Need active 3G serv for GPS?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by DotCom2, May 26, 2010.

  1. DotCom2 macrumors 68040

    Feb 22, 2009
    I currently own the WiFi model but am thinking of getting the 3G model for the GPS feature but what I want to know is do I need to have the 3G service activated in order to take advantage of the GPS or does the fact that it has the GPS chip in it enough to give me at least some sort of guidance?
  2. Batt macrumors 65816


    Dec 17, 2007
    Syracuse, NY
  3. billyzenme macrumors member

    Dec 21, 2009
    if you already have preloaded maps like Navigon and TomTom, then you do not need 3G service to use the GPS in your iPad 3G.
  4. DotCom2 thread starter macrumors 68040

    Feb 22, 2009
    I do not have maps loaded like Navigon or TomTom since I only have the Wifi version but if that is the requirement for having GPS traking without having to activate the 3G service, it's worth looking into.
    Thank you.
  5. virtualandy macrumors newbie

    May 25, 2010
    I guess I just need to try this on my iphone, buuut...

    Can you open a GPS app w/out the 3G service and see your location/altitude? I forget if you can w/ the iphone on airplane mode.

    Starting to get wifi-only remorse, if the GPS works great even without 3G i'll probably return it and make the switch.
  6. The General macrumors 601

    Jul 7, 2006
    iPad 3G has Assisted GPS.

    You will need some sort of data connection. GPRS, EDGE, 3G, doesn't matter. That's how Assisted GPS works. It asks the cell towers which satellites are in view, where they are, what frequencies they are transmitting on, etc, and then trilaterates its possition using that information.

    The GPS will not work without a data connection to the cell towers. WiFi will not do.
  7. Type121 macrumors regular

    Jul 5, 2004
    No, the iPad can derive a fix without the connection. It will just take longer, several minutes longer in the case of a cold start. All the necessary info is transmitted by the satellites. The "assisted" part of the GPS just downloads the ephemeris data over the air much more quickly than if the GPS chip has to pull it from the very slow GPS signal.
  8. billyzenme macrumors member

    Dec 21, 2009
  9. jtara macrumors 65816

    Mar 23, 2009
    You do NOT need 3G service to use the GPS on iPad 3G.

    The point the poster above was making about navigation apps is that they will not work without 3G service if they need to download maps on-the-fly. Apps that have the maps pre-installed will work just fine.

    The GPS chipset on iPad is so superior to that on iPhone (even without 3G assistance) that it is both faster to get a fix (even unassisted) and more accurate than iPhone (at least vs. my iPhone 3G model. May be different with 3GS.)

    BTW, I have an iPhone 3G, an iPad 3G, and am developing a location-aware app.
  10. carpets macrumors member


    Jul 11, 2008
    Warwickshire, UK.
    As I understand it, even without a sim card in the iPad, it will still be able to get a signal from the cell towers and speed up finding your exact location.

    If you think about it, any mobile phone can make an emergency call even without a sim card inside.;)
  11. kaelell macrumors 6502

    Nov 16, 2009
    but its not a phone :p
  12. carpets macrumors member


    Jul 11, 2008
    Warwickshire, UK.
    But surely the principles are the same?

    If a device is capable of using a mobile phone network without a sim card, then surely that would apply to any similar device whether it has the ability to communicate verbally or not.
  13. T4R06 macrumors 65816

    Oct 8, 2007
    When using as gps my iPad is on airplane mode to save a little battery.

    So yes, our iPad 3G has a chip built-in inside. Sorry wifi folks...
  14. AndyfromTucson macrumors member

    Jan 10, 2010
    I have an iPad 3G where I have never turned on the 3G. The other day I used the built-in Maps app to look at maps for my surrounding area at a number of zoom levels. Then I took the iPad along while my wife and I drove some errands. Even without any data connection at all I was able to see the maps I had viewed previously in Maps app and track our position on the maps using GPS. It seemed like the Maps app caches maps for offline use? At least for a while? Has anyone else seen this?
  15. redman042 macrumors 68030


    Jun 13, 2008
    Yes this is true.

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