Well and truly locked into the Apple ecosystem? It's probably not out there to assume you have an iPad in tow and are looking for the very best VPN to ensure optimal security and streaming on the move.
Perhaps Apple's most versatile, portable device, it's fair to say users are likely to whip out their iPad whilst on the go, whether travelling from train stations or airports, or working out of a café. A VPN is an essential tool, then, with public networks offering vastly unsecure networks that could open you up to harmful malware and spying.
You don't need us to tell you that iPads offer larger screen real-estate without the bulk of a laptop to haul around. As well as work purposes, you may be keen to stream content whilst you travel, rather than hunching over your smartphone (likely an iPhone, right?). As well as a ton of security features - including encryption and malware detection - iPad VPNs allow you to access geo-restricted content on your tab, opening up the likes of Netflix and other streaming services as if you were right at home.
1. ExpressVPN – today's best iPad VPN
When it comes to the very best VPN, ExpressVPN ticks all the boxes, including its iPad VPN app, which offers a straight forward set-up on your device, and an intuitive interface, with all the best performing features. Better still, iOS users can benefit from a 7-day free trial to see if its the right fit for you, or click through from here to grab ExpressVPN's current 3 months free promotion.
2. Private Internet Access - the perfect iPad companion
Working in perfect tandem with Apple devices, Private Internet Access embeds itself well on the iPad. Boasting all the key security features you'd expect, it also offers a kill switch and a Network Management tool. A fantastic tool, it's made ever more tempting with an 82% saving on its three year plan, from $2.19 a month.
3. NordVPN – most well-known VPN still remains one of the best
If security is your priority at a slightly more affordable rate than that of ExpressVPN, NordVPN is still up there as one of top VPN recommendations. Especially when you consider it as an all-rounder for security, speed and affordability, starting from just $3.71 a month.View Deal
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Reigning supreme, ExpressVPN continues to hold on strong to its title as the best VPN, and - in this instance - the best iPad VPN.
Bringing its expert tools on to one of Apple's most portable devices, ExpressVPN compacts itself into a sleek app for iOS. Not only a continuation of ExpressVPN's prowess of offering a secure way in which to safely browse, the provider also brings with it an intuitive and aesthetically pleasing interface for the Californian tech giant's iOS, too. No small feat, it's not ridiculous to suggest a less than desirable looking app may be the very thing to turn prospective customers away at the first hurdle.
A VPN is a nifty tool for iPad users to download, especially if a lot of your usage takes place outside of the household on public Wi-Fi and, indeed, outside of the country. With the main premise of a VPN being the very thing it's an abbreviation of - creating a virtual private network - it allows your connection to be more secure when connected to public Wi-Fi. Anyone spying on you, then, won't get very far with end-to-end encryption
With over 3,000 servers across more than 160 locations, the sheer range is ideal for anyone looking to stream on their iPad and make use of its larger form factor. One of the best options for streamers, ExpressVPN successfully unblocks geo-restricted content like iPlayer, Netflix and so on, giving access when you're outside of the country.
If you want to try ExpressVPN, you can get it for 7-days free through the app store. Or, better yet, click through and sign up from the ExpressVPN website to get an extra 3-months free on your subscription and still have the option for a full refund during our first 30 days.
It's fair to say that when it comes to VPN providers and their iOS counterparts, a lot of the features usually slip between the gaps and Apple users are left with a barebones experience of the more full-fat Windows and Android offerings. Perhaps, then, that is where Private Internet Access (PIA) is looking to pick up the slack.
Boasting a huge 24,000+ servers across 77 countries - with the option to load on up to 10 devices simultaneously - PIA offers a clean, easy set-up client, as well as a number of protocols including WireGuard, OpenVPN, IKEv2, UDP and TCP connection, on top of custom ports. The latter allows you to have a more fine-tuned approach over how you encrypt your data, putting security well and truly into your hands. For those who are often working on the go with their iPad, this ensures all channels are under lock and key along with any sensitive information.
Its Network Management tool is also fantastic, allowing iOS users to select which networks can and can't be trusted. For untrustworthy networks, going forward PIA will then automatically connect to a server to ensure a secure connection.
Embedding itself in Apple's ecosystem, you can even create Siri shortcuts with PIA, allowing you to use your voice to ask Siri to connect to your preferred server without doing so manually. Of course, it doesn't exert much effort, but if the feature is there, why not make the most of it? Just like turning on the lights with your voice, the novelty rarely wares off.
When it comes to a seamless integration onto iOS and the iPad, NordVPN is right up there. For starters, it comes with Dark Mode for iOS, a feature that has very slowly been drip-fed out to non-native Apple apps and met with serious enthusiasm. Clearly none of us enjoy burning our retinas in the dark hours. This is as well as the ability to create a Siri shortcut.
In terms of its sometimes clunky map interface on mobile devices, NordVPN's iOS version seems to be dealt the better hand. How far you can zoom out is limited, which avoids location markers overlapping, in turn making better use of the real-estate. Blown up on iPad, the map interface is a far more readable. And if the map interface is proving too clunky for your liking, NordVPN does offer an alternative regular country list when swiping up.
Boasting the protocols you'd expect from one of our top VPN picks (WireGuard NordLynx, OpenVPN, IKEv2), NordVPN also offers a speciality server list including Double VPN, P2P, Onion over VPN support, and Obfuscated and Dedicated IP servers. In fact, for iOS users, you're getting far more protocol and server options than NordVPN's Windows and Android options.
Of course, NordVPN also includes its convenient 'Quick Connect' button, as well as CyberSec, which will flag any malicious websites and block them before you can proceed any further.
