A Complete Guide to Convert iPad to Standalone GPS.

Last Updated: September 22, 2017

Don’t throw away your old iPads, you can easily convert iPad into GPS with few additional device and Map app. iPad GPS is a good choice for long-time drivers and business folks. The tablet converted GPS offers extended battery backup (compared to dedicated GPS device), large screen, and also you can switch or upgrade any GPS apps on iPad based on your choice. This solution will work for any model of iPad (like iPad mini or iPad Air) with both WiFi and Cellular iPad models.

Nevertheless, iPads are not built to work as GPS out the box like iPhones or Android GPS tablets. Apple’s Cellular iPads can track your location while you travel. Unfortunately, we cannot use this feature for our GPS map applications. Most of the time, iOS is using the cell tower location and other data connection networks to track you iPad rather than using any dedicated built in GPS unit. However, you can easily convert your iPad into a car GPS by spending some additional bucks to buy some gadgets.

External GPS for iPad

Now let us see what other devices you need to convert your iPad into a dedicated GPS Unit. The first one you need a GPS sensor that should be compatible with your iPad. The compatibility of the external GPS depends on two factors, iOS version, and the supporting app. When you select the wired GPS Sensor, please make sure the GPS unit is compatible with your iPad connector. Old iPad versions are coming with the 32 pin connector while the new ones are with lightning connector. We are using here a Bluetooth based GPS sensor and we do not need to worry about the hard wiring. Also, I can use the iPad port to connect my car power supply to charge the battery while driving.

XGPS150A Bluetooth GPS Receiver

Connectivity: Bluetooth | Accuracy: +/- 2.5m, Max speed: 1,150 mph | Max altitude:  59,000 ft | Battery Life: 8.5 hours  | Free App | Supports: iPhone, iPad, Android, Mac, Windows | Download app: iTunes Link | Buy from Amazon

This is a multi purpose Universal Bluetooth GPS Receiver with Wide Area Augmentation System and Portable Attachment. This GPS model is powerful to connect multiple satellites to provide high accuracy and GPS coordinates (+/- 2.5m).

XGPS150ABluetooth GPS Receiver
You can connect to this GPS model to your iPad via Bluetooth and the app coming for this GPS model help you for additional settings and customization if required.iPad GPS Module App
The GPS unit supports up to 8.5 hours of battery life and you can connect the USB charging cord to the GPS unit to recharge the internal battery while using the GPS unit.

Alternative Choice: Garmin GLO Portable GPS | Connectivity: Bluetooth | Battery Life: 12 hours | Buy from Amazon

Stand Cradle for iPad

Supports: iPad Air/4/3/2 iPad Mini/Retina, Galaxy Tab 4/3, Nexus 7, Kindle Fire HD /7/6/ Fire HDX 8.9/7/ Fire 2 | 360 degrees twist knob | Buy from Amazon

This Universal Tablet Mount supports iPad and easily mount on your car Dashboard. This iPad mounter has a sticky gel pad attaches securely to most surfaces. This car dash mounter has a telescopic arm to bring the device screen closer to you and 360-degree twist knob. There are a bunch of good iPad mount brackets are available from Amazon.

Alternative Choice: APPS2Car, Magnetic CD Slot iPad Car Mount | Buy from Amazon

Alternative Choice: Long Arm Universal Car Phone Mount Holder – Windshield / Dashboard Smartphone Cradle with Two Clamps | Buy from Amazon

24W Car Charger with Lightning Cable

To complete this setup, you must have a car charger and cable for the iPad to charge iPad battery while driving. You can use the same charger unit to charge the GPS unit battery. There are tons of car chargers are available on Amazon, and we selected Sngg 3.1A Rapid Dual Port USB Car Charger with 6-feet Lightning Cable.

Alternative Choice: Anker 24W Dual USB Car Charger | Buy from Amazon

GPS Map Apps for iPad

There are offline and online GPS Map application is available for iPad. If you have cellular iPad and unlimited data plan, better to go for online Map app, featured with real-time traffic updates and traffic alerts. Offline Map apps are preloaded apps on iPad, that does not need a data plan to work.

Online GPS Map for iPad

Download Online Map Apps from iTunes: Waze | Google

There are remarkable benefits for using online GPS applications. With online GPS Map,  you can get real-time traffic updates, road hazard warning, and weather alerts while you driving the car.

Related: How to Get Waze and Google Map Offline to Save Mobile Data

For those who are planning to use an online map please make sure they have a data connection on their iPad and make sure they have enough signal strength while they drive to communicate the map application to the server.

Offline GPS Map for iPad

Download Offline Map Apps from iTunes: CityMaps2Go | Galileo | HemaExplorer (Off-Road Navigation)

Related: Top 5 Offline Map Apps for iPhone to Save Data Plan

With offline GPS applications, you don’t need to depend on your 3G data and worry about cell signal if you are driving in a remote area. The pre-installed offline map will work with external GPS sensor like a dedicated GPS Device.

We explained the best combination of software and hardware that goes will with your iPad to convert iPad into GPS. These iPad GPS can be used as a dedicated Car GPS or you can plug on car dash when required.

Leave a comment