I have an iPad Pro, and noticed that its GPS will tell the location off by about 100 feet to 150 feet. Sometimes it says it cannot find any GPS signal, when the iPhone 6 has no issue at all.

The spec page of iPad Pro says that it has

Assisted GPS and GLONASS

at first I thought the aGPS is not as accurate as regular GPS, but then, it is the same specs as for iPhone 6 or iPhone 7.

So can it be fixed by software or will it require a hardware fix?

(if the GPS is to find a cafe or restaurant, it is no problem. But when playing Pokemon Go, it is annoying to be not at the exact location -- except one advantage is that you can scan an area slightly off to the real location, so it is like you can scan 2 areas at the same time if you use both the iPad Pro and the iPhone).

  • Do you mean actual GPS, i.e. in airplane mode using no wifi or phone mast assistance?
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 18:31
  • 1
    Do you have a data plan enabled on your iPad? Maybe you need one to enable cell tower triangulation.
    – user11633
    Commented Sep 27, 2016 at 4:31
  • @Tetsujin what I did was using my iPhone 6 or 7 as a hotspot, and the iPad Pro uses the hotspot (the iPad Pro has no mobile data capability itself) Commented Sep 27, 2016 at 9:23
  • @Phong my iPad Pro can only use Wifi Commented Sep 27, 2016 at 9:24

1 Answer 1


WiFi-only iPads do not include a GPS receiver; only the Wi-Fi + Cellular models do. That is why at times you can’t even get a GPS signal at all.

But when there are Wi-Fi signals around or when you have an Internet connection, your iPad can use that to figure out its location.

You don’t need a cellular signal in order to get a GPS lock. I’ve gone on plenty of hikes in the boonies with no cell signal, and ended up with a perfect map. The “assisted” part of "Assisted GPS” only uses cell tower triangulation to acquire a quicker GPS lock.

I don’t see a reason why Apple would disable the GPS radio unless you activated the iPad on a carrier network, so you should be able to use GPS on an iPad + cellular without a data plan.

  • hm, ok, the specs says "Wi-Fi + Cellular models" only has GPS... so I suppose when I use a hotspot to let the iPad Pro play Pokemon Go, it uses the Wifi to find out (or estimate) the location instead of GPS... so I wonder, if I get the "Wi-Fi + Cellular models", and not use cellular data, but again use hotspot as wifi, then will it have real GPS info Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 19:30
  • also, I have no way to try out: if I use wifi at home, but use VPN or proxy to tunnel to a different region or even a different country for the internet connection, will the "estimated location" be that different region or country? Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 19:34
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    I have no idea, but that might throw it off if it has nothing else to go on besides your IP address.
    – user11633
    Commented Sep 28, 2016 at 19:41
  • 1
    As far as the cellular signal goes, you don't need a cellular connection to get a GPS lock
    – user11633
    Commented Sep 30, 2016 at 3:14
  • It doesn't use only the hotspot you are connected to. It uses that and any other WiFi it can detect to generate an estimate of where you are. And yes, if you have a cell/GPS iPad, it will use cell, GPS, and WiFi to estimate location more accurately.
    – WGroleau
    Commented Jul 31, 2018 at 19:15

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