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Expert Picks: 6 Best Browsers For Your iPad | 2024 Edition

Which is the best browser for your iPad? Here are the 5 best browsers beyond Safari that you should check out today.

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Why would you ever want to use a browser other than Safari?

Well, for one, different browsers have different features that may better suit your specific needs and preferences.

For instance, some browsers offer superior ad-blocking capabilities, enhancing your browsing experience by reducing unwanted distractions. Others excel in speed and performance, particularly for heavy web usage or multitasking. Privacy-focused browsers provide additional layers of security, ensuring your online activities remain confidential.

ipad browsers

Different Browsers, Different Accounts & Customizations

Furthermore, certain browsers offer unique user interfaces and customization options, allowing you to tailor your browsing experience to your liking. A key point here involves the account that the browser is tied to. For example, if you mostly surf using Chrome on your computer, using Chrome on your iPad would mean you have access to your bookmarks and passwords. Other browsers like Firefox and Safari also have similar features.

I Usually Have Two Or More Browsers… Why?

I keep about two to three browsers on my iPad and other devices, simply because I have duplicate accounts on several websites. For example, I use a SEO tool and I want to keep my personal account logged into Safari. I have another account that I keep logged in with Chrome. That way, I can avoid signing out of my personal account to access my alternate account.

Why Do People Say Other Browsers Are Just Skins on Safari?

It’s a bit of an exaggeration because a “skin” implies that other browsers just have a different look as compared to Safari.

That isn’t completely true.

The main reason why people make this comment comes down to a rendering engine called WebKit. WebKit is the underlying framework that Safari uses to display web pages. Apple’s policies for iOS and iPadOS require all browsers on these platforms to use WebKit as their rendering engine. This means that, at a fundamental level, all browsers on the iPad render web pages in the same way Safari does.

Let’s say you ran Chrome and Safari on your desktop. You might notice the same website looks different. That’s because Chrome uses the Blink rendering engine while Safari uses WebKit, but on the iPad, it’s all WebKit.

However, this doesn’t mean that other browsers are mere “skins” of Safari. They can still offer distinct features and functionalities that differentiate them from Safari. For example, they might provide different user interfaces, more extensive tab management, unique privacy tools, or integration with other services and platforms. These browsers also often have their own security measures and data sync systems, offering varied experiences in terms of privacy and cross-device compatibility.

Let’s see the special features of each browser.

Safari

Safari is the pre-installed browser on the iPad, so the immediate benefit is that you don’t have to install anything.

Online, you’d find comments that Safari is the most optimized browser for the iPad as compared to the others, but in practice, it’s difficult to notice the difference on a day-to-day basis.

What you’ll notice is the level of integration. If you are deeply tied into the Apple ecosystem, then you will gain additional benefits such as being able to access your passwords and other credentials stored in your iCloud.In addition, you can access your bookmarks, reading list and iCloud Tabs if you use Safari on other devices.

google chrome on ipad

Some interesting features that I like include the ability to annotate web pages using the Markup tool. The Markup tool can be accessed by pressing the Share button and scrolling down. Markup takes a full-page screenshot and then allows you to mark the page with your finger or your pen. This is useful for me because I sometimes have to write instructions on how to do certain things on a web page. It can also be useful for people who need to point out where corrections need to be made.

Chrome

According to Statista, in May 2023, Chrome took 63% of the global market share for browsers, which means this is the main browser used by many people.

Using Chrome on iPad comes down to whether you use Chrome regularly on your other devices. If you do, then you will enjoy the integrated experience, where your passwords, history, and search terms are saved.

What I also liked is the “Send to Your Devices” option which allows you to easily share a webpage you are viewing on one device with your other devices where you are also logged into Chrome with the same Google account. Compared to Handoff, this allows you to send Chrome tabs to non-Apple devices.

Opera

opera browser on ipad

Opera is an interesting browser and its main offering is the integrated ad blocker and VPN.

Opera comes with a built-in ad blocker which can enhance browsing speed and user experience. By default, it comes activated, so you might notice that your pages are much cleaner than before.

Additionally, its free, integrated VPN service might provide an extra layer of security and privacy, especially useful when browsing on public Wi-Fi networks. However, we would like to point out that Opera VPN gets mediocre scores from a lot of VPN review sites, so if you’re looking for a proper VPN, it’s worth checking out the competition.

Brave

brave on ipad

Brave was the first option for browsers when I searched for “browsers” in the App Store. Not because they are extremely popular, but because they bought ads.

I’ve heard of Brave because people talk about how it’s a privacy-focused browser. I also found that Brave has a lot of useful tools to make your browsing experience smoother. For example,

  • Firewall
  • VPN
  • Blocks cookie consent notification by default
  • Adblock
  • Brave Playlist
brave browser offline video playlist

Brave Playlist is an interesting one. I added a YouTube video to Brave’s Playlist and then turned off WiFi, and it was still able to play the video even though I didn’t have any data.

Note that Brave’s integrated VPN is not free. The VPN service is provided by Guardian and costs $129.99 when paid annually or $12.99 when paid monthly.

Microsoft Edge

microsoft edge on ipad

Microsoft Edge is the pre-installed browser on Windows systems and so it deserves a look.

After testing the browsers above, I expected to be underwhelmed, but boy was I wrong.

