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The best iPad VPN in 2021

An iPad VPN being used on an iPad
(Image credit: Sushiman/Shutterstock)

An iPad VPN might not be the first thing that comes to mind when considering essential apps for Apple's iconic tablet. However, while iPads and the iOS software they run are widely regarded as secure, there are still plenty of ways your information can be compromised if you're not using a quality VPN service on public Wi-Fi.

Security is only half the story, though. An iPad VPN can virtually change your location, meaning you'll be able to watch US-exclusive shows on Netflix and Amazon Prime when you're outside the States, and access other geo-restricted platforms like BBC iPlayer when you're back at home.

Whatever you'll use it for, though, an iPad VPN is the perfect companion for your Apple tech – and if it works on your iPad, it'll also work great as an iPhone VPN and Mac VPN as well.

What makes a good iPad VPN?

When choosing an iPad VPN, first off you'll want to make sure it can provide you with excellent privacy and security features. That means powerful encryption and a comprehensive privacy policy to protect your personal information.

Most iPad VPN users will also be wanting good streaming support. By having a good selection of servers worldwide plus the power to sidestep geographic restrictions put in place by streaming providers, the very best will open up a whole new world of viewing possibilities.

Finally, you'll also want a polished interface to match the inimitable simplicity of iOS. We like VPNs that are simple on the surface, but make it easy to access any additional features – and our top pick ExpressVPN combines powerful security, streaming and pleasing aesthetics like no other provider we've tested.

However, there are a number of excellent iPad VPNs challenging for the title, and below we'll run down your five best options for securing your iPad.

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1. ExpressVPN – the best iPad VPN today
Combining a simple interface with excellent encryption and streaming performance, ExpressVPN is simply the best of the bunch. And now, Tom's Guide readers can claim three months free on any 12-month plan.

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2. NordVPN – an excellent choice for an iPad VPN
NordVPN is a serious contender, and is beaten by ExpressVPN by only the shortest of margins. You'll get tons of additional security features, excellent speeds, and comprehensive streaming performance, all for a very good price.

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3. Surfshark – great value plus top usability
Surfshark may be cheap, but it's still a fully featured iPad VPN that covers all the bases. With attractive app design and good speeds, for just $2.49 a month it's incredible value, and great for those looking to stay safe, unblock sites, and save a bit of cash.

The best five iPad VPN services today:

ExpressVPN best ipad vpn

(Image credit: ExpressVPN)

1. ExpressVPN

The best iPad VPN available today

Specifications
Number of servers: 3,000+ in 94 countries
Max simultaneous connections: 5
App Store score: 4.5
24/7 live chat support: Yes
Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, Hulu
Reasons to buy
+Polished, simple iPad app+Class-leading 24/7 support+Reliably unblocks most sites+Excellent privacy features
Reasons to avoid
-Maximum of five devices

For just about any purpose, ExpressVPN is the best iPad VPN. With great connection speeds, intuitive apps, excellent privacy and security, and unrivalled support, it's simply the whole package.

First up, the selection of over 3,000 servers in 94 countries is more than enough for any users, and provides a wide range of locations. That's perfect for streaming and avoiding government censorship. You'll be covered by AES-256 encryption, a verified zero-logging policy and a good selection of protocols, plus Express's RAM-only, zero-knowledge TrustedServer tech means it's impossible for your information to be stored.

Beyond that, though, ExpressVPN is also an excellent choice for enhancing your everyday browsing experience. It's simple and easy to use – which is essential if you're using a touchscreen rather than a keyboard and mouse – and it's the perfect choice for unblocking tons of Netflix libraries, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and more.

With 24/7 live chat support and a comprehensive 30-day money-back guarantee, you'll covered in any outcome and can trial before you commit, and overall, ExpressVPN is absolutely the best iPad VPN we've tested to date.

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Get 49% off plus three months free of the best iPad VPN
Tom's Guide readers can bag three months free on a 12-month plan, plus the regular 49% discount – that works out at 15 months for the price of 12. If you're not sure, though, you'll also be covered by the 30-day guarantee, so you can try before you buy with absolutely no risk.

