iPhone has GPS, and iPad 3G model has Assisted GPS. What's the difference between the two? Which is better? Do I need to buy GPS receiver if I want to get real GPS data?

1 Answer 1


The iPhone also has Assisted GPS. The iPhone page you pointed to only has abbreviated versions of the features; when you check the actual "specs" pages for both devices you get the same info.

Both get real GPS data (assuming one of the 3G versions of the iPad, the wifi-only versions have no GPS). The "assisted" part just means that it also uses cell tower locations and wifi networks it can detect to help narrow down your location, usually much faster than it can get a full GPS lock from the satellite signals.

In real-world experience they both work well, but both have fairly small GPS antennas. If you want really solid turn-by-turn directions while driving, an external GPS antenna is definitely helpful. Tom-Tom makes a pretty sweet combination mount, charger, and boosted GPS antenna.

  • Assisted GPS means the device (iPhone in this case) downloads some data needed for operation over mobile or WiFi network (from internet), instead over the GPS satellites (because it is much faster that way). Not that is uses cell towers and WiFi APs to determine location. (it does use wifi and towers to determine location, but that is not called Assisted GPS) Aug 19, 2021 at 12:55

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