Can the 3G iPad use GPS without 3G data?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by AirForceOne, Jan 16, 2011.

  1. macrumors member

    Jan 16, 2011
    Hello all

    I am totally new to the iPad as I am coming from the Android platform, so please excuse my ignorance.:)

    I was at first looking to get the WiFi only version of the iPad because I have a Nexus One running on AT&T and I would be able to connect the iPad to my normal WiFi at home, and when I am out and about in the car I can connect to my Nexus One using the Nexus's built in WiFi hotspot feature.

    However, I discovered in research that the WiFi only version does not have true GPS which would preclude using the iPad with navigation apps from the App Store.

    So here is what I want to do: buy the 3G iPad WITHOUT purchasing a data plan for the iPad and just connect it to my Nexus One via it's wiFi hotspot feature when I am in the car. I just need to know if I can use GPS for navigation apps on the iPad WITHOUT 3G data?

    I know this is probably a stupid question but I just want to make sure the GPS can be used when a SIM card is not installed in the iPad as I will not be purchasing a data plan.

    If this will work I will be buying the WiFi + 3G iPad for $629. Obviously I would be buying the WiFi only version if only it had built in I'm hoping my I can get what I'm looking for by spending the extra $130.

    Thank you for any help!!
  2. macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2010
    As far as I'm aware if you download navigation applications that have preloaded maps then you should be able to use the GPS without either your Nexus One or a 3G service.

    If you intend to use google maps then you will need the Wifi so it can pull the maps but not because it needs it to use GPS.
  3. AirForceOne, Jan 16, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2011

    thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 16, 2011
    Hi, thank you for your response.:)

    Well I was hoping to use both probably. Sometimes Google Maps and sometimes perhaps a paid turn by turn navigation app from the App Store.

    My dream is to use the iPad kinda like a TomTom except with that big beautiful screen, etc.., except not have to pay for data as I would be using the WiFi hotspot capability of my Nexus One(unlimited $30 data plan on AT&T).

    I just want to be able to access the full potential of the GPS in the 3G model without having to insert a SIM card or buy a data plan for the iPad.

    My worst fear is that I buy the 3G model, connect to my Nexus One via WiFi, and the iPad GPS not work.

    The whole point of what I'm trying to do is have an iPad that acts as if it's connected to 3G, for free, since it will be using the 3G from my Nexus via WiFi....I hope I'm making sense.:) All I need is for the GPS in the iPad to work even if it is not using 3G/SIM card.
  4. macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2010
    I have used the GPS without 3G many times, so no need to worry, it works fine.
  5. macrumors member

    Sep 21, 2010
    Sadly TomTom has not made a port of their iphone product for the iPad yet. So if you really want to enjoy TomTom id recommend jailbreaking your iPad and then installing retina display. Or you could just by Navigon for the iPad lol.
  6. macrumors member

    Jan 10, 2010
    Me too. GPS works fine when you have no data plan activated.
  7. macrumors 6502a


    May 2, 2010
    Value of iPad with gps and no data plan

    I have a 3G, but only just recently took the sim out making my 3G pad dataless.

    Just want to vouch for the iPad as a gps.

    Even if you have no intention of using data. The extra $130 makes for a really awesome mapping device. I think you are right on the money in your thinking.

    But not just for navigation of the roads, but also of the water ways (in a boat) and the stars (moon and sun). I am a photographer and the gps capable iPad for seeking out locations has been amazing...getting a few keys shots this past year that would have been much less likely to find.
  8. AirForceOne, Jan 16, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2011

    thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 16, 2011
    Hey thanks everyone!!!! I appreciate the help.:)

    Sounds great! I'm freaking excited about this purchase. My Nexus One is rooted to heck and back and I SOO love it, but I'm ready to try the Apple ecosystem the way it was intended and don't plan on jailbreaking any time soon. I want to get a real feel for what it is to own an Apple product, software included.

    I just wish Google would release Google Navigation for iPhone/iPad.:(

    I went browsing thru the App store and the only drawback I can see is the "perfect" navigation program ddoesn't seem to exist....all seem to be lacking a feature here or there.

    No-matter, between Google Maps and one or two Nav apps I think I'll make do.

    I was tempted at one point to wait for the WiFi only version of the Galaxy tab after seeing some of the demo videos on youtube of the Galaxy running Google Navigation, but damn when I picked one of those up it felt SO CHEAP. When I pick up an iPad it feels luxurious...and high end.:) I think the iPad the perfect match for my Nexus One. :)

    Thank you all again for your help, it is very much appreciated....I can hardly wait to use the iPad as a mapping/navigation device!!!! I'm pumped!!!:D
  9. macrumors 6502a


    May 2, 2010
    GPS HD by MotionX

    GPS HD by MotionX seems to be pretty awesome.