NordVPN best ipad vpn

(Image credit: NordVPN)

2. NordVPN

iPad VPN for the privacy-obsessed

Specifications
Amount of servers: 5,400+ in 59 countries
Max simultaneous connections: 6
App Store score: 4.5
24/7 support: Yes
Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, iPlayer, YouTube, Amazon, Hulu
Reasons to buy
+Excellent security+Great for streaming+Lots of other extensions & apps+Recently verified no-logging
Reasons to avoid
-Map interface is a little unintuitive

As possibly the most well known VPN, NordVPN is one you've likely considered. And, in our NordVPN review, we find that it provides an excellent service which is excellent for both iPads and desktop computers.

One of NordVPN's standouts is the searing speeds its WireGuard-based NordLynx protocol delivers. Stable and secure, in our testing it topped out at a blazing 300+Mbps, which is far faster than the majority of domestic Wi-Fi lines. Plus, while current iPads don't support 5G, when it's introduced in the new model in 2021, NordVPN will be able to keep pace.

An issue we did have was the app design. Upon opening the app you'll be faced with a map-based interface, and on a smaller screen this is less usable than a traditional server list. However, this is less of an issue on the iPad compared to a smaller device, and a server list is available, too.

In terms of security, NordVPN is near-unmatched. With a recent audit of its servers and extra features such as Double VPN and Onion over VPN, you can be safe in the knowledge your data's safe.

Finally, and most importantly for many people, NordVPN is one of the very best VPNs for streaming. You'll get access to just about any streaming service at home or abroad, and its reliable connection speeds mean you'll never be left buffering.

Overall, NordVPN is a truly viable alternative to ExpressVPN, with the app design being the only major downside, and we highly recommend it. 

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Security-focused VPN that's great on iPad
NordVPN's iPad app is a great choice for Apple users, but whatever device you use the most, it'll have you covered. Plus, it's not too expensive either, so you can get big-name privacy for a bargain price. It's not quite ExpressVPN, but it's the next best thing.

Surfshark best ipad VPN

3. Surfshark

An excellent iPad VPN for a bargain price

Specifications
Amount of servers: 3,200+ in 65 countries
Max simultaneous connections: Unlimited
App Store score: 4.4
24/7 support: Yes
Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, iPlayer, YouTube, Amazon, Hulu
Reasons to buy
+Unlimited simultaneous connections+Incredible value+Great for streaming+Good speeds
Reasons to avoid
-App may be too basic for some

If you need a quality iPad VPN but can't afford to invest much, Surfshark is a great alternative to the two options above. Although it's priced like a budget provider it can compete with far more expensive products, and from what we discovered in our Surfshark review, it's the cheapest VPN worth having today.

You'll get all the essentials like industry-standard 256-bit encryption, over 3,000 servers and great speeds, but Surfshark doesn't stop there. You'll get full WireGuard support, a few useful options like Double Hop, and a kill switch, all paired with a seriously easy-to-use interface.

The interface is one of Surfshark's best features, as it provides all you need, all while making it really simple to use. Experts might find it lacks a little customization, but for the vast majority it'll deliver the goods.

It's also excellent for streaming, unblocking just about every service we tested, including iPlayer, Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime.

If you want a cheap iPad VPN that's quick, easy, and effective, Surfshark offers a very tempting option.

Sign up now on the Surfshark website.

Hotspot Shield best ipad VPN

(Image credit: Hotspot Shield)

4. Hotspot Shield

The fastest iPad VPN on the market

Specifications
Amount of servers: 3,200+ in 80+ countries
Max simultaneous connections: 5
App Store score: 4.2
24/7 support: Yes
Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, YouTube, iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime
Reasons to buy
+Seriously quick+Simple and easy to use+Great for streaming
Reasons to avoid
-Some minor logging

If you've got a seriously fast Internet connection, you'll need your iPad VPN to be able to keep up. In our Hotspot Shield review we thought the provider was one of the best fast VPN services on the market, and its bespoke Catapult Hydra protocol is more than a match for any network speed.

Great speeds wouldn't be any good if you couldn't use them for anything, so it's good news that Hotspot Shield is torrenting-compatible and has no trouble accessing overseas Netflix libraries, iPlayer, Amazon Prime and more. Whatever you want to watch, Hotspot Shield can provide.

However, while that Catapult Hydra protocol is very fast, it does slightly limit Hotspot Shield's flexibility. You won't be able to set it up manually (not an issue for iPads, but annoying for power users on desktop), and the provided apps don't have a kill switch, split tunneling or, really, any additional features at all.

