Offline Usage

If you have no data plan and no internet service at home (or while camping), you may think your tablet or smartphone can only be useful as a computer in the hours that you are someplace with internet access, like the library. But think again. With a little planning and preparation, you can arrange for hours of offline activities.

I tried multiple different ways to save articles for reading offline, such as the Pocket app. But the thing that worked best for me back when I was still homeless was URL to PDF, an app found via this article.


Make sure they are playable offline. Some are. Some are not. Be mindful that some games will rapidly drain the battery, limiting how much time you can be on the tablet or smartphone under conditions where you don't have immediate access to electricity.

Some games I was able to play offline while homeless: Gummy Drop, FreeCiv, Tetris


You can watch videos that are either instructional or for entertainment. When I was homeless, I could not watch instructional videos at the library because you can only do that with headphones and I can't use headphones. They give me terrible ear infections. So downloading videos for offline viewing "at home" (in my tent) was an important part of my life. I also downloaded my favorite music videos and watched them over and over.


Some writing options include email drafts, blogger drafts and using various word processing apps. The blogger app is really good. It is one of my favorite and most used apps. But there are some functionality limitations, such as you can write posts but not pages, and certain formatting (html) things are difficult or impossible in the app. I would save to draft, sync it to my blogspot account when I was online again and then deal with details like formatting issues through the web interface.

Note that managing battery power can be a big issue for maximizing offline usage, especially if you are homeless, camping or otherwise finding yourself with limited ability to plug in.