- Microsoft drops support for offline maps on Windows 11.
- The Maps app will no longer have the ability to download apps by the end of 2023
- Users will have to look to alternative solutions, such as Google Maps or OSMAnd.
Microsoft is quietly dropping support of offline maps on Windows 11. After releasing a massive update introducing Copilot and many other AI features, the company is also planning to end support for some other features, including offline maps (via MSPowerUser).
If you open the Maps app, you will now notice an alert letting users know that the offline capability will no longer be available after the end of 2023. It’s unclear whether the company will keep maintaining the Maps app without the offline maps feature, but the change isn’t because of low usage or other factors. Instead, Microsoft has to drop support because the company is ending its agreement with Nokia Here, which has been providing the mapping and navigation business for many years.
Microsoft also has its Bing Maps service that could bring back the offline capability to the Maps app. In the past, the Bing Maps services relied heavily on Nokia Here, but that’s no longer the case.
As an alternative, after the support ends, you could use the Google Maps offline feature on your phone. You can even install the Google Maps Android app on Windows 11 by installing the Google Play Store. Or, using the Windows Subsystem for Android, you can install other alternatives like OSMAnd.
It’s worth noting that Microsoft, Amazon, Meta, and TomTom have joined together to create the “Overture Maps Foundation,” a non-profit organization founded in December 2022 to develop and maintain an open and interoperable map dataset that anyone can use for free in an effort to slow down the dominance of Google Maps and Apple Maps.