    I am sure there are others out there...the problem is trying before you buy. The company seems to be committed to a well done product with REGULAR updates, fixing things, making it better.

    It uses several sources to triangulate. It even has multiple maps (Google or bing) to choose from. And, it offers Marine...which was a plus for me...using it on both a small motor boat and a sail boat.
  10. thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 16, 2011
    Thanks for the suggestion, I'll check it out :)

    I'm loving the heck out of this...I don't have the iPad yet but I just created my Apple account and I'm browsing thru the App Store and finding all the apps I will want to download. I'm making note of the file sizes and then when I'm done I'm going to add them all up so I can get a *rough idea* on what size iPad storage I will want...16GB or 32, etc..

    I feel like a kid in a candy store. a lot of the apps I want are free too...Politico, Drudgreport, CNN, Google Voice etc.., etc...Then I'll splurge on a Navigation application and some games :)

    I even found the vids at youtube about how I can get push Gmail(instant notification)....this is going to be so freaking cool!!!:D:cool::)
  11. macrumors member

    Mar 19, 2010
    My experience has been that the space required by Apps is minuscule compared to what you will use for Music or Video.
  12. thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 16, 2011
    I won't be using it for music at all... have my Nexus for that which I can just put in my pocket. The gym is a perfect example...can't put the iPad in my pocket and lift weights. At home, I can browse the iPad with my Nexus One performing music duties. If I were to use the iPad for music it would be via Slacker radio.

    I won't be using it for movies either..I cannot deal with any kind of mobile device for viewing that long, even the iPad. I Will however use it for TV episodes...stuff like Seinfeld, The Honeymooners, King of Queens, Coach etc.. etc...

    My main use of the iPad will be to browse news type websites in the morning(and occasionally throughout the day along with some Angry Birds, etc..:D), as a navigation device when in the car, and for watching an episode of Seinfeld in bed.

    I'm starting to think the $630 WiFi + 3G 16GB is my sweet spot.

    I mean heck, I have a 4GB SD card I've never filled on my Nexus and as long as I can transfer episodes to my iPad when I know I'll need them and then delete later, I think I'll be good to go. If one of you guys thinks I'm in error here with my plans or I'm ignorant of something please let me know. :) I want to make sure I don't make a mistake or buy the wrong one because I am forgetting(or not aware of) something.
  13. macrumors newbie

    May 20, 2011
    Buying the ipad one was a waist of time and money

    So to your question: no! The I pad one does not support gps. It has no gps built in it and even when you connect it to your cell it dances around the screen and plays up on you, anoher sad factor Is that the apple team haven't even the decency to let you know you are going to pay 99.99 dollars on a application that will neve work, I feel abused and used.
    But hey man do what you think I right for you.
    Btw if you alread gonna buy an iPad at least get the iPad2.
  14. macrumors 6502a


    Jul 23, 2008
    New York
    if your going to be reading in the AM check out Zite and Flipboard, both incredible RSS apps that basically make magazines for you.
  15. macrumors 603

    Jun 14, 2010
    If you're talking about the wifi-only version, you are correct, there is no gps chip in either the ipad1 or ipad2. For gps functionality you must have the 3G version. The 3G ipad1 most definitely has gps, and no active data plan is needed if you use an app that stores maps locally.

    With that said, consider carefully how you'd use a gps app on the iPad. I only need gps when traveling for business since my personal car has built in nav. I find it much easier to use gps on my iPhone and tuck it in the upholder or console than to use the iPad. Without a holder, there's no good place to put it but on the passenger seat and even apart of the issue of having it so far from my field of view, sky reflections make it virtually unusable in that situation. Now if I had a passenger to wrangle the iPad that'd be a different matter... But I bet the passenger would rather be doing something else than serving as an iPad holder for me. :)

    If cost difference isn't a big issue, I concur with the recommendation to choose an ipad2 over 1. Having had both, I'm surprised at how much I prefer the thinner form of ipad2+smart cover with bestskinsever rear protection film vs the ipad1 with either Macally Bookstand case or Apple original case.
  16. macrumors 68030

    Sep 7, 2006
    Glad I found this thread, as I was wondering just this about GPS.

    Perhaps weirdly, for me I think the GPS is a bigger deal than the 3G, since Sprint's Virgin Mobile MiFi appears to be a better deal than AT&T or Verizon's service ($60/month for supposedly unlimited...they can throttle you past 2GB, but supposedly just to 1 or 2Mb/s, I forget which, which is still plenty fast ).

    So that's great to know I can actually use say Google Maps or Mapquest with the GPS, with data from another source!

