A VPN is an essential tool for iPad users wanting to watch streaming services in other countries, such as Disney+, Netflix, HBO Max, or BBC iPlayer, with some content not being available at every location. This is handy if you’re traveling abroad and missing out on your favorite shows, as you can connect to a server in your own country and carry on watching as if you were at home.
Plus, when you’re browsing the web using your iPad, your online activity is visible to your internet service provider (ISP), your government, and potentially others. But because a VPN changes your real IP address for a different one and encrypts the data going to and from your iPad, it makes it practically impossible to spy on you.
The new IP address can make it appear that you’re located somewhere else in the world. That could be in the same country, or it could be halfway across the globe.
We’ve tested many VPN services, and these are our recommendations for iPad owners.
If you’ve still got some questions and want to find out more, read what is a VPN and are VPNs legal? You can also find some of the best special offers available right now in our round-up of the best VPN deals.
You can also learn how to use a VPN on iPad once you’ve chosen a service.
Do iPads need a VPN?
Before we reveal our recommendations, we’ll examine whether iPad users even need a VPN? Since Apple introduced iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and macOS Monterey in 2021 the company has offered iCloud Private Relay to iCloud subscribers, which is a little like a VPN. iCloud Private Relay encrypts your Safari-based browsing and sends it through a relay to hide your location, IP, and any information about what you were browsing. iCloud Private Relay means that companies cannot build a clear picture of you on the web, thereby protecting your privacy. You do need to be a subscriber to iCloud, and only use Safari, but iCloud Private Relay will provide you with some anonymity when you are surfing the web.
However, iCloud Private Relay only works when you are using Safari, requires a subscription to iCloud, and it won’t allow you to surf via a server in another country in order to access content that is locked to a particular region. iCloud Private Relay does not allow you to choose an IP address or a region, and you won’t be able to make it look like you’re coming from another location. So you can’t watch geographically locked Netflix content, for example.
Best iPad VPN reviews
- Lots of servers around the world
- Impressive speeds
- Independently audited
- Not the cheapest option
- Connections aren’t unlimited
NordVPN is easy to use and one of the fastest VPNs around and shouldn’t slow down your internet connection. It’s an excellent choice for iPad owners.
The map view is fun to use on a screen larger than your phone’s, and it connects you swiftly to one of Nord’s thousands of servers (there are 5,300 in total across 60 countries, which means you can always find a server in the location you need that isn’t overloaded).
It unblocks many services, including Netflix, HBO Max, Disney+ and BBC iPlayer.
It also ticks the privacy box, having carried out three audits, the most recent of which was in December 2022. It features a kill switch, which is important to keep your data and location hidden if the VPN connection stops unexpectedly. Based in Panama, it’s outside of the jurisdiction of the ’14-eyes’ (a group of countries that have agreed to collect, analyze and share information).
You can connect up to six devices to NordVPN at once, and there are also apps for iPhone, Android, Mac, Windows and Amazon Fire TV.
You can get great discounts by signing up for a couple of years. See the deals on NordVPN’s webiste.
Read our full NordVPN review
- Unlimited devices and connections
- Multi-Hop servers
- Security features and audited no-logs policy
- Kill switch can’t be customised
- Price doubles on renewal
Surfshark is an easy-to-use and intuitive VPN with a slick iPad app that has more features than you might expect given the low price.
The service now has more than 3,200 servers across 60+ countries but, importantly, lets you watch Netflix shows, BBC iPlayer and other streaming services that aren’t normally available in your region.
You’ll find security features including a kill switch and Multi-Hop, which routes your connection through two countries instead of just one. It’s run from the Netherlands which is privacy-friendly, has a strict no-logs policy, uses two-factor authentication (2FA), and is one of the members of the VPN Trust Initiative.
Despite the low monthly cost, just beware that the price increases substantially on renewal–a gotcha with quite a few VPN services and one that’s easily missed when signing up. Our advice is to cancel before it renews and sign up for a new deal.
It really is one of the best VPNs around, and also one of the fastest thanks to the use of the WireGuard protocol.
See the current deals on Surfshark’s website and read our Surfshark review for more details.
Read our full Surfshark review
- Impressive WireGuard speeds
- Dedicated downloading and streaming servers
- Independent audit
- No split tunneling
- Price doubles on renewal
CyberGhost is really easy to use and one of the least-expensive services when you sign up for a couple of years.
CyberGhost has more than 7,000 servers across 90 countries, so you’re bound to find a connection that suits your needs. CyberGhost allows seven simultaneous connections.
