The Best Web Browsers for the iPad

Great Safari alternatives

The iPad comes with the Safari web browser by default, but it's not everyone's cup of tea. While Apple requires all web browsers on the iPad to use the WebKit platform, a number of them are available that fit that standard and make great alternatives to Safari. This list covers browsers that can interact with Google Chrome, can sync with Mozilla Firefox, can display native Internet Explorer pages, can support Dropbox, and even play Flash videos and games.

Woman reading news on tablet.
Oscar Wong / Getty Images
01
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Best All-Around Alternative: Chrome

A screenshot of the Google Chrome web browser

Google

What We Like
  • Frequently updated with patches and security fixes.

  • Tons of extensions to customize the browser.

  • Simple and clean interface.

  • Top search engine in the industry.

What We Don't Like
  • Can be a resource hog.

  • Can be invasive with personal data.

Easily the most popular Safari alternative since its release, Google Chrome offers a great all-around browsing experience. It's fast and easy to use. Best of all, you can sync it to the Chrome browser on your desktop or laptop. One really neat feature is the ability to open web pages on your iPad you opened on one of your other devices.

02
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Best for Productivity: iCab

The iCab web browser is great for productivity

iCab

What We Like
  • Can easily choose your desired search engine.

  • Handy shortcuts that includes gesture, module loading, and a whole lot more.

  • App has a reading list of where you can save articles and pages to read on any device later.

  • Built-in filters to block ads.

  • Can import bookmarks from a PC or other Mac.

What We Don't Like
  • Not free.

  • Crashes frequently.

The iCab browser is designed for those who want to get more productivity out of their web experience. The big feature of iCab is the ability to upload files, a feature that's missing on Safari, and most other web browsers for the iPad. This means you can easily upload photos to Facebook or similar social networking sites without needing the website's specific app. It's also great for bloggers who want to upload photos from the iPad to include in blog posts. In addition, iCab has a download manager, the ability to save and restore forms, and Dropbox support.

03
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Best for Flash Users: Photon

Someone plays a mobile game using the Photon web browser
Photon Flash Player allows you to play Flash games on the web.
What We Like
  • Has a quick toggle on the interface to turn Flash off/on.

  • Advanced settings allow for bandwidth adjustment depending on your network.

  • Can switch between three different operational modes for performance.

What We Don't Like
  • Some Flash games may not work properly.

  • Problems with streaming some videos.

  • Not free.

  • Flash functionality overall is buggy.

The Photon browser is the best solution for people who want to view Flash videos or play Flash-based games on their iPads. While not every Flash application works in Photon, it supports many of the most popular Flash apps. In general, it's a great all-around web browser, so you won't need to flip back and forth between Photon and Safari to get the full experience.

04
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Best for Those With Limited Data: Opera Touch

The Opera Touch logo

Opera Software

What We Like
  • Page settings can streamline website loads.

  • Private browsing.

  • Start page allows for favorite shortcuts of frequently visited sites.

  • Night mode switches the browser to darker colors for easier viewing.

What We Don't Like
  • Many have reported privacy issues.

  • You can't turn off the news feature.

Opera Touch used to be called Opera Mini but was rebranded in 2019.

Opera Touch may not compete with some of the other browsers on this list in terms of features and overall usability. Because of the way it goes through Opera's servers to download compressed versions of websites, however, it can help you get the most out of a limited data plan if you're on a 3G or 4G iPad. And while there can be a slight pause before the website pops up (which might lead you to think it's a slower browser), the whole page then loads quickly, rather than piece by piece. It's also difficult to argue with the price.

05
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Best Chrome Alternative on iOS: Diigo

An example of the Diigo web browser

 Diigo Inc.

What We Like
  • Can save a page from other apps.

  • One-touch share button.

  • Handy save to Dropbox feature.

  • Pages can be saved for later reading.

What We Don't Like
  • Functions have been reduced to reading pages from other browsers.

  • You have to create an account to use it.

Originally known as iChromy, Diigo was the first browser to bring Chrome's interface to the iPad. Like all of the browsers on this list, it supports tabbed browsing. It also has an offline mode, privacy mode, and find-in-page function. It's able to store passwords and disguise itself as a desktop browser.

Unfortunately, now that Chrome is available for the iPad, Diigo takes a backseat to the browser it attempts to emulate. But it is free, and if you find that Chrome isn't quite what you're looking for, Diigo is worth checking out.

06
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Best Paid Alternative: Perfect Browser

Examples of Perfect Browser on a smartphone

AppSimply

 

What We Like
  • Can create QR codes for web pages within the app.

  • Has a built-in password manager.

  • You can move the scrollbar or even hide it.

  • Pro version comes with tons of themes and a theme maker.

  • Pro version blocks ads.

What We Don't Like
  • Extra features cost money.

  • Constantly nags you to rate the app.

The Perfect web browser provides a solid all-around web browsing experience at a less-than-perfect price. Compared to free browsers such as Chrome and cheap browsers such as Atomic, it's difficult to recommend it. If you catch it during a promo, however, it can be a nice alternative to Safari and Chrome.

07
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Best Alternative for Parents: Mobicip Safe

An example of the Mobicip web browser on a laptop

 Mobicip

What We Like
  • Can apply customized filters.

  • Can set a screen time limit.

  • Will also block apps, games, or social media.

What We Don't Like
  • Not available in the United States.

  • It's not really a browser.

Are you looking for a safe browser for your kids? Mobicip's Safe Browser acts much like Safari, except you can filter websites based on age restrictions. It even has safe YouTube access, which means you can let your kids browse through thousands of YouTube videos without having to worry about what they're watching. The browser also lets you set up your own filters and view internet activity, so you can easily monitor what your kids are viewing.