Does the iPad Have GPS? Can It Function as a GPS Device?

Couple in car using ipad with navigation

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The Cellular iPad model not only gives access to 4G LTE data it also includes an Assisted-GPS chip, which means it can pinpoint your location as accurate as most GPS devices. Even without this chip, the Wi-Fi version of the iPad can do a good job of locating where you are at using Wi-Fi triangulation. This isn't quite as accurate as the A-GPS chip, but you might be amazed at just how accurate it can be at detecting your location. 

Can an iPad Take the Place of a GPS Device?


The iPad comes with Apple Maps, which is a full-featured mapping service. Apple Maps combines Apple's mapping system with data from the popular GPS service TomTom. It can also be used hands-free by asking for directions using the Siri voice assistant and listening to the turn-by-turn directions. A recent update also gives Apple Maps access to transit directions, so you can use it as a guide while walking as well as driving.

While Apple Maps was criticized for being a step behind Google Maps when it was first released, it has come a long way in the intervening years. In addition to turn-by-turn directions, Apple Maps pairs with Yelp to give you quick access to reviews when browsing for stores and restaurants. 

One neat feature of Apple Maps is the ability to enter a 3D mode in major cities and areas. The 3D flyover mode gives a beautiful view of the city.

Alternatives to Apple Maps

Google Maps is the best alternative to Apple Maps, and it is available for free on the App Store. In fact, Google Maps now sports more features than it did when it came with the iPad by default. Google has added Google Maps Navigation, their hands-free turn-by-turn directions, which makes Google Maps an excellent GPS system.  

Similar to Apple Maps, you can pull up information about nearby stores and restaurants, including reviews. But what really sets Google Maps apart is Street View. This feature lets you put a pin down on the map and then get an actual view of the location as if you were standing on the street. You can even move around like you are driving. This is great for peeking at your destination so that you can actually recognize it when you get there. Street View isn't available in all locations, but if you live in a major city, most of it has probably been mapped. 

Both Apple Maps and Google Maps can plot alternative routes and give out traffic information along the route. One excellent use of both the apps is to check the route to work in the morning to see if rush hour traffic is causing any major delays. 

Waze is also a popular alternative. Waze uses social information and data collection to give you an accurate depiction of the traffic in your area. You can actually see Waze users on the map, and the app shows you the average traffic speed on major highways and interstates. You can also see information about construction and accidents that may cause delays.

Similar to Apple Maps and Google Maps, you can use Waze for turn-by-turn directions. But while it does a fairly good job in this arena, it's not quite up to where Apple and Google are with this feature. Waze is better used as a quick glance at traffic and driving around your local area rather than for longer trips.