The Best Web Browsers for the iPad

Great Safari alternatives

Is Safari — the iPad's default web browser — not your cup of tea? While Apple requires all web browsers on the iPad to use the WebKit platform, a number of web browsers are available that fit that standard and make great alternatives to the Safari browser. 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.
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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's Chrome browser offers a great all-around web browser experience. It is 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 that you have open on one of your other devices.

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

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

  • App has a reading list of where you can save articles and pages then 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 is 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 support for Dropbox.

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What We Like
  • Has a quick toggle on the interface to turn Flash off/on.

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

  • Can switch between 3 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 video or play Flash-based games on their iPads. While not every Flash application will work in the Photon Browser, many of the most popular Flash apps are supported. In general, Photon is a great all-around web browser, so you won't need to flip back and forth between Photon and Safari to get the full web experience.

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Opera Mini

What We Like
  • Page settings allows to 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 browsing.

What We Don't Like
  • Privacy issues have been repeatedly reported.

  • You can't turn off the news feature.

  • Dated looking interface.

Opera Mini 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 are 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 is a slower browser), the whole page then loads quickly, rather than piece by piece. It's also difficult to argue with the price.

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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, Diigo 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 Diigo is free, and if you find that Chrome isn't quite what you are looking for, Diigo is worth checking out.

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What We Like
  • Can create QR codes for webpages within 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 costs.

  • Constantly nags your to rate 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 the Perfect Browser. If you catch it during a promo, however, it can be a nice alternative to Safari and Chrome.

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Mobicip Safe

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 US.

  • Not really a browser but filters.

Are you looking for a safe browser for your kids? Mobicip's Safe Browser acts much like the Safari browser, 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 are watching. The browser also lets you set up your own filters and view internet activity, so you can easily monitor what your kids are browsing.