Wi-Fi iPad 2 Gets GPS When Tethered To iPhone Using Personal Hotspot

iPad 2

If you already have iPhone 4 and planning to buy iPad 2 then there are couple of reasons you can opt for just the iPad 2 Wi-Fi only model instead of the 3G model.

First reason: you can tether your iPad to iPhone 4’s 3G data connection thanks to the new personal hotspot feature introduced in iOS 4.3 to surf the web while on the go. So if exceeding the data limits isn’t a concern then you don’t really need 3G.

Second reason: Kyle Carmitchel of Tablet Monsters has discovered that when you use iPhone 4’s 3G data connection, it also gets GPS information that can be used in the Maps application to get more accurate directions. This is quite useful as iPad Wi-Fi model does not come with assisted GPS like the iPad Wi-Fi + 3G model.

He reports:

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.

You can checkout the video to see it in action:

Kyle has observed that the iPad 2 gets the GPS information while tethered to an iPhone 4 at an interval of once a minute. Kyle also confirms that this will work on the first generation iPad.

This is a pretty cool hidden feature. Will you buy the iPad 2 Wi-Fi only model or still buy the iPad 2 3G model? Do you use the assisted GPS feature on your iPad? Let us know in the comments section below.

[TabletMonsters via Daring Fireball]

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  • Glad that will also work on the first gen iPad. When I get it, wifi only, tethered via MyWi.

  • George

    While a nice feature it suck and is completely useless for real time navigation like copilot or tom-tom so I’ll still be jail breaking so I can use a BT GPS receiver and use real nav apps

  • Robert

    Yep works for iPad 1 tried it out this morning. Used mywi on 4.2.1!

  • Corey

    so does that mean the iPhone 4 to iPad 2 via MyWi works with iPhone GPS?

  • FredMc

    This all depends on being able to jailbreak iPhone 4 and iPad2 running iOS 4.3

    I don’t care about unlock at this point, so if both are jailbroken you can tether the iPad and save $$$ and skip 3G

    • Kevin

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but you don’t NEED to jailbreak your iPad. Only the iPhone, so you can run MyWi. The iPad, I believe you can run stock, as it’s just connecting to another WiFi network (it just happens to be the one your phone creates).

      You’d only need to JB the iPad if you wanted to link it up with a 3rd party GPS, as George mentioned above.

      • bogs

        you would still need to jb the ipad if you want to use mywi on demand..otherwise, no..

        • DiabloZoe

          No you do not need to JB the ipad!! As you do not need to JB it to use the wifi in your house! Which the phone creates!

  • This friends makes my day.

  • Coolsir

    Not particular. You can do this with your iphone and ipod touch, too.

  • Lee

    I have a dumb question. Do the AT&T charging for using sharing hot spot? I have unlimited data plan and im planing to update to 4.3 for the benefit of the new features and the hot spot sharing thanks!!

    • Tony

      Not if you JB your iPhone and use MiWi to turn it into hotspot for iPad

    • Robert

      Yes. Att will charge an extra 20$ a month on top of your unlimited plan. You can JB and pay a one time fee of 20$ and use your current unlimited plan to tether with MyWi. Plus MyWi will use less battery power!!

  • Tony

    Great news, will skip 3G.

  • fas

    WiMi increased the prices to 20$ by doubling it.

  • Proto732

    My Novatel MiFi 2372 with AT&T SIM also provides GPS data to idevices.

    Fairly sure most of the MiFi’s do this.

  • dustonfoster

    don’t be cheap, just spend the extra 120+ for the 3g model.. the Iphone 4’s battery drains very quickly while being tethered.

    • Kevin


      1) Feel free to send me $120, if it’s such little issue to you. To some people, $120 makes a difference.

      2) It’s not just $120. It’s $120 up front, plus another monthly subscription to AT&T for $15-25 a month for dedicated 3G service to the iPad. Assuming you do that for a year at $25, that’s $300. So, the total is $420 additional.

      Or, I can save $420, get MyWi for $20, and get the same effect.

      Sorry. It’s not being cheap. It’s being smart and doing what makes the most sense for the individual.