One major reason to use Edge involves your Microsoft account. If you regularly use your Microsoft account to store passwords and other credentials, then Edge will have an edge over other browsers.

Furthermore, Edge is a pretty feature-rich browser — something I didn’t expect. Not only does Microsoft Edge has an adblock integrated, but what I really liked about it is its Read Aloud feature plus its Reading Mode feature. Combining these two will allow you to get articles read to you effectively.

microsoft edge reading mode on ipad

For example, when I was reading the Washington Post, I would first press “Reading Mode” to get rid of headers, sidebars and other distractions, leaving only the article on the screen. Then, you can press “Read Aloud” to get the article read to you.

You can change the accents of the virtual readers. It’s amusing because you can get a French person to read an English article and hear the French accent come through. Edge’s Read Aloud has many accents, including English from various parts of the Anglosphere (not just the typical UK, US, Canada, NZ, and Australia).

Mozilla Firefox

Firefox is a browser that is great if you use Firefox on your computers because you can have a seamless experience when logged into your Mozilla account.

Syncing accounts between my computer and iPad was easy because all I had to do was scan a QR code on my iPad.

Firefox has a Reading Mode which removes headers, footers and other distractions, leaving only the article on your screen. You can also place articles you want to read later into your Reading List, which is synced to your Mozilla account.

I liked the Synchronized Tabs feature. Once signed in, tabs that I open on my computer are synced to my iPad. This is convenient if you want a seamless experience between devices.

Firefox was created by Mozilla and in the app’s description on the Apple Store, they emphasize, “Don’t settle for a browser produced by giant, profit-driven, data-hoarding tech companies. Firefox is the obvious choice for independent, ethical tech that respects your privacy…”

Indeed, most mainstream browsers are built by large corporations. Apple makes Safari. Google makes Chrome. Microsoft has the Edge.

But this begs the question — if you care about privacy, why not try the more privacy-focused Firefox Focus?

Firefox Focus

firefox focus on ipad

Firefox Focus is like an app that’s permanently in incognito/private browsing mode.

It’s the most barebones browser, though. Everything on this browser is geared towards shorter-term use. For example, once you close the app, all your browsing history gets deleted. Meaning no saved logins.

You get a trash bin icon on your toolbar. Pressing that clears your browser history.

You don’t get bookmarks or account syncing.

You get an adblocker, though.

I’m not sure who this is for. Firefox Focus remains a specialized browser meant for people who want a specific app for browsing stuff and automatically deleting everything afterwards.

Of course, solely relying on a browser to create anonymity is not enough, you need to take further steps to conceal your identity if you really want to remain truly private.

Comparison and Recommendations

If you had to choose a browser, here are some considerations you should make.

Where Are Your Logins Stored?

After testing these browsers, I have come to realize that one main reason why you’d use one browser over another comes down to where you store most of your information such as logins.

I use Google Chrome on my computer, so naturally most of my logins and preferences are stored on my Google account. Therefore, Google Chrome is the most convenient for this aspect.

However, if your information is stored elsewhere, then you can use the corresponding browser. Here’s a table,

EdgeMicrosoft account
SafariiCloud (Apple)
ChromeGoogle account
FirefoxMozilla account

Special Features To Consider

There’s nothing stopping you from using multiple browsers on a device, so you can install multiple and enjoy all the benefits.

For example, if you need an adblocker, you can use Edge, Brave, Firefox Focus or Opera. All of these have adblockers pre-installed. But if you want to go further and get rid of cookie consent screens, Brave can do that.

Brave is great for people who like YouTube because you can add videos to your playlist and get them downloaded for offline watching. This is a pretty handy feature that I haven’t seen elsewhere.

Edge has an impressive Read Aloud feature that can be good if you like listening to your web pages. Combined with the Reading Mode filter, Edge can read pages aloud efficiently.

Opera’s and Brave’s VPN feature is debatable. If you’re going to pay for a VPN, then you have many more options than using Brave’s integrated VPN, especially considering VPNs vary in speed, privacy and features. Opera’s free VPN has its flaws, and you should consider whether you can deal with them.

Safari is a special case because it comes pre-installed with your iPad. I really liked the Markup feature which takes a full-page screenshot and allows you to annotate the screenshot. This can help you point out specific areas on a web page to another person.

“Plain” Browsers

Chrome and Firefox are as plain as it gets when it comes to browsers. I think the main reason why you’d use Chrome is because you have a Google account and most of your information is stored there. It’s convenient.

The same reason can be applied to Firefox, except instead of having an account with one of the biggest tech companies out there, your information is stored with Mozilla. Oh, and Firefox has a nice Synchronized Tab feature. Firefox Focus isn’t far off, but it’s a special browser that’s permanently in private browsing mode where all your browsing data gets deleted right after you’ve exited.

Conclusion

Doing this review has taught me that some browsers have specific uses. You could very well just have that one browser for that one purpose. For example, I might keep a copy of Chrome, Edge and Brave.

Chrome would be my main browser because I store personal data with Google and use Chrome on my main computer.

I’ll have Brave because of its offline media playlist feature.

And finally, I’ll have Edge, for the rare occasions when I need a passage read out loud.

They’re all free, so there’s nothing to lose except storage space.

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1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Experten-Tipp: Die 6 besten Browser für dein iPad | 2023 Edition | Tablet Blog

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