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Is A-GPS also working without an active 3G contract?
Say I buy an iPad 3G with an operator SIM card in place but don't pay for 3G service, will A-GPS still work or not?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

The GPS will still function, but it will take a bit longer to lock onto your location. Also, note that the built-in maps app doesn't have maps stored on the device. It downloads them real-time. This will work fine if you have WiFi, but not if you're offline.

To use the GPS for offline navigation, you'll need an app that stores the maps locally.

Here are some options:

NAVIGON Mobile Navigator has pretty good reviews. It's $59.99 in the US Store, and it also works with the iPhone.

CoPilot Live HD is half the price, but the reviews for it are pretty bad.

More info from Apple: (Click for source)

Verify that you have a cellular or Wi-Fi network connection. This allows the Assisted GPS (A-GPS) on the device to locate visible GPS satellites faster, in addition to providing initial location information using the Wi-Fi or cellular networks.

So, in essence, it works with our without a cellular connection or WiFi. It's just faster with it.

One more source: A thread on this very question in Apple's support forums.

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Do you know of such app? – Thomas Stock Mar 3 '11 at 17:54
I edited my answer with a couple examples. I can't vouch for either, since I don't have an iPad. – Ben Wyatt Mar 3 '11 at 20:59
I own Navigon, and I think it is terrific. Way better than my old Garmin and Magellan stand-alone units. Note that the software is now at list price; they have previously had deep-discounted sale prices. – Negrino Mar 3 '11 at 21:07
Thanks for the info, Negrino. I wasn't sure if that was the normal price or not, so I didn't want to comment on that. – Ben Wyatt Mar 3 '11 at 21:18
Yeah I bought Navigon back in December when it was on sale simply because it runs native on both iPhone and iPad. – Marc Mar 4 '11 at 14:08

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