How to Test Your Internet Speed on the iPad

iPad laying on table with lights coming out of the screen

John Lamb / Getty Images

That slow iPad you are holding might not be so slow after all. It may just be a poor internet connection causing all of those performance issues, which is why the ability to test your iPad's internet speed is so essential to troubleshooting problems. Many apps rely on the web, and a poor connection can impact these apps in many different ways.

The Best Speedtest

To test your iPad, you should download Ookla's Mobile Speed Test. To check your iPad's Wi-Fi speed, launch the app, permit it to use location services if it asks, and tap the big Begin Test button.

The Ookla test displays like a speedometer in your car, and like that speedometer, you don't need to hit the top speeds to register a fast connection. There is nothing to worry about if you don't top out. It depends on how you use your iPad.

You should test your connection more than once to get an idea of your average speed. It's possible for Wi-Fi to slow down for a few seconds and then pop back up again, so doing multiple tests accounts for any weird variance.

If you get an unsatisfactory speed, such as one below 5 Mbs, try moving to a different location of your house or apartment. First, try testing the speed standing next to your router and then move to other parts of your residence. When a Wi-Fi signal travels through wall, appliances, and other obstructions, the signal can become weaker. If you do find that you have a dead or slow spot, try repositioning the router to see if that speeds up the connection.

What's a Good Speed?

Before you can tell whether or not you are getting a good speed, you'll need to know the bandwidth capabilities of your internet connection. The speed of your plan may appear on the bill from your Internet Service Provider (ISP). You can also test your connection using a desktop or laptop wired into your network via an ethernet cable connected directly to the router. You can use the web version of Ookla's speed test to find out the approximate maximum bandwidth on your PC.

  • < 3 Mbs: You will have problems streaming video and may experience slow times loading web pages or streaming music. It takes about 1.5 Mbs to get crisp audio out of Pandora, Spotify, Apple Music, and other streaming music apps. However, if you consistently have below 3 Mbs, you may experience some issues as your internet connection may bounce between 1 and 2 Mbs.
  • 3-5 Mbs: You should be alright streaming music and loading web pages, but will still experience issues with streaming video and may see downgraded quality from YouTube and other providers.
  • 6-10 Mbs: Video streaming should be smooth, but you could have problems streaming high-quality video from multiple devices. This speed works well if you only stream to one television or tablet at a time.
  • 11-25 Mbs: Realistically, you will want 10+ Mbs to ensure you won't get bogged down streaming HD quality video or to stream to multiple devices at once.
  • 25+ Mbs: This is the speed at which you can stream 4K or UHD video. You also shouldn't have any problems connecting several devices and streaming video from multiple sources.

    What the Ping Time Means

    The "ping" time can also be an important indicator. While bandwidth measures how much data can be downloaded or uploaded at the same time, ping measures the time it takes for information or data to get to and from the remote servers. Latency is essential, especially if you play a lot of multiplayer games. You should get a ping time of less than 100 ms for most connections. You'll notice a ping higher than that, and anything above 150 can cause noticeable lag when playing multiplayer games.

    When Your iPad Is Faster than Your Laptop

    It's possible to exceed your "maximum" on your iPad if you have a newer model and your router supports using multiple antennas. Multiple antennas are usually available on dual-band routers that broadcast on 2.4 and 5 GHz. Your iPad is making two connections to the router and using both at the same time.

    You can use this to speed up your Wi-Fi if you are having problems. The newest 802.11ac routers even use a beaming technology to focus the signal on your devices. But you have to own both a new router and an iPad that support that standard. The iPad has had this technology since the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 4, so if you have one of these or a newer iPad like the larger iPad Pro, you can use the latest routers.

    Troubleshooting Slow Speeds on Your iPad

    If your tests show your iPad running slow, reboot your iPad, and rerun the tests. Rebooting will fix most problems, but if you are still having issues, you can try resetting the network settings on your iPad. Here's how:

    1. Open Settings.

      How to delete movies from iPad
    2. Tap General.

      How to delete movies from iPad
    3. Tap Reset.

      Test internet speed iPad
    4. Tap Reset Network Settings.

      Reset Network Settings on iPad
    5. You will need to log in to your Wi-Fi router again after you reset your iPad's network settings.

    You should also try rebooting your router. Sometimes, older or cheaper routers can drag down the longer they are left on, especially if a lot of devices connect to them.