Using an ipad with cellular

I had an ipad that did not have cellular i bought a simple gps antenna and had great reception even when i hsd no cell service. Sadly it disappeared during s move Now i am looking at replacing the system but I don’t understand how i would get the same coverage if the ipad has a cellular. Does the gps work if you are not in cell service area? My iPhone doesn’t.
Would it be worth it to grt a crllu booster?
Or star link? Can you use star link while moving?
Is there a better way to get gps I will most likely be using gaia and onx .

RDinNHand AZ

Active member
I’ve used both an iPad with cellular and one w/o on remote trips in the SW. In the area I’ve gone there is no cell service so in either case I downloaded the needed maps (topo's in my case) and turned the cell off to conserve the battery on the cell enabled iPad. Then the topo program showed location fine. With the non-cell iPad I downloaded the maps and connected a bluetooth gps antenna to achieve the same results. Both gave acceptable results for driving and hiking.


Active member
If you have an app that downloads the maps ahead of time, the iPhone or iPad will both work fine for hiking or driving. Still miss the old Garmin app that downloaded all the maps to my phone and iPad. It was my favorite driving app.


There could be several confounding issues leading to variance in how different iPads & iPhones work without cell service.

Does the unit actually have it’s own GPS receiver? If it does then it has the capability to provide accurate location information without cell coverage. But having the capability and actually providing location can depend on the location settings within the device, whether the particular software has access to accurate location information or not.

You might try the support contacts for the software you use or plan on using and ask them what location settings on the apple device will insure their app will get the GPS information from your device.

Our experience is similar to others who have posted here - our iPad Pros (3rd generation with GPS recievers) and iPhone 11 Pros all provide GPS based location information to GAIA, CalTopo, AllTrails, CarryMap and Pocket Earth Pro - once we got the appropriate settings established on each device.


Backroad Explorer

I have been using Dual Bluetooth GPS Receivers for the last 10 years.
My first was the XGPS150A My currant Set Up is 9TH Gen iPad with the XGPS160 Sky Pro I like the 160 because it will pair with up to 5 devices at once.
So if you have kids they too can keep up with what is going on with your trip. Both of these receivers are FAA approved and very accurate. These are IMO are one of the best for the money.


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