IPVanish certainly makes the most of the larger screen experience with its very visual-orientated iOS app - perfect especially for the iPad. How? One of IPVanish's unique features in terms of its iOS app is the real time internet traffic graph it offers you when you've connected to a server; an unusual yet welcome approach. And the rest of the app follows a seamless, clear, and visually appealing format that makes navigation straight forward.
Another perk that makes this a great iPad VPN choice is its 'Favorite' feature, available only on the iOS app. Able to tap a star to action 'favoriting' servers, you can create your own custom list for easier access and quicker connection. On a similar wavelength, IPVanish also allows you to mark trustworthy and untrustworthy wireless networks. In the future when connecting to any of these marked networks, the VPN will then automatically turn on and off depending on whether you need that extra layer of security or not.
With a range of iOS specific features, IPVanish certainly does what a lot of VPN providers don't in terms of offering a full-fat experience for iOS users. That said, its one downfall is infrequent updates to its iOS app in particular. With VPN apps generally receiving an update at least once a month, helping to catch any bugs and better improve user experience, we hope IPVanish has more regular releases in the pipeline.
Admittedly, Surfshark doesn't offer nearly as many of the bells and whistles as some of the other iPad VPNs. In fact, the 7-day free trial is perhaps one of the few quirks Surfshark brings that is unique to its iOS app. That said, as a VPN that offers speed and security, it doesn't do a bad job in terms of the basic functionality you would expect in a VPN.
Able to load onto an unlimited amount of devices with just one subscription, Surfshark offers over 3,200 servers to choose from across over 100 different locations, which makes this a perfectly acceptable option for ensuring optimal security when browsing on a public network, or wanting to encrypt information as you carry out more sensitive tasks online. With that boatload of locations, too, you'll be able to unlock any geo-restricted content when abroad.
Another factor working in Surfshark's favour is just how affordable it is in comparison to a lot of our other best iPad VPN entries. If you've got a strict budget to cater for, Surfshark might just be the one.
Why you should use an iPad VPN
No matter the platform you're using, there are plenty of reasons to be armoring your device with a nifty VPN. Still, as an iPad user you may be questioning your need, not least because Apple products come with the reputation of being far more secure than their Windows and Android counterparts. As well as the security boost, though, there are a number of other perks that make a VPN for your iPad essential.
When painting a picture of an iPad user, it's not hard to imagine this device gets a lot of use on the go. Offering all the power and functionality of a fully fledged MacBook or Mac desktop, the iPad is a far more lightweight, portable option, with the benefits of being able to add a Smart or Magic Keyboard for that more traditional laptop feel.
Working on the go can mean making use of free public Wi-Fi networks. Whilst incredibly handy, these public networks are rarely as secure as the ones we have in our own home. From a security point of view, then, it makes sense to activate a VPN when travelling to ensure your internet activity is for your eyes only.
On the same wavelength, travelling from A to B with your iPad in tow, you may find yourself wanting to watch something on a streaming service to kill an hour or two. Especially if you happen to travel for work, or even if you're simply sunning yourself on vacation, a VPN for streaming can also help you to jump over any geo-restricting hurdles. Access your Netflix library wherever you are around the globe by switching to a server in your home country and while away the hours bingeing your latest TV obsession. The same can be said for the likes of Prime Video, Hulu, iPlayer and most other streaming services which lock their content to certain locations.
What iPad VPN does Apple recommend?
While it would certainly make things easier for Apple users if Apple itself weighed in on the best iPad VPN wars - as well as for its Mac and iPhone devices - the short answer is that Apple doesn't specifically advise on which iPad VPN providers offer the best experience for its products.
However, that's where we come in, putting each VPN through rigorous testing and making note of those small differences in performance across differing devices.
With VPN guides for other Apple devices here on T3, we emphasis that whilst the iPad, iPhone and Mac may sit under one brand, that doesn't necessarily mean a consistent experience of VPNs on each platform. For instance, whilst Surfshark sits at the bottom of our top five for best iPad VPN, for Mac we had it coming in clutch at number two.
Does Safari have a built-in VPN?
The short answer is no. Apple products neither come with a built-in VPN, nor does the brand itself shout about its own provider recommendation.
That said, when you are setting up a VPN on your Mac, iPad or iPhone, you will have to enter configuration settings in your Network preferences. For the most part, if you choose to use the client set-up, this will be automatically done for you - you simply need to allow access by entering in your passcode, or utilising Touch or Face ID.
There is also the option to manually configure your VPN, allowing for more control over your VPN settings, including which kind of connection protocol you want to opt for.
No matter which set-up route you go down, most VPN providers offer a selection of help and support documents online to help you get it loaded and working on your chosen device.
Is using an iPad VPN illegal?
What do you take us for? Using a VPN certainly isn't illegal, though it's worth taking stock of your country's particular rulings, as well as the kinds of tasks you plan to carry out with your VPN.
Adding an extra layer of security to your internet connection, VPNs can also be used to access geo-restricted content on streaming services, allowing you to access the comforts of home when abroad, or even getting an inside into Netflix libraries from other countries. Of course, a lot of streaming services do have terms and conditions that forbid this kind of usage and threaten termination of accounts. That being said, there has never been any reporting of such action being taken. It really is down to users discretion whether they want to try and hop geo-locked boundaries, then.
It's still worth highlighting however that whilst the use of a VPN is not illegal, it certainly doesn't write-off any illegal activity an individual might carry out whilst using one. And although it can encrypt your data, VPN providers are not completely above government regulations and may be asked to divulge your activity. Best to stick to the straight and narrow then, we think.
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