When using our smartphone, we have become quite accustomed to being online all the time. Not only that, but more and more apps always require an internet connection. But what if you go offline for a while? Fortunately, there are still plenty of offline apps that you can enjoy yourself with.
Although there is always a chance that you will suddenly be without internet for a day unprepared, the chance is not very great these days. You can always switch to WiFi if 4G drops or vice versa. In this article we therefore mainly focus on the situation in which you know in advance that you will soon be without internet (for example on a plane or in a distant country) so that you can make preparations and download certain things when you are still connected. The apps we discuss have been selected with these kinds of situations in mind. Unless otherwise noted, all apps are for Android and iOS, and are free.
If we have to kick in an open door, then preferably right at the beginning. Although, that door is not that open, because there are still a lot of people who do not know that you can download most series and movies on Netflix to your smartphone. You simply navigate to the title you want to watch offline and press the down arrow icon next to the movie or episode. The downloaded content will appear in the tab Downloads. If you go abroad, make sure that you really stay offline, otherwise your location may prevent you from watching the downloaded content.
What applies to Netflix also applies to Spotify. The music service may be called a streaming service, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy your music offline. If you want to use this, navigate within the Spotify app to the content you want to download, a playlist or album for example. At the top of the list you can see behind the text To download a slider. As soon as you convert this, Spotify will start downloading the songs (think of your data bundle!). Without (online) logging in to Spotify, your songs will be stored for thirty days.
Because Waze relies heavily on the active user community, it is often thought that the app can only be used as long as there is an internet connection. Of course, this also applies to the social functions, but it is not necessary for a route description. Waze doesn't work like Google Maps where you have to download the specific map, this company does it a little more efficiently. You simply plan all the routes you want to drive (or walk) while you are still online and Waze automatically makes those specific routes available offline. The disadvantage is of course that you cannot deviate from your planning.
4 HERE WeGo
If you are looking for an app that allows you to easily download complete maps in a user-friendly way, then we recommend HERE WeGo. The app is wonderfully simple: you choose which country you are going to visit (which can of course also be the Netherlands) and then download the map. This obviously takes up a lot of storage capacity, but in return you get the freedom to navigate within the downloaded map without limits if your route turns out differently than you initially planned.
5 WiFi Map
It's great that there are so many apps that can help you with important data (or entertainment) without the internet, but no matter how well you plan, there is of course the possibility that you have to go online. An app like WiFi Map comes in very handy. Not only does this app show you where to find wireless network points near your current location, if they're protected (and the information has been shared with the app) you'll also get the network password, so you can quickly and easily can login. Remember, don't try to bank through such a connection!
Until recently, it was not possible to watch videos on YouTube without using all kinds of (forbidden) tricks. However, in August 2018, Google introduced YouTube Premium (formerly YouTube Red) in the Netherlands and Belgium. With YouTube Premium you can watch all videos on YouTube without ads and download them for offline viewing (of course, just like Netflix, this takes up a lot of storage capacity). It is not cheap, 16 euros per month, but thanks to the free trial month it is something you can try out if you go offline for a while.
There is a good chance that the moments when you do not have internet, it is precisely these moments when you have the time to relax and read a few things. This is where Pocket comes in, although it does require some preparation. When you come across an article that you think would be fun to read, save it using this app and it will be made available offline (including images and even videos). When you have time for it (and therefore also when you are offline) you can easily consume that content.
We don't have to tell you that you don't need the internet for e-books, that's exactly what makes this form of digital reading so attractive (and also the reason we didn't include e-book apps in this list) . Audiobooks, on the other hand, are booming, and just about every popular English-language book you can think of is available as an audiobook through Audible (an Amazon service). The app is free, for the service you pay 14.95 euros per month (with a free trial month) for which you can download a book every month. You can listen to those books offline, even when you cancel your subscription.
You could say that Storytel is the Dutch version of Audible. The big difference with Audible, in addition to the fact that the reading and audio books are in Dutch, is that you get unlimited access to all content that the site offers. How is that possible for a price tag that is 5 euros lower? Very simple: at Audible you buy the audiobook, at Storytel you buy access. You can listen offline indefinitely, but once you end your subscription, you also lose access to the books. In our opinion, ideal for when you are offline for a while, although you do have to plan in advance what you want to listen to.
All the apps we mention in this article are available for both Android and iOS, with the exception of podcasts. When you're without internet for a while, there's nothing better than sitting down, putting in your earplugs and enjoying an informative and/or entertaining podcast. This app is already built into your iPhone, namely the Podcasts app, for Android we recommend the Pocket Casts app. It is the only app in this article that is not free, but so extensive and pleasant that we accept the price tag of 3.99 euros.
11 Unit Converter & Conversion
Your smartphone is of course much more than a source of entertainment, even when you are offline. We are used to being able to convert and convert everything online just like that, which means that we don't have that knowledge (anymore) at the ready. How many grams of flour is a tablespoon? What is an inch in centimeters? This app (also for iOS) allows you to convert and convert dozens of things like this, without the need for internet (with the exception of currencies, because that requires the current rate).
We already mentioned it: we are used to having knowledge in our pocket these days. Gone are the days when we had to look up something in a physical encyclopedia. But what if you go offline and no longer have access to, say, Wikipedia? Then don't you take that encyclopedia with you? Kiwix allows you to store the entire content of Wikipedia (and many other sources of information) in heavily compressed form on your iPhone or Android device. This of course still takes up a lot of space, but you have the guarantee that you will never be without information again.
13 Asphalt 8: Airborne
Finally, a few fun games to have in your pocket. You would think that you don't need internet to play games, but unfortunately more and more games are designed in such a way that you do need an active connection, for example because of Pay to Play (the development where playing is seriously hindered unless you makes app purchases). Asphalt 8: Airborne is just a nice old-fashioned game: install and play. A spectacular racing game that will definitely keep you entertained. In-app purchases are possible, but not necessary.
Completely different from racing, this side-scrolling game is Badland. A game with beautiful graphics where you have to help creatures through a world of obstacles, something that is much less simple than it sounds. What's nice about Badland is that it's both a mindless game that you can play at any time in between, and a game where you sometimes have to think really hard to solve the puzzles. The game is free, but it does load you with ads while playing, so it's worth considering turning this off (for a fee) while you're still online.
15 Plants vs. Zombies™ 2
Finally, a game that we have enjoyed immensely in recent years, and that has been sold so often that it is now free to download for both Android and iOS. The concept is as bizarre as it is brilliant: zombies are attacking your garden, and you have to put the right plants in the ground to prevent these zombies from reaching your house. A huge amount of levels and a considerable degree of difficulty ensure that you can easily survive a ten-hour internet-free flight with this game, although we admit that you have to be able to handle your loss, because you will lose!