It may seem silly, but Apple iPads are just as susceptible to many of the security threats out there as your computer or smartphone – using a VPN is absolutely essential.
Our top picks for iPad allow you to use all of your favorite apps through a secure, encrypted connection, without worrying about unknown third parties collecting your precious confidential data for their own profit. We test out the custom apps ourselves, examining everything from how easy they are to use to how quick the connection speeds are.
Wondering why you should trust our reviews? Take a look at How We Test VPNs
Our top choices all offer dedicated iOS apps to ensure a smooth, user-friendly experience on iPad along with other popular platforms such as Windows and Mac. They offer excellent performance and allow you to access popular streaming sites such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer.
We also only chose providers with minimal, privacy-friendly logging policies and loads of advanced security features to keep your online activity private. We even check out the customer support on offer so you can be sure any potential problems will be solved quickly and efficiently.
We make sure to run regular tests on all the VPNs listed here so we can provide you with the most up-to-date information possible.
If you’re a Mac user then you’ll want to take at this roundup instead: the Best VPNs for Mac.
Before you start using a VPN on your iPad, you have to decide whether you’re going to download the app onto your device or install it at router level. Installing individual apps is a great deal easier but limits you to a certain number of simultaneous connections – configuring your router removes this problem.
You then need to choose your VPN protocol – we’d recommend OpenVPN wherever possible as this strikes the best balance between privacy and performance. To get the best possible speeds, you should connect to a server close to your true physical location – most providers will have a feature which automatically does this for you.
Once you’re connected to your chosen server, the VPN will run in the background, leaving you to carry on using your iPad like normal. If there’s a kill switch, make sure you turn it on, as this will prevent your true IP address from being exposed in case of a connection drop.
Check out our step-by-step guide to installing a VPN on iPad for more detailed instructions, along with helpful screenshots and tips to solve any potential issues.
Most top-tier VPN providers offer custom apps for iOS devices, so you can be sure of a streamlined, user-friendly experience on your iPad. It goes without saying that the quality of these apps varies massively from one provider to the next, so we’ve made sure to only include those that pack in enough advanced privacy features without being overly clunky or complex. Double check that your chosen VPN protocol (OpenVPN in most cases) is an option on the iOS app, as this isn’t the case with every provider.
Not every provider offers the same level of performance, so you need to ensure you choose one that isn’t going to slow down your iPad too much. Generally speaking, the faster the better, however if you’re going to be doing lots of gaming you also need to look for a provider with low latency. Take a look at our speed tests to give you a better idea of which providers offer the quickest, most reliable speeds.
For the quickest speeds, you’ll need to connect to a VPN server as close as possible to your physical location. The more servers a provider has, the better, as servers are far less likely to get congested. Look at our speed test results for individual locations in our reviews to get the best idea, especially if you’re looking to connect to a specific country.
Do you enjoy watching Netflix or BBC iPlayer? Not every VPN will work with these apps. We are constantly testing whether each VPN is working with Netflix and other apps, and share these results in our VPN reviews.
Most VPNs will tell you they’re completely “zero logs”, however in reality this is rarely the case. To deliver consistently good speeds across a global server network, you need to monitor at least some basic user connection details, such as amount of bandwidth transferred or chosen VPN server. You could read a ton of different privacy policies to find out exactly what’s collected and stored or let us do the hard work for you – just check the logging policy section of our review for an explanation in plain English. In an ideal world you want a VPN that doesn’t log your IP address and limits timestamp logs to just the date of your connection, or better still one that doesn’t collect any logs whatsoever.
Even if you’re pretty tech-savvy, the sheer amount of VPN jargon on provider websites can be pretty overwhelming. Make sure to look out for OpenVPN though, as this connection protocol offers the best overall balance between speed and security. Try not to get sucked in by talk of military or bank-grade encryption and just look for AES-256, as that’s the gold standard. Unless you know your DNS from your IPv6, a VPN killswitch is the main thing to look out for among security features as it will protect you from exposing your real IP address should your connection drop unexpectedly.
You’re not always going to be using a VPN on your iPad, so you want to be sure that the provider you choose also offers decent apps for other devices such as your computer or mobile. Look for a VPN with software that’s well-designed, user-friendly and powerful and you will be much more likely to use it on a regular basis. We share the results of our hands-on testing of each VPN app in the the Ease of Use part of its review.
Even the most expensive VPN plans are very affordable but you will likely have a budget in mind. 12-month plans typically offer the best value and you can reduce the risk of buyer’s remorse by choosing a VPN with a long refund period, preferably 30 days and with no questions asked. These guarantees are much more common than traditional free trials but are essentially the same thing.