10 alternative iPad browser apps that will change your online world
With the arrival of the new iPad, Apple fans have retina displays and processing power on their minds. If you were one of the first in line to get your hands on the iPad 3, why not treat it to a browser it deserves? Safari is good enough for the average surf, but it doesn’t quite have the pizazz that you need to make the most of your iPad browsing experience. Here is a selection of alternative iPad browser apps that will protect your privacy, speed up your loading times, and help you make the most of what iPads, new and old, have to offer.
iCab Mobile – $1.99
iCab Mobile provides a wealth of nifty browser features. As well as a variety of default search engines to choose from, the app can save and restore form details, filter and block certain URLs, and import and export bookmarks from a desktop computer. If you share your iPad with others or are concerned about your browsing privacy, you can password protect iCab Mobile, and enable Guest Mode, which has limited privileges and its own set of bookmarks.
Skyfire – $2.99
When it was released, Skyfire was hailed as the app savior that would liberate iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad users from the no-Flash shackles that Apple had placed on their devices. Skyfire works by translating Flash videos into HTML 5, an iPad-friendly format. The result is that you can watch videos that are otherwise unplayable on an iPad, however the app doesn’t support all websites, and doesn’t translate Flash games, apps or Facebook games. Despite this, it’s still a useful tool for by-passing one of the key restrictions Apple has implemented on its iDevices.
Atomic – $0.99
Atomic is another Safari alternative that provides a range of different browsing features. This app’s highlights include the ability to browse in full-screen mode, direct file sharing with the likes of Dropbox, iTunes and email, and multi-touch gesture support. If you favor desktop websites over mobile versions, Atomic can spoof the website into thinking you are browsing from IE or Firefox or Safari Desktop. The app’s privacy features include private browsing and the option to install a passcode.
Opera Mini Web Browser – Free
Opera Mini Web Browser doesn’t have the bells and whistles that other alternative iPad browser apps offer. Instead, it focuses on speed. Promising a performance that is up to six times faster than other browsers, even on slow or crowded networks, Opera Mini is a simple yet efficient app. When you load a page using Opera, the app’s servers compress up to 90% of the data before downloading the page onto your iPad, producing faster loading and less hanging around.
Terra – Free
Terra’s features include unlimited tabs, text search, full-screen browsing and Desktop browsing, which avoids those pesky mobile sites. Using the app, you can save pages as files, print from your iPad with AirPrint and bookmark sites for later. Some features are the same as Safari, such as tapping and holding a picture to save it to your iPad, but Terra is useful for viewing websites that don’t work properly with Apple’s native browser, and is a handy free alternative.
What FREE Full Screen Private Browsing lacks in an imaginative name, it makes up for in – surprise – it’s privacy features. A handful of alternative iPad browser apps have the option to turn on private browsing, but this app goes all the way, deleting history, cookies and bookmarks whenever you exit. It also enables full-screen browsing, hiding unnecessary toolbars so you can see more of the webpage you’re viewing.
Dolphin – Free
The Dolphin iPad app offers an intuitive browsing experience. Using the Speed Dial feature, you can set up a list of your favorite websites and access them with one tap. Dolphin’s Gesture is a fun way to access favorites, letting you create personal symbols to load individual websites in lieu of shortcuts. With its one-tap sharing on Facebook and Twitter, the app is also useful for people who are active on social networks and want an easy way to share content without having to switch apps or browser tabs.
Mercury Web Browser Pro – $0.99
With 11 themes, and the ability to synchronize bookmarks to a desktop computer with Firefox sync, Mercury Web Browser Pro is a definite contender for Safari. The app includes seven search engines, autofill and file sharing, as well as an optional ad-blocker and multi-touch gesture support for easy navigation. Mercury gives you some control over the speed of your browser, enabling you to compress data or disable images to speed up loading time when you’re on a slower networks.
Webout – Free
Webout is a browser app with two key purposes: to display web pages on your TV, desktop monitor or a projector, and to pare down those web pages so they are simple and easy to read. Using Webout, you can configure web pages so they contain minimal interference from adverts and other irrelevant elements on the page. The app is compatible with a number of online video players, including Daily Motion and Vimeo. If you want to project a web page or video onto a bigger screen, you can use Webout with Apple TV and AirPlay. The app is also compatible with Instapaper so you can save articles for later.
Switch – $4.99
Switch is a useful browser app if you share your iPad with family members or friends. While other browser apps tend to have a passcode feature to protect privacy, Switch lets you set up different accounts, each with their own bookmarks, history and security. You can even keep tabs open when switching from one account to the other so the browser appears exactly how you left it when you next log in.