If we're honest, though, that's going to be a non-issue for most iPad VPN users, and sometimes to get the best speeds you have to make minor sacrifices. We emphasise 'minor', though, because Hotspot Shield is an excellent choice, and well worth your attention. 

Sign up now on the Hotspot Shield website

CyberGhost best ipad vpn

(Image credit: CyberGhost)

5. CyberGhost

Streaming-focused iPad VPN that's quick and effective

Specifications
Amount of servers: 6,800+ is 75+ locations
Max simultaneous connections: 7
App Store score: 4.2
24/7 support: Yes
Streaming sites unblocked: Netflix, iPlayer, YouTube, Hulu
Reasons to buy
+Decent speeds+Great for streaming+Huge number of servers
Reasons to avoid
-Apps aren't the most intuitive

Romanian-based CyberGhost rounds off our iPad VPN guide, and if we're honest it's only at fifth because the competition is so strong – it's still an excellent choice no matter what device you're using (read our CyberGhost VPN review for more).

Keeping things simple is the name of the game here, and you'll get pretty much everything you need, and not a huge amount more. You have free reign over which server you connect to, you can switch between IKEv2 and WireGuard protocols, and marks servers as favorites.

The best feature, though, is CyberGhost's server filtering tech. You'll get access to dedicated streaming VPN servers which are optimized for particular streaming services – US Netflix, for example, or BBC iPlayer – so it's super easy to pick what you want to watch, and immediately find a working server. 

However, it's worth noting that CyberGhost has had issues with BBC iPlayer in the past. If that may be an issue, it's worth making the most of the generous 45-day money-back guarantee to test it out and make sure it's reliable.

That's about it, but if you're not looking to customize your experience and are happy to keep the settings as-is, CyberGhost is a great choice for streaming content – and that's not to mention how cheap it is!

Sign up now on the CyberGhost website.

iPad VPN FAQ

What is the best iPad VPN?

Do I really need a VPN on my iPad?

If you want to make sure your sensitive information is kept safe and out of the hands of ne'er-do-wells, an iPad VPN is essential.

However, security isn't the only use for an iPad VPN. If you're traveling abroad and have a subscription to a service like Netflix, you may find that your favorite shows aren't available where you are. If you've got access to a quality VPN, you can virtually relocate yourself back home and get access to what you're used to.

The opposite is true as well, though, and you can globe-trot around Netflix libraries to explore what other nations get with their subscription.

Finally, you might question if you need a VPN on your iPad as well as your computer. There's a simple answer to that, and it's 'why not?'. All the VPNs above offer multiple simultaneous connections, so you may as well use as many as you can.

What does a VPN for iPad do?

Once your iPad is connected to the internet, be it through your mobile data connection or Wi-Fi, it's at risk. In the case of unsecured public Wi-Fi, like at coffee shops, hotels and airports, this risk is even greater. Risk of what? Your data being exposed. That's where a VPN works to keep you safe.

By routing your connection through its own servers, it can make you appear somewhere you're not. It will also assign you a new IP address, which makes you appear to be someone you're not. Essentially, all your traffic is encrypted, and that keeps you – and your iPad's data – safe. 

Can I get a free iPad VPN?

Free VPN services can be very tempting, but while there are some good options, they're all limited in some way or another.

While functionality is an issue (most have data caps or throttle speeds), when considering free iPad VPNs there's a very real danger to the user. Free services on the App Store have been known to be 'fleeceware' – offering a free trial and secretly charging massive weekly fees afterwards – while other simply don't work and will give you a false sense of security.

Due to the fact that you simply haven't got the configuration of a desktop Mac or PC on an iPad, there's a risk that you'll be caught out by a scammer, and any settings you're not happy with might not be available to change.

For both VPNs for iPads and Android VPNs, we wholeheartedly recommend going with a paid service, or at the very least one of our top-rated free providers. Don't just search the App Store and download the first free iPad VPN you come across. 

Does my iOS device have a VPN built in?

Since iOS 2.0, iPhones, iPads and other portable Apple devices have supported VPN connections – but they've never come with a VPN built in.

However, VPN integration is now absolutely seamless, so if you pick any of the best iPad VPN services from our list, you can be sure that you'll get – and stay – protected in seconds.

Mo is eCommerce Editor at Tom's Guide. Day-to-day he oversees privacy and security content, and his product guides help his readers find the best software and products for their needs. When he's not testing VPNs, you'll find him working on his classic car or plugged into a guitar amp.