What Tablet Do I Need To Run Navionics?

The Navionics Boating App is available for Apple and Android, and unlike a lot of other navigation apps, it is compatible with a surprising number of devices.

On Apple, Navionics requires iOS 12.0 or newer, which is available in 5th Generation iPads or an iPad Air / Mini from 2013 onwards. On Android, Navionics requires Android OS 5.0 (Lollipop) or newer, which covers approximately 99% of Android devices.

All apps give their basic requirements in terms of the operating system that they will run on.

The operating system often dictates the features in the apps that are available. For example, newer operating systems may give an app the ability to use a fingerprint scanner.

With Navionics, it does not need to use brand new features available in the latest devices, so it can run on much older operating systems.

What this means is that you do not need a top-end tablet to be able to run Navionics.

If you choose an iPad, you only need your device to run iOS 12.0 or newer.

To give you an idea of dates, iOS 12.0 was released in 2018, so anything you have purchased in the last few years will run Navionics just fine.

If you would prefer an Android device, you only need your device to run Android OS 5.0 (Lollipop).

Lollipop was released in 2014, so flagship devices that year will have had it installed. Some lower range Android devices may have continued to ship with an older OS, so if your device is around that age you will need to check.

Almost all Android devices currently in use will be able to run Navionics because, according to statcounter, around 99% of all Android devices are running Android OS 5.0 or newer.

Read More: You can read my full review of Navionics here: Navionics App Review

Which iPad do I need to run Navionics?

Any iPad that has been purchased in the last few years should be able to run Navionics.

The base requirement is that your iPad runs iOS 12.0, which was released in 2018, although older devices are still compatible.

Apple upgrades all iPads to the latest operating system as long as they can handle it.

This means that the following iPads are able to run at least iOS 12.0, and consequently Navionics:

  • iPad (5th Generation onwards) 2017
  • iPad Air (1st Generation onwards) 2013
  • iPad Mini (2 Onwards) 2013
  • iPad Pro (9.7, 10.5, 11.0, 12.9)

Notice how you could use an older iPad Air or iPad Mini compared to a normal iPad. This is just a reflection of the better hardware inside the iPad Air and iPad Mini from the respective years.

Do you need a WiFi + Cellular iPad to run Navionics?

Navionics runs equally well on a WiFi-Only iPad as it will on WiFi+Cellular iPad.

The only difference you will notice is that the WiFi-Only model will need a WiFi connection to download chart updates and synchronise your Navionics account. 

Synchronisation is only really needed for transferring your tracks and routes.

The other difference that you may notice is that WiFi-Only iPads do not have an internal GPS, so you will need a different source for your positional input.

I use a Bluetooth GPS, but you could also use a NMEA to WiFi interface if you have a GPS signal coming from your boat’s equipment.

If you are interested, I use a Garmin GLO 2, and you can read my full review here: Garmin GLO 2 Review.

What Android tablet do I need to run Navionics?

You can run Navionics on almost any Android tablet that has been released over the last few years.

It is a bit harder to identify precise makes and models of tablets with Android because there are so many different options.

The only requirement from Navionics is that your tablet runs Android OS 5.0 or newer. OS 5.0 is also known as Android Lillipop.

If you are unsure whether your version of Android is older or newer, I have compiled a table of all versions of Android since Lillipop.

5.0 Lillipop2014
6.0 Marshmallow2015
7.0 Nougat2016
8.0 Oreo2017
9.0 Pie2018
10.0 Android 102019
11.0 Android 112020
12.0 Android 122021

Unlike Apple, Android devices generally do not upgrade to the latest version of Android OS. Instead, the market share of each changes organically as newer devices are shipped with the newest operating system.

In time, older versions become far less common.

According to statcounter, fewer than 1% of Android devices now run versions of Android OS that are older than 5.0.

Do I need cell reception for Navionics?

It is a surprisingly common concern that you might need an internet connection to be able to use navigational apps like Navionics.

In fact, one of the most frequent questions I get asked regarding Navionics is whether it works offline.

Fortunately, the answer is simple.

Navionics is designed to work offline, so you do not need cell reception. 

The app does need an internet connection to complete some of its basic functions, such as downloading charts, downloading updates, and synchronising with your Navionics account.

When you use it for navigation, however, it does not need an internet connection.

It will just continue to run in the same state that it was in when you were last online.

The next time you get an internet connection, often when you get home and log onto your home wifi, it will download any updates required and synchronise with your account again.

This means that if you use Navionics on your boat, just make sure you periodically connect to the internet to keep your charts up to date.

Otherwise, the only input that Navionics requires is a GPS position.

How much storage do you need for Navionics?

The Navionics Boating App consists of two separate storage elements: the app, and the charts.

The app itself is approximately 150 MB, so should comfortably fit on all modern tablets.

Navionics charts are variable in size, depending on how many cells you wish to download.

If you download a large geographical area, it might run into multiple GB of data just for the charts.

Fortunately, you do not need to download the entire chart that you purchase. You can choose a specific area to limit the file size of your download.

For example, I have downloaded a small area covering roughly the same same as the Google map image below, and it takes up around 50 MB.

If you download too much, you can easily clear the stored charts and just download the specific are you need for your passage.

Navionics automatically downloads cells that you browse while using an internet connection, or you can specify an area that you want to download manually instead.