iPad Mini as an EFB

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by RyanB, Feb 13, 2022.

  1. RyanB

    RyanB Super Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    It appears the supply chain disruptions have hit the iPad Mini. BestBuy is completely sold out, Walmart is wiped out and Apple’s website says the estimated ship date is the middle to the end of March!

    Aside from that, let me double check... If using an iPad as an EFB it has to be the Wi-Fi + Cellular version, correct? Are the new ones any different than the previous models in this regard? I hate to spend the extra $150 on the cellular model if I don’t actually need it. Of course I have no intention of activating the data service.

    TIA
     
  2. Half Fast

    Half Fast Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You only need the cellular version if you intend to use the iPad’s internal GPS. If you’ll be using something like a Stratus or a Stratux anyway (you’ll need that for ADSB-In), you’ll get GPS that way and have no need for the internal one.
     
  3. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Absolutely not correct. I've been using non-cellular iPads for 11 years now.
     
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  4. Van Johnston

    Van Johnston Pattern Altitude

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    Paper charts don't tell you where you are; your iPad doesn't have to either.

    (But boy, it sure is nice!)

    That said, I use the iPad in enough other applications outside the cockpit it is worth it to me to splurge on the cellular version to have the GPS. YMMV.
     
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  5. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    YMMV indeed. My non-cellular iPads have hardly been aviation-exclusive. Except for work (well, make that certain work-related things; I've used it for work too), they replaced my laptop for travelling almost a decade ago.
     
  6. Star Keeper

    Star Keeper Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I purchased the cellular version as a backup in the event that my stratux decides its going to do something stupid like fall off the window.
     
  7. nj-pilot

    nj-pilot Pre-takeoff checklist

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    If you're getting the cellular version only for the purpose of internal GPS, I might suggest using a stratux/stratus instead. Rationale: you get METAR/TAF/Wx info as well as GPS.
     
  8. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Touchdown! Greaser!

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    iPads tend to last at least 4-6 years before becoming obsolete, and are extremely durable. As such, the extra $150 for cellular quickly fades into insignificance, especially since it’s trade-in value will also be slightly higher when the time comes to upgrade.

    Karen and I both have cellular iPads and pay for the monthly fee to keep service activated. Yes, one may have the option of tethering to an iPhone, or just use iPhones, but it’s just really convenient to have online access at our fingertips on our iPads wherever you have cellular service but no WiFi. Anyway, worth it for us.
     
  9. Bob Noel

    Bob Noel Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    ssshhhhhh. Don't say that to my ipad mini 2 and ipad mini 4.
     
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  10. GeorgeC

    GeorgeC Administrator Management Council Member

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    I've been happy with the refurbed mini 5 w/ cellular I picked up last fall.
     
  11. LesGawlik

    LesGawlik Line Up and Wait

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    Get the cellular. It's not necessary to use it with an EFB, but it's nice not worry about your GPS position data. The blue dot just pops up when you turn it on. Nothing else needed. That said, I have a Stratus too for the other data, and as a back up. Two is one, one is none.
     
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  12. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Actually the blue dot pops up when you turn it on without cellular capability. "WiFi positioning" is not going to be much use in the air or even on the highways, though :D
     
  13. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    In short, those who have it can't imagine being without it and those who have gone without for years don't see a problem ;)
     
  14. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard En-Route

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    Since you rent/borrow airplanes right now, the iPad with cellular is more or less required for the internal GPS capability. Else you'll need to carry around a "hockey puck" GPS solution as well as your iPad.

    The iPad I used until 2017 was in this fashion, and I carried around a Dual XGPS 150A. Sucked to have to have another item on the list of things to carry, remember/forget, and have properly charged.

    If you have more control over the avionics stack (owner) you needn't worry about this so much, as the iPad can integrate into a compatible avionics suite.
     
  15. Half Fast

    Half Fast Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Glad it works well for you, but I’ve been using non-cellular iPads and tethering them to my phone since about 2014. In all that time, not once have I had my iPad with me and not my phone. It’s a complete non-issue.

