the changes you made will reflect across all the devices you have synced your account on.
8. Offline Music: Spotify
There is no denying the fact that Spotify is one of the best music-streaming platforms out there. The service has a slew of titles from various artists and labels across different languages and genres, which accounts for a pretty huge music collection worldwide. It is present on both Android and iOS and can be downloaded for free. When it comes to service, the platform comes with a free and a premium subscription, which depending on the country you are in, offers different sets of functionalities under both plans.
If you are a Spotify premium user, you must be aware of the offline mode on the app, which allows you to take all your music offline to access in the absence of an internet connection. However, if you aren’t or are new to the service, you can upgrade your Spotify account to the premium subscription to download songs on your device and access them offline. Moreover, with the premium subscription, you also get high-quality music at 320kbps. So create your playlists and download them to your device to enjoy them offline. Besides, you can also use Spotify for listening podcasts.
9. Offline Podcast: Pocket Casts
Much like how you can take your playlists offline to access them offline on Spotify, you can pretty much do the same thing with Pocket Casts. For those unaware, Pocket Casts is a podcast app, present on both mobile platforms, with a huge collection of podcasts from different creators. When compared to some of the other third-party podcast or native podcast apps on Android and iOS, the discovery and listening experience on Pocket Casts is just unparalleled.
In addition to a wide range of features and customization options that you get on Pocket Casts, one of the most trivial ones, which can also be found on other podcast platforms, is the ability to download podcasts and avail them for offline access. So you can now shortlist and download all your favorite podcasts and listen to them without requiring an active internet connection.
10. Offline Book-reading: Kindle
For those who find their inner peace and a travel companion with books, the Kindle app is a must-have app on your smartphone. The app is available for free and can be downloaded on both Android and iOS. Once downloaded and set up, you can either purchase books separately or get the Kindle Unlimited monthly subscription to get access to a wide catalog of books that you can read without purchasing — this is particularly useful for those who read a lot.
Talking about offline access, once you purchase and download the book to your device, you get it instantly across all the different devices running the same Kindle account, including the Kindle eReader itself. So you can now read your ebooks without an internet connection. To add to that, you can view meanings for different words, highlight and bookmark text, and even add notes.
Those are our picks for all the essential and must-have offline apps you need to have on your Android or iOS device. Be it for productivity, information, or even entertainment, the apps mentioned above provide access to their services even in the offline mode, without requiring an internet connection, and have you covered for most of the daily operations/tasks you do regularly. So go ahead and download them on your phone to be able to perform your day-to-day essential operations/tasks uninterruptedly even when you are offline.