Managing KML and KMZ files on mobile devices

Google Earth has consistently been improving on mobile devices over time and last year’s update to version 6.2 brought a giant new feature to it — KML support.
While Google Earth on mobile supports KML and KMZ files, there still isn’t a native sync between your desktop and mobile versions of Earth. Here are some ways to help you load and view your favorite KML files on your mobile device.

Google Earth on Android

First, of course, find and save the placemarks that you want to view into a KMZ file and save that file somewhere on your computer. From there you have three main options.
1 – Email
The easiest way is likely to just email the file to yourself, then open it from the email account on your mobile device. This should work on most versions of Android and iOS.
2 – Sync it to another application
If you use Dropbox or Google Drive, you can save your file in there, open that application on your mobile device, then have it open the KMZ file with Google Earth. On Android you can also use an alternate file manger such as “Astro” to save and open the file.
3 – Sync it via Google “My Maps”
This last option doesn’t use Google Earth, but is a nice way to view KML content on the go. First, open Google Maps on your desktop and click “My Places” at the top of the left column. Create a new map, select the “Import” option at the top, and then import the KMZ file into that map. After you have saved the it you can open Google Maps on your device and choose the “Layers” button. Look for “My Maps” and you should find your new map in the list and can open it.
Google Earth on mobile is getting more powerful all the time, if for no other reason than because devices are becoming increasingly powerful with higher resolution screens. Google Earth on my Nexus 10 is stunning and will only get better as faster and sharper devices are released.
What is your favorite feature of Google Earth on your mobile device?

About Mickey Mellen

Mickey has been using Google Earth since it was released in 2005, and has created a variety of geo-related sites including Google Earth Hacks. He runs a web design firm in Marietta, GA, where he lives with his wife and two kids.

PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.


  1. Angel Sanchez says

    It would be great a way to select different tours within a KMZ/KML file in Google Earth on iOS. I tried with only one tour and it works really good. I added SketchUp models with textures and embed YouTube videos in placemarks and I just love it.

    • There appears to be issues with displaying kml files with google earth in the android version. Google does not offer an option to load a file directly from your android device’s storage. My guess is that google is trying to force everyone to lock into using their online services. kml files will display properly in the android version of google earth but you have to load them from google drive.

  2. can anyone enter on this site: maybe you will like them;)

  3. William McClenney says

    My favorite feature on Google Earth is the almost total dearth of features! Almost perfected in GE Mobile! I love the fact that you can’t set it so that north (or any direction for that matter) is always up because that would make GE useful. Also, I emailed my laptop’s myplaces.kml file to my android GS3. All of them are in the SW US.

    From the attached myplaces.kml file in the email (gmail) I did a “just once” import into both GE and another program called US Topo Maps (Atlogis).

    It worked fantastically!!!

    Upon starting GE it opened on Paris! Imagine that! I have no places saved in Europe so I was stunned (in the worst possible way) that it was so thoughtful as to take me to Paris. I mean I don’t have anything against Paris, but then I don’t have anything for it either. But the really interesting thing here is how did GE know that I wasn’t interested in Paris and definitely didn’t want it to go there?

    I mean THAT is simply brilliant! Just try getting your mind wrapped around that! I still cannot! Here I went and supposedly uploaded about 50 places I would like to visit and instead of opening on one of them, it opened on Paris which I could specifically care less about right now. Think about the intelligence at work here! If you now had fifty new sure bets, why wouldn’t you choose none of them? Why wouldn’t you choose something completely at random? Like Paris, which I never placemarked!

    After navigating back to the SW US, not a single placemark that was supposedly imported into both GE and US Topo Maps appears. I can’t see any of them on either program!!

    Now that IS useful!

    Truly, the more I use GE the less I want to. In fact the more I use any Google software the less I want to. I feel like I’m playing “I’m Feeling Lucky…” with a moron each time I do.

  4. It specifically says here in google maps that KML is not supported. Is there a work around?

  5. For anyone looking to open KML files in Google Maps instead on Android, it’s easy. All you need is the My Tracks app by Google (Free).

  6. I have always been able to upload a .kmz file on my google maps page on my desktop and then view the map on my iPhone when i log into my maps using google earth. Now Google earth on my iPhone says the operation couldn’t be……… Does anyone know how to fix this issue? Is this feature no longer available ?

    • I have the same issue too…I can open a file via email, but nothing is editable and once you close the app your pins are gone and you have to go back to your emailed kmz file to reopen it. Help!

  7. Have you found out if Google intends to allow maps and 3 buildings to appear in the OS App? I had some 3D buildings I created for a presentation and once I updated the app they no longer appear. I understand from reading several sources that this feature was disabled, however I am woundering if it will be re-instated

PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.