    I think I'll get the Verizon one, since it seems like over 2GB (or between 250-1GB) data's cheaper with them, so in case I activate service on it instead of on Virgin...
  17. takeshi74, Aug 19, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2011

    macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
    Yup. Just as you can with any device out there. GPS receivers don't need data. Data requirements come from the app -- not the hardware.

    Nothing is perfect and perfect is highly subjective anyway.

    If a GPS receiver was a must have for you and you failed to verify then you only have yourself to blame. The specs are published. Apple didn't tell you it had a GPS receiver when it did not. Failure to research before buying is a failure on the buyer's behalf.
  18. macrumors 68030

    Sep 7, 2006
    Regarding the hardware itself, I think it's still a great question, since I think some cell phones don't have GPS hardware, only use triangulation.

    I GUESS both 3G iPads have actual GPS hardware though that functions independently, which is cool, although it would be cool if the wifi one had it too.

    I don't know how that stuff works...I mean I know it locks on to some satellites, but I don't know if it has a separate chip to do that, a separate antenna, or what. Very cool though!

    I've never used a real GPS unit, and part of the reason I used as an excuse to buy my iPad last night was that the Garmin $200+ unit I played with at Target last night was CRAZY slow. Like you pulled the map out, and it was just unusable.

    I complain that these iOS ARM devices are stupid slow next to a real PC, but the iPad runs circles around that stand alone unit!

    At least I hope it will, when running map software.

    I should look in to software that might work without a data connection...I think there is some for the iPad. Otherwise, I *think* the Mapquest program can do turn by turn verbal navigation, but only with an active connection...I think.

    Soon I too will be like Homer Simpson, driving through construction sites :-D
  19. macrumors 6502a

    Sep 27, 2010
    So Cal, USA

    The iPad is plenty fast with all the mapping apps I've used. If there's any lag, it's because it's pulling map data (i.e. with google maps).

    I reccomend Navigon. it's totally offline (no data required), native on the ipad, and it's a universal app for ipad/iphone (buy once, use on both).
  20. macrumors 68030

    Sep 7, 2006
    Nice, thanks! I'd never even HEARD of that so there's no chance I would have stumbled across it on my own! Only bad thing from the iTunes store is I can't see what region anything is for without clicking each one LOL.

    Sounds good though! TomTom I guess is only formatted for the 3.5" screen...which isn't the end of the world, but...

    Do you happen to know if they update road data for free or anything like that? I guess TomTom does (through updates to the program), which is handy.

    This is pretty cool...I'm going to have a GPS! :-D
  21. macrumors 6502a

    Sep 27, 2010
    So Cal, USA
    usually once you purchase an app all updates are free. so you will get map updates unless the developer stops releasing them. I think it's on sale right now too.

    TomTom does not have an iPad native version (it is only for iphone, 3.5" as you stated).
  22. Wolfpup, Aug 19, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2011

    macrumors 68030

    Sep 7, 2006
    Cool, thanks again! (So weird TomTom doesn't have it rejiggered for iPad, and...oh, I was thinking Garmin didn't have an iOS program, but they do, but it also doesn't have native iPad screen support.)

    EDIT: Wait...this is bizarre...Navigon is "A Garmin Company"?!? Well then...why do they have a separate product? Why does it support the iPad's screen while the "Garmin" version doesn't (and was only just released)?

    Well, this is all very confusing, but makes me feel even better about trying it. Geez, glad I found out about this GPS thing before I bought a Wifi only model! I've wanted a GPS for years, and it SOUNDS like the iPad may be a better GPS than a stand alone unit...

    EDIT2: Hmm...they have a "regional" version for the Midwest for just $20...I might just do that one since I'm not real clear on the whole concept. If I like it and I ever do real traveling I can always buy the North American version then.

    Now I'm randomly spamming my thoughts...from the feedback, some people are saying Navigon no longer supports North America, so while their product works great, roads aren't up to date, and Garmin's product is the one to go for. I guess I'll do that, if Navigon's really isn't being updated for NA anymore.
  23. macrumors G3

    Jul 4, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    If you are using Google Maps you need a data plan because all that map data is not store on your iPad, but with a paid App the map data is so you don't need a data plan except for add-ons like live traffic and weather.
  24. macrumors 68030

    Sep 7, 2006
    Ditto for Mapquest I guess (which even does voice directions, I guess).

    This is confusing though...sounds like Navigon is no longer supported for North America (maps aren't updated) and Garmin's thing reviews say the GPS isn't real strong, it sometimes loses voice prompts, and it keeps trying to redirect you to a highway even if that no longer makes sense from your current location.
  25. macrumors newbie

    May 1, 2012

    I have actually heard that if you use a Pocket WiFi hotspot system it will actually connect to the GPS and the function will work. This feature will also work with the personal hotspot feature on the iPhone and iPad 3G.:apple::apple::apple::apple::D

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