    $150 is still $150, and I can find better things to do with it than paying for an unneeded feature.

    YMMV
     
  16. Half Fast

    Half Fast Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You have to do that anyway if you want ADSB-In.
     
  17. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    I would spend the $150 and get the GPS function. A Status or other device is a pain in the ***.
     
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  18. LesGawlik

    LesGawlik Line Up and Wait

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    Worse than that, I find the Stratus to be unreliable. Many times I get poor or no reception. I don't know what the does to my blue dot, and I'm not interested in finding out.
     
  19. Van Johnston

    Van Johnston Pattern Altitude

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    Not if you have an in-panel ADS-B in solution.

    This was my CONOP and experience too. Too many wires in the cockpit are a PITA; there is value in a clean cockpit, and the cost differential is no longer $150 when you factor in the cost of the hockey puck or stratux. The wireless connectivity was unreliable too, although that got better over time as the HW, FW, and iOS has matured.
     
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  20. GaryM

    GaryM Pattern Altitude

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    I bought a cellular iPad, without activating cellular service, primarily for the convenience of having an all-in one solution without wires. But I was also thinking that AT&T offered pay-by-the-day cellular activation, which I figured could be handy if I got stuck somewhere without WiFi and wanted to use the iPad. My cell plan doesn't allow use of the phone as a hotspot, and an occasional pay-by-the-day activation would have been a lot more cost effective than upgrading my cell plan.
     
  21. Terry M - 3CK (Chicago)

    Terry M - 3CK (Chicago) Line Up and Wait

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    Ppl renter here who hopes to get the IR in the next 2-years. Tech novice having just returned to the left seat after 12-years away. I have foreflight on my phone but have been using paper charts and the 430 in tye rental since im back.

    Rentals have req ADSB out only. No in solution.

    If I get the ipad, w cellular, I can get moving map accuracy, but no WX and no AHRS?

    I need a stratus or similar device to get wx and AHRS?

    Do other renters just schlep all of this in the flight bag?

    What kind of iPad case/knee board is best for a short fat guy? I’m saying short legs not much thigh length.

    Do you get a mount as a renter, or just hold it?
     
  22. GeorgeC

    GeorgeC Administrator Management Council Member

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    I brought my mini+yoke mount for my IR, the school had a Stratus.
     
  23. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    IFR or VFR? To me it makes a difference. VFR I don't really care how I hold the iPad. IFR, I want it in my scan, so it's a yoke or suction mount depending which works better in the airplane (I fly multiple types).

    Yes, renters/club members in airplanes which do not have a compatible ADS-B In solution bring their own. Just about all I fly do - one small school has a Stratux in all the airplanes which don't have a panel "In" setup (and even in one that does :D), but I brought my own for a number of years. "Schlep" is an overstatement depending on what you bring.
     
  24. Brian Perry

    Brian Perry Filing Flight Plan

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    I got the cellular iPad Mini 6 just because I like to have the ability to file a flight plan and check weather from anywhere. I have been in some rural airports with pretty flakey wifi. My iPad has a bluetooth connection to my transponder and G3x to get position and ADSB data so I don't need it for that capability.
     
  25. somorris

    somorris En-Route

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    I have an iPad mini without cellular and a Garmin GDL 39 for ADS-B In. Bluetooth connection eliminates wires except if you have to carry the GDL (or Statux, etc.) around with you, you may want to plug it in. I have a battery for ours, but have never really used it since the GDL is hardwired. If you aren't an owner, I would check with the folks who own the airplanes you will be flying and see what is installed. If they have something like a Garmin GTX345, it has ADS-B In built in with the unit.
     
  26. RyanB

    RyanB Super Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Ended up going with the Mini 6 Wi-Fi + Cellular.

    Thanks for the advice!
     
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  27. JimNtexas

    JimNtexas Pattern Altitude

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    Note that you do not have to pay for cell service to use the gps feature of cell capable iPads.
     
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  28. flhrci

    flhrci Final Approach

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    Can a non-gps iPad derive GPS from a tethered iPhone? Have always wondered.