Using the iPod Touch for Navigation and Maps

iPod Touch GPS


The iPod touch has a super-high-resolution Retina display, front-facing and back-facing cameras, an A8 processor and impressive multiplayer gaming. However, a GPS chip — seemingly so essential in today's portable electronics — is missing. Apple doesn't say why the company left it out, but it's likely because the iPod touch doesn't have internet connectivity when it's away from a Wi-Fi signal.

Why does that matter? In order for many of the current crop of GPS navigation apps to function, they need always-on or nearly always-on connectivity. Many people access map information on the fly as they roll down the highway or along the trail. Navigation and location-aware apps also depend on connectivity to access information from search queries and databases. These apps are effectively useless without internet connectivity.

There are several ways to use the iPod touch for navigation and location-aware services. You can even GPS-enable the iPod touch with the right accessories.

The iPod touch isn't equipped with a GPS chip.

Using the iPod touch for Navigation and Maps Without GPS

Out of the box, the iPod touch is capable of significant location-aware functionality. As long as you're within range of a usable Wi-Fi signal, you can use real-time mapping and get turn-by-turn directions from point A to point B. The Maps app on the iPod touch lets you switch between standard views of maps, satellite images, and hybrids of both. The Maps app lets you tap to zoom, pan and change your view and shows you current traffic conditions as a street overlay.

The iPod touch can also take advantage of a slew of location-aware apps that draw on Wi-Fi connectivity to locate you and your friends and show you views and reviews of businesses and services near your location.

Adding GPS to the iPod Touch

To use location-aware services out of the reach of a Wi-Fi signal, you'll need an external GPS device. Each method is a separate device, not a software fix or internal adjustment to the device.

Any dedicated GPS transceiver that supports Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connections, and can pair with an iOS-based device, will work.