Of potentially more interest to most people is the fact it’s pretty reliable for unblocking streaming services. It unblocks Netflix, Disney+, HBOMax, Amazon Prime and others. CyberGhost even provides a streaming list so you can choose the best server to unblock specific streaming services on specific devices.
CyberGhost is based in Romania, which is good for privacy. Deloitte has audited CyberGhost’s privacy claims and found no issues.
With support for WireGuard, CyberGhost offers speedy connections and one subscription allows you to use the service on up to seven devices at once.
You can sign up for CyberGhost here.
Read our full CyberGhost for Mac review
- Easy to use
- Excellent speeds
- Anonymous team is a concern
- Limited to five devices
Also among our favourite VPNs for the iPad is ExpressVPN, which has 105 country options and a network of more than three thousand servers.
ExpressVPN unblocks more video services than rivals. It claims to reliably unblock over 200 streaming service and also gives you a backup option – the MediaStreamer proxy service – if you find that the VPN isn’t unblocking at the exact moment you want to watch.
It bills itself as the premium option, and justifies this partly with the long list of video services it works with. There is also 24/7 live chat support and Threat Manager blocks traffic from websites known to be malicious. There’s also an ad blocker and an adult site blocker.
You can expect fast speeds thanks to its proprietary Lightway protocol and privacy is good thanks to the TrustedServer setup (where the software runs entirely in RAM and doesn’t save any data to the hard drive). The company is registered in the British Virgin Islands, a self-governing territory that isn’t subject to British laws. It operates a no-logs policy.
As well as using it on your iPad, there are also apps for iPhone, Android, Mac, Windows, Fire TV and more. There’s a limit of eight devices at once (up from 5 previously).
While not the cheapest, ExpressVPN does run discounts, with the best deal being the one-year subscription, which is almost half-price.
Read our full ExpressVPN review
Private Internet Access
- Good at unblocking streaming services
- Split tunneling works well
- Up to 10 devices
- Price doubles on renewal
- Browser extensions are not VPNs
Private Internet Access (PIA) is a well-established VPN service that now operates a 33,665 servers in 84 counties. It’s one of the big boys of the VPN world. All its servers are set up well for privacy, run in RAM only, are rebooted often–even the error logs are disabled. The company also runs its own DNS servers to ensure there are no DNS leaks that could give away the websites you’re visiting.
The company is keen to point out that its software is open source, so anyone can inspect the code and check there are no problems. That’s one reason why it bills itself as the World’s Most Trusted VPN service.
PIA, as it’s known to most of its users, used to allow 10 simultaneous connections but it removed this limit early in 2023 so there is no limit to the number oof devices you can connect. PIA is geared towards offering protection while using the internet.
It hasn’t always been partially good for unblocking streaming services, but unblocking has improved and the introduction of a Smart DNS service means you can unblock Netflix (and more) on TVs, media streamers and consoles which don’t support VPNs.
Speeds are great thanks to the use of WireGuard, and the iPad app is easy to use.
See the latest deals for Private Internet Access.
Read our full Private Internet Access review
- Lots of servers
- Impressive security credentials
- Up to 10 connections
- Kill switch can’t be customised
PureVPN offers more than 6,500 servers in 78 countries across all six main continents, which is pretty impressive. PureVPN used to have a lot of virtual servers, but now it just has 68.
If you want to access a specific streaming service, you can click on the Shortcuts tab and search for or browse through the list to find the one you want. The iPad app looks bright and smart and makes it quick and easy to connect to locations outside your country and unblock the stuff you want to watch. And that includes iPlayer, ITV Hub and other UK services that others VPNs struggle with.
The WireGuard protocol is available. Dedicated IP and split-tunneling aren’t available when you use WireGuard though.
PureVPN is registered in the British Virgin Islands (which is more privacy-friendly than Hong Kong, where it used to operate). The company has allowed its no-logs policy to be snap-audited by KPMG.
Install the app on your iPad and get a seven day trial just by entering your email address.
Read our full PureVPN review
- Fast WireGuard speeds
- Very easy to use
- Unblocks Netflix and BBC iPlayer
- Few servers and not clear which are virtual
- Support is patchy
- Only 5 connections
Most VPNs rent their servers, but VyprVPN is unusual in that it owns and operates all of its servers and network hardware. This makes VyprVPN a great choice for privacy.
Speeds are good thanks to the recent introduction of WireGuard. There are fewer servers than on some solutions, but they’re distributed among a decent number of countries. VyprVPN doesn’t disclose how many of its servers are physical (rather than virtual) though.
The iPad version of the app includes an interactive map that makes it easy to browse servers and view ping times.
You’ll find discounts on the regular monthly price if you’re willing to subscribe for a couple of years.
Read our full VyprVPN review
Source : Macworld