If you don’t pony up the cash for a 3G-enabled iPad 2, you won’t get the GPS capabilities of a carrier network connection. That means that, unless you are connected to a Wifi access point, the maps functionality of the iPad will not be able to track your location or give you live directions, etc.

The internal GPS is definitely one of the biggest pros for the 3G models of the iPad. With an internal GPS, the iPad can be a great navigation tool for your car’s dashboard. So, what can you do to get GPS on the iPad 2 without a 3G connection?

A new report claims that you can use the iPhone’s data connection through tethering to enable GPS functionality on the iPad

The AT&T and Verizon iPhone models now have Personal Hotspot functionality for creating a mobile hotspot out of your iPhone’s 3G data connection. If you jailbreak, apps like MyWi will also allow you to create a hotspot (for a considerably cheaper price).

By using Personal Hotspot to tether from his AT&T iPhone 4, Kyle Carmitchel was able to successfully enable GPS functionality with the iPad 2’s Maps app. Kyle was using the iPhone 4 to give a data connection to his iPad 2, and, to his surprise, GPS data was also sent to the iPad through the tethered connection.

What Kyle had to say about the experience,

“I decided to get some directions to make sure we were on track. I launched the iPads maps app, expecting to navigate the old fashioned way without GPS assistance — knowing full well that GPS only comes in the 3G iPad models. Imagine my surprise when my iPad pinpointed exactly where we were on the road.

Apple’s Wi-Fi only iOS devices have had location awareness for years via Wi-Fi location service that rely on identifying MAC addresses of nearby hotspots, and comparing those against a database of where those routers are located.

The location I’m getting on my Wi-Fi only iPad is most certainly not this. It is clear I am being fed GPS information from the phone, at what appears to be an interval of once a minute or so between refreshes (likely they didn’t do real time updating so as to go easy on the phone’s battery).

So far the iPad 2 is making an excellent travel companion, it makes for a fun and easy way to do some reading and get some work done while riding in the car, and is great for snapping a quick picture for Facebook too.”

Accuracy is an obvious problem with this method of enabling GPS on a Wifi-only iPad. While it’s not very obvious in the demo video, theAppleBlog points out that GPS tracking on the iPad is not as accurate with this tethered method.

It has not been confirmed that this method will also work with other tethering solutions, like MyWi from Cydia. Assumedly, it should work no matter what method on the iPhone is providing the tethered connection to the iPad.

If you have enabled Personal Hotspot on your iPhone, let us know if this method works on your iPad. Better yet, let us know if MyWi works the same way!

[via Cult of Mac]

  • MoMo

    I have used PDAnet on my 3GS to enable a untethered hotspot. I was just as surprised to find out that the maps app was able to track my “exact” location. I’m super glad that I didn’t break additional bread for the 3G service now.

  • JimmyK

    Why not just use the maps app on your iPhone and save the hassle????

    • Jason Masters

      Lmao I was just thinking that!! Unless the person is visually impaired maybe or just prefers a larger mapview?

  • Igeek

    Ummmm this is nothing new

  • Yea this is a cool feature, I’m using mywi to tether and it seems to know my exact location.

  • That is the reason why i nee iphone and ipad when in virgin forest.

  • daniel

    Does mywi pass information over bluetooth (using the new OnDemand feature)?

    • Igeek

      Yes it does use bluetooth

  • Atma

    I wish this could fix a GPS on the 3GS with iPad baseband 🙂

  • yeah iphone is better than ipad i think..

  • That is too much interesting thing for newer

  • That is why i like Iphone too much

  • Hi, with iOS 5 the situation is the same?


  • Hi, with iOS 5 the situation is the same?


  • What about through a bluetooth hostpot? This is the only way I can tether my 3GS to the iPad.

  • Dmitro shcherban

    Its not give suport for true gps instaled in your ipad you gonna need exterior wired or bluetooth chip and you can use your ipad like real gps with dont need any data or 3g support and if you travel sefe your rooming$$$$

  • RyArc

    Works for me on my IPAD Air (wifi only Jailed). I have Iphone 3gs (Jailbreak) with PDANet app for wifi hotspot, enable location services on 3GS (no need for Data & 3G services to be enabled). Connect my IPAD Air to the wifi hotspot from 3GS, run offline map application like CityMaps2Go or Google Maps on my IPAD Air and boom! location services works. Thanks to Alex Heath for the Idea.

  • jacbec

    I navigate using Waze on a 2013 iPad Air WiFi in my car. I use a Bad Elf GPS receiver (2nd photo) $105.28 from Amazon. Navigates fine w/o Cellular but no up-to-date route info and ETA. Using Personal Hotspot gives me everything. Use an iOttie Easy Smart Top iPad Car & Desk Mount (4th photo) which is terrific, easy to remove & reuse, iPad goes in & out effortlessly and only costs $29.28 from Amazon. I also use a MotionX-GPS Drive app that doesn’t need cellular at all.

  • Roland

    Unfortunately, it is an incorrect rumor that the iPhone shares its exact location via WiFi-Hotspot/Tethering with a WiFi-only iPad! The iPad uses its internal Wifi-Antenna to locate itself by using an Access-Point Database which works very well in cities but does NOT work on a country- or hiking-trip farther away from buildings (with Wifi)! I was very disappointed when I tried that in Australia!

    Apps like AirLocation running on the iPhone and the iPad could share the location but unfortunately not with other map-Apps!
    I guess Apple tries to push users to buy 3G-iPads not implementing this easy location-sharing functionality into iPhone’s Hotspot.

  • This article is very much helpful and i hope this will be an useful information for the needed one. Keep on updating these kinds of informative things…

  • great and nice blog thanks sharing..I just want to say that all the information you have given here is awesome…Thank you very much for this one. And i hope this will be useful for many people..

  • really wonderful article it is.